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  • Levin T. Black
  • Written by:
    Levin T. Black
    A graduate of Ball State University in 2009, Levin was an award winning sports journalist until he transitioned into a different career. He's written for Webzone since 2018.

Levin T. Black's Latest Articles

  • By Levin T. Black
    Aug 29, 2020 at 12:08 PM 3 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers defense has a chance to dominate like few defenses have ever done before in the NFL this season. The defense, if it remains healthy, is stacked with talent. That won't do it alone. Talent-wise this 49ers defense is very good but not great to the level of the early-2000s Baltimore Ravens or mid-1980s Chicago Bears. This 49ers defense is more comparable to the early-2000s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even then, the 49ers might be worse on sheer talent. So, why does this season's 49ers defense have a legitimate chance to be as statistically dominant as those teams? It's all tied to COVID-19. Certainly, the 49ers have one of the most talented defensive rosters in the NFL right now. Second year defensive end Nick Bosa is considered a...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Aug 19, 2020 at 5:00 AM 0 comments
    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo gets as much criticism as any starting quarterback in the league. Don't mistake that, as many have done, for Garoppolo being a bad quarterback. Most of the criticism comes from the national media. The players know the real Garoppolo though. Garoppolo was ranked the 43rd best overall player in the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2020. The list is determined solely by players in the league. This year, 970 ballots were cast and 132 interviews with players were conducted. Garoppolo played his first full season as a starter in 2019. He wasn't perfect. He threw too many interceptions. Still, the overall results were promising. This season, Garoppolo will look to fulfill that promise and take the step up to the upper...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Aug 17, 2020 at 12:06 PM 5 comments
    The tantalizing possibilities the San Francisco 49ers were going to have with 2019 third round wide receiver Jalen Hurd have been put on hold. Again. Hurd has yet to play a down for the 49ers. He missed all of the 2019 season with a back injury. It was a rotten development after scoring two touchdowns in a preseason appearance. There's no preseason this year and according to multiple reports, there won't be a regular season for Hurd either. The receiver got an MRI on Monday. It is believed the WR has a torn ACL, although no confirmation from the 49ers as of the publishing of this article. The heartbreaking injury has led some to speculate on the 49ers potentially make a splash signing to replace Hurd. Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant, the usual suspects,...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Aug 17, 2020 at 6:00 AM 4 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers had a clear cut player atop the wide receiver depth chart all off-season in Deebo Samuel. If the returns from the first practices in training camp are an indication of what is to come in the 2020 season, Samuel may already be simply second best on the team. Samuel had a successful rookie season in 2019. The second-round pick had things click in the second half of the season and ended up with 1,190 yards from scrimmage, including during the playoffs. With 92 yards in the Super Bowl, Samuel was seen as a rising star in the NFL and very likely to have his first 1,000-yard receiving season this year. An injury has derailed the likelihood of that. Still, he's scheduled to be back in the first half of the season and all signs point to him...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Aug 14, 2020 at 9:53 AM 1 comment
    The San Francisco 49ers have shelled out some big money extensions in recent months. While the team has secured many of its most valuable players, some who play vital roles will have to find another team to play for following the season. News broke on Thursday that the 49ers had agreed to a five-year extension with All-Pro tight end George Kittle. The deal, which has an average annual value (AAV) of $15 million, is the third large contract given to a veteran player on the team in 2020. Safety Jimmy Ward was re-signed earlier this year to a three-year deal with an AAV of $9.5 million and defensive lineman Arik Armstead was signed to a five-year deal with an AAV of $17 million. The team simply can't afford everyone, especially with the salary cap likely dropping...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jul 27, 2020 at 10:30 AM 2 comments
    The Seattle Seahawks' trade for safety Jamal Adams gives the San Francisco 49ers' division rival one of the players best suited to defend an offense that features running backs and tight ends in the passing game. The San Francisco 49ers have perhaps the league's top offensive mind in head coach Kyle Shanahan while the Seahawks have a defensive guru for a head coach in Pete Carroll. When the 49ers have the ball the two go toe-to-toe on play calls in a manner that can only be compared to a game of chess. Shanahan calls passing plays designed to get tight end George Kittle or one of the bevy of players who line up in the backfield open as much as any coach in the NFL. Just fewer than 50 percent of the 49ers' passing yards in 2019 went to a back or tight...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jul 13, 2020 at 6:00 AM 1 comment
    (This is a follow up to an earlier article that explained the 49ers can afford Jamal Adams) Just because something can be acquired doesn't mean it should be. That is my stance when it comes to the idea of the San Francisco 49ers trading for the New York Jets' Jamal Adams. The 49ers have the capital needed to acquire Adams between the team's draft capital and current players. On some levels it make sense to do what it takes to add the All-Pro player but ultimately the team shouldn't. Incumbent strong safety Jaquiski Tartt is a free agent following the 2020 season. The 49ers have likely inquired about what kind of extension Tartt is seeking. The lack of news...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jul 12, 2020 at 5:12 AM 9 comments
    Hey, not sure if you've heard but All-Pro strong safety Jamal Adams of the New York Jets is demanding a trade and the San Francisco 49ers are reportedly interested. Oh, it's been all over Twitter and the sports talk shows for the past few weeks and is literally the only newsworthy topic to discuss until training camp? Ah well, why not look at whether it is even feasible? The 49ers being interested in acquiring a top player shouldn't be news. This regime is ALWAYS interested and will kick the tires. General manager John Lynch inquired about trading for Tom Brady from the New England Patriots THREE years ago. The team pursued Odell Beckham Jr. and others as well. The 49ers are going to at least make a call to find out the price on any top player who has some chance of being...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jun 27, 2020 at 12:47 PM 1 comment
    The San Francisco 49ers and star tight end George Kittle are currently working on a contract extension. The two sides have been for awhile. No one outside of the franchise knows how close the two sides are. What is known is the type of money Kittle is seeking. Kittle wants to be paid like a top offensive tackle or wide receiver. His agent went public with this info nearly a month ago. Since then there has been silence from both sides. They could be far apart. Heck, they could have already agreed considering the team managed to keep DeForest Buckner's permission to seek a trade and head coach Kyle Shanahan's extension secrets for MONTHS. It wouldn't be surprising if they aren't close however. This is because the 49ers hold every ounce of leverage in this situation...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 25, 2020 at 11:45 AM 3 comments
    Dear Mr. Joseph Andrew Staley, For all the San Francisco 49ers fans who had the pleasure to watch you chucking pass rushers aside for the past 13 years while donning the red and gold, allow me to simply say thank you. The decision to retire when the team is so close to completing the quest for six must have been difficult. You will find no ill will here. You've been a reliable and stabilizing force on the 49ers for more than a decade. Who can forget the ridiculous block you made in the 2012 NFC Championship game? A game changing block nearly 20 yards downfield! I know you're getting up there in years so I included the play below just in case you don't...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 24, 2020 at 5:02 PM 5 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers reportedly got their top guy when they traded up from No. 31 to No. 25 in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Head coach Kyle Shanahan stated they had wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk as the No. 1 wideout in the draft class. Yes, No. 1 over Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs III. That may surprise some but you better believe Shanahan is being honest. He is not the type who lies after the fact to talk up a decision and make it seem better. He has consistently told the truth in interviews and is considered to be as honest as they come in press conferences. While the drafting of Aiyuk has a lot to do with improving the offense and giving the 49ers a true deep threat, his ability in another area likely means the roster spot another wide...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 23, 2020 at 8:43 PM 5 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has to be excited after the team took a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft. General manager John Lynch pulled the trigger on a trade that moved the 49ers up from No. 31 overall to No. 25 to take receiver Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State. The trade-up is significant. It means the 49ers viewed Aiyuk as a difference-maker. To get to No. 25 the 49ers gave up the fourth-round pick they acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the draft (No. 117) plus a late-fifth round pick (No. 176). Aiyuk will likely join Deebo Samuel as an outside starter for the 49ers. Like Samuel, Aiyuk is known for his after the catch ability. Aiyuk also has some intriguing athleticism. He ran an unofficial 4.5-second...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 23, 2020 at 7:05 PM 6 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers have traded down one pick in the first round for the second time in four years. This time the 49ers traded the No. 13 overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for pick No. 14 and a fourth round pick (No. 117). It is the right move to make regardless of the selection made at No. 14. The 49ers are able to take whoever they would have at No. 13 by trading down one spot while making sure the Bucs selection is not the player. This is similar to what they did in 2017 when they traded with the Chicago Bears. They moved from No. 2 to No. 3 that year and ended up taking defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. While Thomas hasn't developed into the type of player you would expect from No. 3, the trade was absolutely the correct move at the...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 15, 2020 at 7:00 AM 21 comments
    Making the right selections in the draft is imperative to winning in the NFL. Yet, bad drafts can be the downfall of so many front offices. No NFL team is perfect in the draft. Hitting on half the picks would make a team elite. To this point, the San Francisco 49ers have done pretty well since general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan took over. The 49ers have two first-round picks. Making the right moves with the No. 13 and 31 overall picks is imperative if the 49ers want to remain a contender for years to come. What follows is my ideal 49ers draft. It includes trades and selections. This is not what I think will happen. Some of these things aren't very likely, and predicting trades that you think will actually occur is akin to spinning the wheel...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 13, 2020 at 7:09 AM 5 comments
    A Super Bowl contending team has few weaknesses. The San Francisco 49ers made the Super Bowl last season with a top scoring offense and defense. Simply put, they were one of the most balanced teams in the NFL. If they want to remain on top of the NFC, they must improve at one of the most vital positions. The 49ers have a weakness at the wide receiver position and must address it in the 2020 NFL Draft. There is potential on the roster, sure, but contending teams can't afford to count on hope and that's exactly what the 49ers receiver group is full of. It's Deebo Samuel and a bunch of depth guys who could blossom or amount to nothing. The 49ers have to take a wide receiver early in the draft because they can't count on Dante Pettis, Jalen Hurd, or Trent Taylor for...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 3, 2020 at 1:48 PM 8 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers have an abundance of options with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and some aren't at the widely assumed position. It is true that wide receiver seems the likely path, but it is not a slam dunk. The team could surprise and go with another position. It wouldn't be the first time this offseason that the 49ers shocked fans and pundits around the league. No one thought defensive tackle DeForest Buckner would be traded until it happened. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will ultimately make the draft decision together. The 49ers have been working out offensive tackles in recent weeks. They could choose to grab Joe Staley's heir at left tackle and play him at guard for a year or two. Or they could go with...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Feb 21, 2020 at 12:18 PM 10 comments
    Extended runs of success in the NFL don't come without moving on from some great players. To build a winner a team must acquire talent. To remain a winner a team must master the balancing act between the salary cap and keeping that talent. When 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were hired the team was as deep into needing talent as a franchise can go. After making the Super Bowl, the pendulum has flipped completely the other way. The 49ers are on the mountaintop of the National Football Conference. They've entered the delicate balance time period where they must make the right call on a string of crucial personnel decisions if they want to remain at the top. A vast majority of the time teams make the wrong choices. In fact, only one team, the New...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Feb 8, 2020 at 8:00 AM 29 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers would like to return all of their starters from the 2019 season. This is according to general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Doing so won't be easy and could prove impossible. The two starters who could leave in free agency are defensive lineman Arik Armstead and safety Jimmie Ward. Both had break out seasons in 2019 that saw their value in the open market soar. Also factoring into the 49ers' ability to re-sign Armstead and Ward are two big extensions on the agenda. Both defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and tight end George Kittle are heading into the final year of their contracts. The 49ers will certainly give both new deals this off-season, assuming the team can come to agreement with both. Complicating...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Feb 3, 2020 at 1:05 PM 29 comments
    It pains me to say this but the biggest culprit for the San Francisco 49ers' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV is the 49ers starting quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo had multiple chances late in the game to permanently silence his critics. He failed every time. It is what it is. There's no sugar coating it. Receivers were open, the opportunities were there but the ball wasn't delivered. The 49ers should have won. All they needed was one typical scoring drive. It never came. The 49ers were in the driver's seat following their second interception of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. They took over possession leading 20-10 with 11:57 remaining in the game. A touchdown drive ends it. Instead the offense goes five plays and punts. On the...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Feb 2, 2020 at 5:58 PM 0 comments
    [UPDATE] Staley has returned to the game in the fourth quarter [UPDATE] Long-time San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is questionable to return after suffering a hand injury on the 49ers' first drive in the second half of Super Bowl LIV. The 49ers took a 13-10 lead on the drive. Staley is the only player on the 49ers' roster who also played in the 49ers' Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. Staley was drafted out of Central Michigan University by the 49ers in the first round in 2007. Justin Skule replaced him. This story will be updated when more info is...
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