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Nicholas McGee

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  • By Nicholas McGee
    Nov 10, 2018 at 7:36 AM
    The 49ers are not scheduled to be one of the NFL franchises with a scout in attendance when Mississippi State becomes the latest team to try to stop the Alabama juggernaut, but San Francisco's talent evaluators should still have a close eye on the performance of one Bulldog player in Tuscaloosa. Last Thursday's victory over the Oakland Raiders and a softer schedule over the coming weeks could see the Niners out of the Nick Bosa sweepstakes, with Nick Mullens providing renewed hope of some further wins that would move San Francisco away from the top pick in next year's draft. If Bosa is out of their reach, the 49ers will need to look to the other edge rushers in a loaded class, and Mississippi State's Montez Sweat is a member of that class who many believe to be...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Nov 1, 2018 at 11:59 AM
    Preseason is often boring and rarely important, but it can throw up some fun, if completely meaningless, finishes. The 49ers were treated to such not so tense finales as 'Mullens magic' took hold in the exhibition season. It was a more innocent time, with Mullens' comeback against the Dallas Cowboys and almost comebacks against the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers amusing precursors to what was expected to be an intriguing first full season with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. It was fun and completely irrelevant and if fans sticking through each game until the end wasn't bonkers, this British writer staying up until 6am to do so certainly was. Expect now we know it wasn't. As it turns out, the time watching Mullens work his magic was time well spent....
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Oct 27, 2018 at 11:02 AM
    Those in the San Francisco 49ers front office should be keeping a close eye on another pivotal SEC showdown on Saturday when Georgia hosts Florida. The contest will have significant implications on the race for the College Football Playoff but for those seeking to find prospects they believe will improve the 49ers in 2019 their focus will likely be fixed on two defensive studs. Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker and Florida pass rusher Jachai Polite both should be firmly on the radar of a 49ers team that has seen its defense struggle in 2018 and each has the ability to make a significant impact in a game where they will be firmly under the microscope. DeAndre Baker Baker is viewed on a similar level to LSU's Greedy Williams as one of,...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Oct 20, 2018 at 6:27 AM
    With the San Francisco 49ers' playoff hopes quickly derailed by the season-ending injury to Jimmy Garoppolo and their odds of netting the top pick in the draft steadily improving, there will naturally be more attention paid to the premier players in the 2019 class as the college football season approaches its business end. And two prospects who could be on San Francisco's radar in the opening round will go head to head when Clemson hosts NC State in a pivotal ACC matchup on Saturday. Though Nick Bosa has been widely touted as the best player and top pass rusher in the class, Clemson edge rusher Clelin Ferrell is widely regarded as a potential top-five pick. He figures to be a topic of discussion in the 49ers draft room should they end up picking in...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Oct 6, 2018 at 12:02 PM
    Four games into another season with a stacked defensive line and there is again concern surrounding a lack of pass rush from the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers, having recorded just 30 sacks in 2017, have been able to register a meager eight through the first quarter of the season, with 3.5 of those coming from DeForest Buckner. Only five teams in the league have fewer, and the disappointing pass-rushing performance from the defensive front has led to scrutiny over the Niners' decision to trim their options at the edge rusher position, a spot where they were already lacking in talent. Having released the now-retired Elvis Dumervil and let go of free agency signing Jeremiah Attaochu, while also deciding to stash Pita Taumoepenu on the practice squad, San...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Sep 29, 2018 at 6:38 PM
    Though many expect C.J. Beathard to improve in his second year in Kyle Shanahan's system, it is generally accepted that a lot will need to go right for the San Francisco 49ers to have success with him at quarterback in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo's season-ending ACL tear. The Niners will need their running game to continue to perform at a level that has them second in the NFL in yards per game on the ground. Improved pass protection will be required from an offensive line that has made strides as a run-blocking unit but has already given up 13 sacks, and the Niners can ill-afford the drops that have hindered the offense in the opening three weeks. However, the biggest boost Beathard could receive is some consistency from the defense, which has enjoyed at best...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Sep 22, 2018 at 8:50 AM
    No area of the San Francisco 49ers defense is more intensely analysed than the defensive line, which comes under near constant scrutiny after first-round picks were spent on it from 2015 to 2017. San Francisco's lack of talent off the edge has placed even more pressure on Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas to produce pass rush from the interior. Buckner is quickly delivering the goods. The 2016 seventh overall pick already has 3.5 sacks in two games and has once again been a wrecking ball on the inside. Yet, Thomas -- who has the loftiest draft status of the three having been taken third overall by the Niners last year -- has come in for criticism from some quarters. Thomas has received the least playing time of the three. He played on 35 (49%) of...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Sep 14, 2018 at 7:45 PM
    When the 49ers hired Chris Kiffin as a pass-rush specialist in the offseason, he spoke of improving San Francisco's pressure rate and measly sack numbers by building "a trap" for opposing quarterbacks. Back in May, Kiffin, per The Sacramento Bee, said of the 2017 pass rush: "A big thing I saw was guys not necessarily rushing together. You can't look at it as four individual rushers. It's really, you're rushing as one. If we can get that fixed, the pass rush improves." Kiffin spoke of his desire to use DeForest Buckner, clearly the star of San Francisco's stacked interior defensive line, as the focal point of his trap, adding: "I think we have to build...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Sep 11, 2018 at 5:15 PM
    For all the reasons to be encouraged by the San Francisco 49ers' season-opening defeat to the Minnesota Vikings, the fact that they were unable to take advantage of opportunities to put themselves in a winning position effectively leaves their hopes of a playoff berth in the balance heading into a Week 2 clash with the Detroit Lions. That may seem like an outlandish claim after one game, and one which the Niners had a chance to tie on the final drive against a team many perceive as a Super Bowl favorite. However, the correlation between going 0-2 and missing the playoffs is clear. Per Optimum Scouting's Justis Mosqueda, since 2009 only six (8.5%) of the 77...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Sep 9, 2018 at 5:39 AM
    The San Francisco 49ers start an extremely intriguing 2018 season on Sunday when they take on the Minnesota Vikings. It will be a huge challenge against a team many view as Super Bowl contenders. It will also be the first game of the 49ers' Super Bowl window. While many expect the Niners to contend for the playoffs in 2018, nobody is tipping them to be in a position to challenge to reach Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Yet the second Jimmy Garoppolo signed his five-year, $137.5 million deal, the the 49ers' Super Bowl window was open. There is a consensus in the modern NFL that the biggest asset a team can have is a quarterback on a rookie contract. The 49ers do not have that. What they do have is a quarterback unbeaten in seven starts and a host of players at...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:24 PM
    Few players on the San Francisco 49ers roster will have more of an opportunity to shine in the preseason opener with the Dallas Cowboys than D.J. Reed. A fifth-round rookie out of Kansas State, Reed is expected to start at nickel cornerback and will also serve as the second-team free safety having practiced at both positions in training camp. Reed's opportunity has not come by accident, it has come as a result of an aggressive mindset that has been apparent throughout training camp. "He fights his tail off. He's got a great mindset, a great mentality," 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said this week of Reed. "He's fighting. We're asking him a lot for a rookie to learn free safety and nickel. He's doing a good job with it. He's...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Aug 6, 2018 at 5:55 AM
    Of the nine Trent Baalke draft picks still on the San Francisco 49ers roster following the major overhaul by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, there is perhaps none more polarizing than Arik Armstead. San Francisco passed on defensive talents, most notably cornerback Marcus Peters, to take Armstead with the 17th overall pick, and many believe such a lofty draft position was unjustified. With only six sacks to his name through three seasons and 18 games missed through injury, it is easy to see the logic behind that argument. Yet Armstead's impact as a pass rusher is underrated. He led the league in...
  • By Nicholas McGee
    Jul 28, 2018 at 8:59 AM
    For a team only in the second year of a rebuild, there is a surprising lack of competition for starting roles on both sides of the ball for the San Francisco 49ers. But, despite only playing a limited role in his rookie year, D.J. Jones is a dark horse candidate to threaten for increased first-team snaps in 2018. A sixth-round pick out of Ole Miss last year, Jones was restricted to nine games in his maiden pro season. However, he produced enough in those nine games to suggest he can threaten to leapfrog Earl Mitchell on the depth chart and become the starting 1-technique defensive tackle. The importance of the 1-tech is decreased in a 49ers defensive scheme where nickel is their primary formation, but Jones provides upside that could make the base 4-3 defense...
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