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  • By Matthew Mani
    Apr 12, 2019 at 11:40 AM
    With the draft two weeks away, and with the insanity of free agent signings far in the rearview mirror, football fans are fairly frothing at the mouth for something relevant to discuss. Sadly, that is not likely to happen until maybe a day or two before the draft, if we are lucky. This slack tide period of football fandom has led to some writers to a state of near obsession regarding certain players, wild trade scenarios, and the like. It is all just a way to whittle away the hours in the day as we wait for that magic day, April 25, to arrive. I myself have described the NFL draft and my fantasy football draft days as being better than Christmas. The excitement, the anticipation, the possibilities make every fan hopeful that his or her team will hit the jackpot and fill every weakness on...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Apr 4, 2019 at 11:45 AM
    With the draft less than a month away, and free agency fairly settled (excepting a few outliers, such as Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah, Eric Berry and a few others), there is ample time for fans and pundits to develop every imaginable theory regarding teams' plans for April 25th and beyond. Teams themselves are running incredibly complex and diverse disinformation campaigns in an attempt to ensure that none of their competitors has any idea regarding draft strategies and targeted players. Historically, no one, not even the so-called (and often self-described) "experts" comes close to getting the draft right. Remember the collective gasp last year when the Browns selected Baker Mayfield first overall? Remember the shock and derision with which so many talking heads treated that pick...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Mar 28, 2019 at 3:56 PM
    The 49ers have been working through the offseason to try to address some of the many needs they have on the roster, as every fan undoubtedly knows. Their focus has been on defense, which was necessary because of, among other things, poor play in several positions, loss of players due to expiration of contracts, and even the jettisoning of a player for non-football reasons. The Niners have had challenges come at them from every direction, mostly as a result of injuries to key players as well as to players they had wanted to spend significant time watching during game situations. I mean the defensive backfield in particular here. Adding Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Jason Verrett gave them a Ruben Foster-like linebacker without the baggage, a proven edge rusher and a cornerback who, if...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Mar 19, 2019 at 3:16 PM
    Popular opinion has been that the 49ers are going to select Nick Bosa with the #2 pick in the draft, if he is available. Bosa is the consensus choice as the best edge rusher coming out of college, something that is tough to argue. Some believe that the 49ers will actually select Quinnen Williams, the defensive tackle out of Alabama, seeing him as possibly someone to pair with DeForest Buckner and the newly signed Dee Ford, and maybe adding Justin Houston, to create a front four that is all but unblockable. Both of these points of view are wonderful to consider, particularly since 49er fans have been starved for a good pass rush for several years, and the thought of seeing Russell Wilson and Jared Goff being swarmed over repeatedly is almost enough to bring tears to the...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Mar 16, 2019 at 9:59 AM
    The 49ers picked up Tevin Coleman this week, adding a skilled running back who understands and has played in the Shanahan offensive scheme. However, the team already had a number of viable backs on the roster, making the move somewhat puzzling. Aside from Kyle Juszczyk, their lone fullback, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson carried the ball effectively, with Jerick McKinnon, the anticipated starter in 2018, on IR after tearing his ACL on September 1. Historically, the team has carried three active tailbacks on the game day roster, which would mean that at least one healthy, startable back (taking Wilson out of the equation) would not suit up. This might not actually be the team's thinking, however, particularly given their lack of proven wide receiver talent. Bear...
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