49ers Mailbag: Aren't first-round picks expected to play?


49ers Mailbag: Aren't first-round picks expected to play?

What do you when you're preparing for a 10-day road trip?

Being averse to checking baggage, I'm thinking of taking my usual carry-on and packing for five days with a mandatory laundry day during my stay in Youngstown, Ohio.
That's a question you can answer for me. In the meantime, I'll tackle a couple articles from the 49ers Mailbag . . . Is this a sign of a poor selection in Jenkins? Aren't 1st rounders supposed to contribute year 1? (@5drecruiting)
Without question, first-round draft picks should be good enough to contribute as rookies if there are no competent incumbents at the position in question.In the case of wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, the 49ers already added Mario Manningham and Randy Moss before the draft to go along with Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn Jr.
And before the 49ers selected running back LaMichael James in the second round, the team added veteran Brandon Jacobs to join Frank Gore and top backup Kendall Hunter.Barring injuries, I don't expect Jenkins or James to play -- or make much impact, anyway -- as first-year players. But it's way too early to judge them.
Jenkins and James might turn out to be bad draft picks. Clearly, the 49ers weren't expecting huge contributions from those players as rookies with so many established veterans already on the roster at those spots.But Jenkins and James might turn out to be good draft picks, too. It will all play out over the next couple of seasons.As much as I might question at this stage how much the 49ers will get out of their top two picks in the future, I do not believe they could've chosen anyone at any position in the first two rounds that would be major players as rookies.In my mock draft, I had the 49ers selecting guard Amini Silatolu with the No. 30 overall pick. The Carolina Panthers selected Silatolu at No. 40 overall. Silatolu starts at left guard for Carolina. The only position on the offense line with some question about the starter around the time of the draft was right guard. But it's highly doubtful Silatolu would've won the job over Alex Boone, who is playing very well.Brian Quick (Rams, No. 33), Stephen Hill (Jets, No 43) and Alshon Jeffery (Bears, No. 45) were the next wide receivers chosen after Jenkins. It's unlikely any of those rookies would've been able to surpass Crabtree, Manningham and Moss to win significant playing time in 2012.
What about tight end Coby Fleener? The Colts selected him at No. 34 overall. Obviously, he wasn't going to take playing time away from Vernon Davis. And Delanie Walker has developed into a valuable blocker as the No. 2 tight end. Fleener is a formidable threat as a receiver, but he's not an accomplished blocker. That would've been a problem. Obviously, there's not a staff in the NFL that knows the former Stanford player as well as the 49ers' . . . and they decided to go with Jenkins. So that says something.The two selections after Jenkins in the first round were both running backs. The Buccaneers selected Doug Martin at No. 31, followed by the Giants' choice of David Wilson. Again, I don't know how much time Martin or Wilson would get with Gore, Hunter and Jacobs already on the roster. But either of those two probably would have a better chance in future seasons of being an every-down player.So, as I've stated before, the 49ers do not expect to see much of the 2012 draft class as rookies. But a final grade is still years away.Any idea why Trent would sign Haggans knowing the possibility of his issuesuspension? Didn't they release Eric B. just before the season started? (John H.)
Yes, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke knew veteran Clark Haggans would likely be suspended for three games for violating the NFL's policy on substance abuse.The 49ers signed Haggans to a one-year, 940,000 contract so they would have him for 13 regular-season games and, potentially, the playoffs. (By the way, Haggans is suspended without pay, so he'll forfeit more than 163,000 of his salary.)If the 49ers need a replacement at some point for Aldon Smith or Ahmad Brooks at outside linebacker, Baalke felt as if Haggans was the one person available best-equipped to step in and play.And, yes, the 49ers released Eric Bakhtiari after top backup Parys Haralson had already undergone season-ending surgery on a torn triceps. They believed Bakhtiari would still be available ifwhen they needed somebody after Haggans' suspension.The 49ers reportedly took a look at veteran free agent Shawne Merriman on Wednesday, the day Bakhtiari was signed and had his first regular-season practice with the club. Interestingly, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he was not privy to any workout Merriman had with the team.The door is open for Bakhtiari to win a permanent job with the 49ers. A year ago, Chris Culliver and Bruce Miller took advantage of openings created by injuries to hold onto significant roles after playing well as fill-ins.

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Gerald Hodges is in search of a new team and he's looking at a division rival of the 49ers.

The unrestricted free agent is scheduled to visit the Seahawks on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Acquired in October of 2015 from Minnesota for a sixth-round pick, the four-year pro played in 25 games over the past two seasons with the 49ers.

In his time with San Francisco, the former fourth-round pick recorded three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

But he was not considered a fit for the new 49ers under general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Hodges was deactivated for a game late in the season at Atlanta for breaking team rules. He did not offer an explanation or apology

The 49ers have signed three linebackers through two weeks of free agency: Malcolm Smith, Brock Coyle and Dekoda Watson.

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

On the same day the FBI director announced members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are under investigation for colluding with Russia to influence the election, Trump turned his thoughts to Colin Kaepernick’s status as an NFL free agent.

And Jim Harbaugh, appearing on Pro Football Talk, suggested teams that are not showing interest in Kaepernick are making a mistake.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” Harbaugh said Tuesday morning.

“He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.”

On Monday evening, during a rally in Kentucky, Trump made remarks about Kaepernick. In the lead-up to the November election, Kaepernick called Trump “openly racist” and said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton, either.

“And you know, your San Francisco quarterback? I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said.

“There was an article today, it was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that. I said if I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky. Because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reported an AFC general manager told him there were three reasons Kaepernick has not signed. Some believe, according to the anonymous source, that Kaepernick can no longer play at a high level. Others “genuinely hate him” for kneeling during the national anthem as part of his protest of racial inequality in America.

And, “some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him,” according to the report. “They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”

Kaepernick’s teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award for courage and inspiration last season. It is historically the most prestigious award among 49ers players. But the 49ers have already signed veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

General manager John Lynch acknowledged last week on KNBR the odds of the 49ers bringing back Kaepernick are slim.

“I think the likelihood of that happening has gone down significantly. But we’re not going to close our mind or out options on anyone, including him,” Lynch said.

Even though there has been no reported interest in Kaepernick from any team around the league, Lynch said Kaepernick nearly signed with a team earlier during the free-agent signing period.

“I don’t know what happened to that market,” Lynch said. “He was, in everyone’s mind in this league, very close to signing a deal with a team at a really good number. And it fell through, apparently.”