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State of the Team, Roster Analysis, & Needs

STATE OF THE TEAM

The Negative: It's abundantly clear we have a lot more holes on the roster than many would've liked to admit going into the season. Of course, some voids -- such as a pass rusher -- we all knew was an issue dating back to last season. It would've been nice for us to use capital towards certain areas but understandably, the team had to evaluate its roster in year one and it wasn't going to be able to address everything after that in this recent off-season.

The Positive: One strong off-season to start 2019 could definitely put us on the path towards the playoffs, and a silver lining is that the hype and media frenzy should be far less than it was going into the year. I hated the expectations put on us because we had potential, but it was going to take some luck for us to do some real damage considering the issues we still had. Even though we are unlikely to finish with a good record still this year, we should still end up with a decently high pick to acquire a lot more talent. Plus, I think this is the year we finally use our cap space we carry over to add difference-making players. Our coaches and FO have seen with their own eyes what we lack and these guys do know football and have already picked up some talented players. That said, I personally do trust that we'll overcome the obstacles and get back on track.

Summary statement: Bottom line is that Lynch and Shanahan were given six year deals for a reason and they're not going anywhere for the next two years at least. They've taken some risks that didn't pan out, but they seem more apt to learn from those situations that our prior regime. Let's hope they do.


ROSTER ANALYSIS

Quarterback
I'm not sure if it was the pressure (boy does that word work in many ways -- media, fans, poor pass blocking from the OL), or just trying to play within the system, but I believe Jimmy is still not at his peak within the Shanahan offense. I felt like he was on the cusp, but we'll have to wait for that to come to fruition. We do have a strong backup in Beathard and we will get to see how he grows throughout this season. He's had just 10 starts to his name and can make all the throws when given the time to do so. Obviously, with barely over half a season of starts, he's going to still be falling short in some areas that often develop with more experience in the NFL. Climbing the pocket, developing that internal clock, and to an extent decision-making all improve over time with most young QBs. So do turnovers. We are good at this position for the foreseeable future.

Running Back
Breida is a star but his physical style at his frame make him a definite injury risk. It's extremely unfortunate McKinnon went down as they would've been a great tandem both healthy. With these health risks, we absolutely need to take a running back next year wherever that player might be a BPA or sign another one. I don't trust Jerrick coming back from an ACL and we need speed to threaten on the edge. Morris is fine inside, but just not the outside threat or pass receiving matchup problem as someone else could be. Honestly, I think we should go three-deep with speed/explosiveness at running back and let Juice be the heavy guy from time to time. I like Jeff Wilson a lot on the practice squad and hope he can show in practices that he deserves to get a shot on the active roster. We'll see what happens this week and beyond.

Receiver
This unit is currently in shambles. Garcon's sticky hands, speed, and durability are all falling off dramatically. Frankly, he doesn't deserve a roster spot next year. Pettis is promising, Taylor is good for using in short, tight spots to move the chains, and Goodwin is our best receiver that makes teams respect us deep. Bourne is solid for a young player but still has a lot of room to improve and has focus drops. Overall, we have no one talented enough to scare teams or anyone with height to challenge teams in the redzone. We need multiple new playmakers and I wouldn't be surprised to see a player or two in this group traded -- Garcon and Taylor seem like prime trade bait for any team willing to bite.

Tight End
Kittle is borderline elite player early on and clearly our most dangerous weapon in the passing game. Get us another tight end who can block and catch like him and teams won't be able to stop us on the seams. Celek is maddeningly inconsistent and has had injury issues in the past. Wick is all blocking, no hands.

O-Line
Staley is still a great player, but not getting any younger. McGlinchey will be considered elite if he continues to build on what has been so far a fantastic season. The interior of our line is still a major issue in the passing game. Person, Richburg, and Tomlinson all excel at run blocking, but are conversely, not as good pass blocking, and the first two guys have struggled with injuries.

D-Line
We need an edge rusher. Two actually. Plain and simple. The interior is stacked with talent between Buckner, Thomas, Day, and Jones, but these guys aren't edge threats and we shouldn't expect them to be. I expect Armstead's large salary to be dumped in the off-season as we let Taylor, Street, and Thomas man the big-end spot and nickel DT positions next season.

Linebackers
Overall, we have a strong unit. Foster and Warner are great. Smith is OK for now, but we could certainly upgrade, and upgrade for cheaper too. Depth is still an issue -- Coyle, Nzeocha, and Lee all struggle to tackle and from what I've seen, the latter two have not done well on special teams either.

Secondary
We have the talent at corner. If Mabin continues to emerge, he may have a "stranglehold on the position" that Saleh has said they wanted to see from the guy opposite Sherman. Witherspoon is talented no doubt, but he has major competition, and that's a good thing. DJ Reed has promise, and Ward should be gone after the season. I don't like that we're using Moore at corner -- frankly, with Mabin's emergence, and Reed's experience there, those guys should be the top 4 corners while he works at his best position -- safety. Colbert has been figured out and should be relegated to backup SS in my opinion. He has range, but doesn't wrap up, guesses in coverage, and just doesn't play with the mental discipline or play recognition ability required in this scheme at his position.

Special Teams
Gould is great, Pinion is above average, and our snapper is fine. Our coverage team however has really fallen off, mainly on punts. We've got to get that corrected.



TOP TEAM NEEDS

1. Pass Rusher (LEO DE)
As mentioned earlier, it is unquestionably our biggest void on the team. We have no one to take double-teams off of Buckner. One on one, he's typically unblockable. We need another player like that on the edge. Thomas can sometimes be like that inside, but he's almost never used there even on passing downs because we're so awful at DE in general.

2. Red Zone Threat (WR)
We absolutely need a jump ball guy with height. Someone who can box out defenders and is considered open whether they're covered or not. Without this type of player, your options are more limited in the RZ. Having this one player opens up things for multiple other guys on offense -- Kittle, Goodwin, and whoever is playing running back all would benefit.

3. Single High Safety (FS)
If we don't ever try Moore at this spot, we'll never know if he can be that guy, but if we insist on having him play CB, we need someone else with the range, discipline, and tackling fundamentals necessary being the last line of defense back there. This, in conjunction with need #1, are what make this Cover 3 system run smoothly.

4. OG
As previously mentioned, everyone on the interior has struggled pass blocking. Garnett hasn't played, but this was never a strength of his either. I still have high hopes for Magnuson, but we definitely need some competition at the RG spot. Person was signed somewhat out of desperation and he's been solid overall, but we have to protect our investment in Jimmy G by surrounding him with players that give him a lot more time to throw. Additionally, a better OL will prevent us from having to keep Kittle in to block so much, which effectively takes away our best playmaker in the passing game currently.

5. SAM Linebacker (OLB)
Smith is currently playing this spot because he's the best we have and most experienced in the scheme. At his current price tag though, there's almost zero chance he returns after this season. We have no one else worthy of starting when he leaves unless Pita were to make major strides, but we should definitely invest in a durable, speedy player who can cover as well as offer some pass rush when asked to do so.

6. RB
We saw how the losses of McKinnon and Breida devastated the team's rushing attack. We also have seen how we can't trust a player coming back from injury to perform as good as they used to (see: Garcon). Yes, McKinnon is young but we still need to be prepared to ensure we have the necessary depth to make a run. Good teams have great depth. We're not there yet at all.

7. LT
I love Staley but he maybe has one or two years left max. McGlinchey is great and would be a fixture at RT for years to come but we need a starter of the future and whether that's through the draft or free agency, we need to find that guy. Plus we badly need to upgrade the depth of talent at OT.

8. TE Depth
Get someone similar to Kittle who has a balance of athleticism and blocking promise to give us a better balance of what we can do up front in 2-TE sets. Celek is actually a decent athlete, but has really struggled to block, leaving the team to take it's top playmaker and keep him blocking due to the failure of the OL to provide adequate time for our QBs to throw.


Final statements: We currently only have five 2019 draft picks to work with (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th), hence why I think we'll move some players in the off-season, but we should have well over 50 million in cap space (probably more, right AB?). With that at our disposal, the time will be right to spend some to make this team a threat next year. Again, we have resources, we just need to use them wisely this next off-season.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Oct 10, 2018 at 4:40 PM ]
Agreed on all points. Thank you for this otc.
Originally posted by pelos21:
Agreed on all points. Thank you for this otc.

2019 is the year we perform a final purge of the players who don't deserve to be here anymore. List of names that fall under that category: Garcon, Ward, Armstead, Malcolm Smith, Celek, and Coyle.

Could see the team move Taylor and go with the speedier combo of Pettis and Richie James in the slot. Also wouldn't be surprised to see us trade Garnett since the team loves Magnuson. It's possible we re-sign Person as a backup and camp competition at all guard spots and let Mags or another rookie or free agent signing take over in 2019.
Good points all around. It's nice to read a well thought out post with constructive criticism and at the same time offering solutions. A breath of fresh air from the mindless, unsubstantiated negative blather permeating most threads.
Solid post OTC.
Member Milestone: This is post number 800 for Viperboy.
Originally posted by zeppfan1:
Good points all around. It's nice to read a well thought out post with constructive criticism and at the same time offering solutions. A breath of fresh air from the mindless, unsubstantiated negative blather permeating most threads.

3 winning years in the last 15 will get the natives cranky
Most disappointing year by a mile since last year Harbaugh. Depressing s**t
Pretty much agree with everything you said. Great post.

I'd probably move RB and TE up on the priority list a little bit. And also move down SAM on the priority list since I don't think its that important. Nzeocha can probably fill in at that spot, for now. And yes...they need to be spending multiple picks on edge rushers next year, especially if no one in FA hits the open market.
[ Edited by Ensatsu on Oct 10, 2018 at 8:39 PM ]
9ers would get whooped by Alabama right now.
  • LVJay
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 18,124
Originally posted by ChazBoner:
9ers would get whooped by Alabama right now.

Well, considering a lot of the youngsters aren't that far removed from college, and weren't all early rd picks, this could be up for debate

  • thl408
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 15,473
Good stuff OTC. I'll go with Edge, OT, OG, SS, then FS as my top5 in that order. The CBs and FS is a young group and I don't know what to think of their play in these 5 games of this season. They flashed last season and young players will have ups and downs. Talking about Spoon and Colbert. But if Colbert can't turn it around, this position needs to be addressed right after Edge imo. This defense they run needs a legit FS. I want to give Colbert the rest of this season to see if he's the one. The red zone target you described costs a lot. They may have to hope to find a gem in the mid rounds.

For my top 5, Edge is obvious, it should be put twice.
Staley I think has taken a step back, even before his injury against LAC. If McG can move to the left, it's nice but then they'd need a RT. Have to find a guy ready to take over for Staley. Kyle prioritizes OT so I think they address this in the offseason if Staley has a subpar season, by his usual high standard.
OG because let's protect the QB so he never ever again has to scramble in his career as a 49er. But also because the screen game can be a lethal weapon for an offense. Saw it this week vs ARI.
I see things from Tartt that has plagued his career and it's time to move on. SS needs to seek and destroy. The SS plays a big role in this defense and should be used as a chess piece to move around in important situations.
Originally posted by thl408:
Good stuff OTC. I'll go with Edge, OT, OG, SS, then FS as my top5 in that order. The CBs and FS is a young group and I don't know what to think of their play in these 5 games of this season. They flashed last season and young players will have ups and downs. Talking about Spoon and Colbert. But if Colbert can't turn it around, this position needs to be addressed right after Edge imo. This defense they run needs a legit FS. I want to give Colbert the rest of this season to see if he's the one. The red zone target you described costs a lot. They may have to hope to find a gem in the mid rounds.

For my top 5, Edge is obvious, it should be put twice.
Staley I think has taken a step back, even before his injury against LAC. If McG can move to the left, it's nice but then they'd need a RT. Have to find a guy ready to take over for Staley. Kyle prioritizes OT so I think they address this in the offseason if Staley has a subpar season, by his usual high standard.
OG because let's protect the QB so he never ever again has to scramble in his career as a 49er. But also because the screen game can be a lethal weapon for an offense. Saw it this week vs ARI.
I see things from Tartt that has plagued his career and it's time to move on. SS needs to seek and destroy. The SS plays a big role in this defense and should be used as a chess piece to move around in important situations.

You know, I'm curious to see if that might be the plan with Coleman and Gilliam. Both can play either tackle spot, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the team put McGlinchey at LT in the future if they think a young player like Coleman can lock down the right side.

As for SS, we'll see how Harris challenges Tartt when healthy.

I really want to see Moore at FS honestly. Especially if Colbert continues to struggle. We can always sign or draft another corner if the tandem of Mabin/Spoon/Sherman/Williams/Reed don't work out but that group seems to be showing signs of improvement.
  • Karma
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 981
I actually think you are undervaluing FS. Ed Reed, Earl Thomas, etc. Those guys turned their defenses into elite units.
Originally posted by Karma:
I actually think you are undervaluing FS. Ed Reed, Earl Thomas, etc. Those guys turned their defenses into elite units.

I go back and forth between receiver and safety. I think a couple weeks back I put FS as #2. Really, you could call them 2a and 2b on the priority list because they are both that necessary for us right now.
We need a pass rusher??? Really ?????
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