49ers

49ers Mailbag: Is roster better than a year ago?

49ers Mailbag: Is roster better than a year ago?

It is 10 days before the NFL Draft, and 49ers general John Lynch remains “open for business” when it comes to discussions to trade the No. 2 overall pick.

A trade down appears to be the 49ers’ best move, especially in a draft with no obvious No. 2 overall choice. But in order for the 49ers to trade down, there must be another team that falls in love with a prospect and becomes eager to trade up.

Let’s go to the 49ers Mailbag to field some of the most-pressing questions as the 49ers open the second week of their offseason program:

Do you think the 49ers are already better overall than this time last year? (Taylor Savinon)
The 49ers’ roster is slightly improved in some areas, but weaker in other areas. Overall, the team is probably better, but not enough to catapult the 49ers into playoff contention.

The most-noticeable difference is Brian Hoyer takes over at quarterback for Colin Kaepernick. Hoyer is a better fit for Kyle Shanahan’s system, while Kaepernick would probably be more productive in Chip Kelly’s system.

The biggest improvement is likely going to Shanahan’s proven NFL scheme from Kelly’s offense, which is better suited for the college ranks.

Wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin replace Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton. That’s an upgrade. The addition of fullback Kyle Juszczyk gives the 49ers a lot more flexibility in both the run game and passing attack.

The offensive line should benefit from the addition of Pro Bowl center Jeremy Zuttah, which allows that unit the flexibility to move some pieces around to get the best-possible starting five.

Defensively, the team’s front seven no longer includes Michael Wilhoite, Nick Bellore, Gerald Hodges and Glenn Dorsey. The team added Malcolm Smith, Dekoda Watson and Earl Mitchell. More help is needed there.

Projected starting cornerback Tramaine Brock was released after his arrest following an alleged domestic incident. Antoine Bethea was released, and the 49ers will give Jimmie Ward a look at free safety before deciding whether his best fit is there or cornerback.

Cornerback Will Redmond has a chance to win a job this season after missing his entire season with the ACL injury that lowered his draft stock to the third round, where then-GM Trent Baalke scooped him up.

What positions, in order of need/weak positions on the depth chart, do you think the 49ers should target in the 2017 NFL draft? (Zach Benjamin)
The 49ers will draft a quarterback at some point, but that’s not to say that they should select someone at that position with the No. 2 overall pick. (If the 49ers did take a quarterback at No. 2, Mitchell Trubisky would be the most-likely target.)

The team’s top need is a pass-rusher for new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch is penciled in at that position. But the new 49ers regime is not relying on Lynch. There are enough questions about Lynch that the 49ers are looking to get somebody else into that spot. Then, if Lynch shows the commitment and focus that could turn him into a standout player, it would be “found money” for the 49ers.

Right now, the 49ers’ starting linebackers are NaVorro Bowman, Malcolm Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Depth is needed there. And three of the four starters in the secondary are Jimmie Ward, Rashard Robinson and Eric Reid, with corners Redmond, Dontae Johnson and safety Jaquiski Tartt among those who would compete for the other starting job.

The 49ers' corps of wide receivers remains a spot that could use a young, dynamic presence.

GM John Lynch made a comment about the traditional draft trade chart and how Paraag had made their own version of it. . . . I'm definitely interested to know more. (Greg Whitlow)
Paraag Marathe was working in management consulting at Bain and Co., when then-49ers executives Bill Walsh and Terry Donahue hired the firm to evaluate the widely used NFL draft-trade chart before the 2001 draft.

“It was a chart that everyone used and nobody knew where it came from, exactly, and nobody knew what it was based off,” Marathe said this offseason on "The 49ers Insider Podcast.”

“So Coach Walsh and Terry hired Bain to work on looking at that chart. It was a three-month project. I came here and did that.”

After the completion of that project, the 49ers hired Marathe to join the organization on a full-time basis.

Marathe is the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations. It is safe to assume there have been adjustments made to the chart due to the slotting system under which draft picks have been paid since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The old chart, which many teams are still believed to use, can be found here.

Paraag Marathe: I understand if 49ers fans say, 'How come he's been there?'

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USATI

Paraag Marathe: I understand if 49ers fans say, 'How come he's been there?'

Paraag Marathe is entering his 17th year with the 49ers.

Back in mid-January, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote the following:

The impediment to attracting their preferred candidates isn’t owner Jed York; apparently, it’s Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations Paraag Marathe.

On Tuesday morning, Marathe joined The Murph & Mac Show on KNBR 680 and was asked about combating those kinds of claims.

"I've got a lot of great relationships in this league and a lot of great friends in this league ... all I can do is do the best job that I can and focus on what I think is right," Marathe said. "And know that the sun rises and the sun sets and just focus on that."

Has Marathe had to train himself to develop thick skin?

[REWIND: Marathe: My job is to stay in my lane, help the coach and GM]

"Sure it's frustrating, right? But at the same time, I gotta say I get it, too," he answered. "We've had a lot of turnover, we haven't had winning seasons recently and I'm one of the one constants. I've been here.

"I'm not just an employee here. I'm also a fan of the team. I have been my whole life. So I get it. I understand fans' frustrations. If I was a fan and I didn't know, I would also say, 'Hey, well Paraag's been here the whole time. How come he's been there? What's he have to do with it?'

"I get that, too. Ultimately, we're judged on wins and losses and I'm a part of that. And hopefully I'm a part of the solution of getting this thing turned around."

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote back in February:

A year ago, Marathe officially was replaced as team president and became the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations. His duties with the football team have not changed.

In fact, York and Marathe roles with the organization took on a much-greater significance after the decision was made to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.

49ers WR Goodwin accepts one-year track suspension, issues statement

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AP

49ers WR Goodwin accepts one-year track suspension, issues statement

SANTA CLARA – The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Tuesday 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, a member of the 2012 Olympic Track and Field team, has accepted a one-year suspension for failing to properly file and maintain his whereabouts information.

The 49ers announced Goodwin will not be subject to discipline under the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“Marquise informed our organization quite some time ago that he has no intentions of competing in track and field and has been entirely focused on his football career for more than a year,” 49ers announced in a statement. “We have been in touch with the League office regarding this matter, and understand that Marquise will not be subject to discipline under the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances as a result of USADA's decision.”

Goodwin, 26, is a member of the USADA Registered Testing Pool, which consists of athletes subject to certain “whereabouts” requirements in order to be located for out-of-competition testing, according to the USADA. During a span of 12 months, Goodwin had three “whereabouts” failures.

Goodwin’s one-year period of ineligibility began on April 1, 2017, the date of his third failure in a 12-month period.

In 2012, Goodwin won the long jump competition the NCAA championships and at the U.S. Olympic Trials, becoming the first collegian since 1960 to accomplish that feat. He finished 10th at the London Olympics.

He returned to the sport last year to attempt to qualify for the Olympics for a second time. After posting world-best jumps after the football season, his Olympic quest ended at the U.S. Trials with a seventh-place finish while battling a sore hamstring.

In a May interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, Goodwin was noncommittal about whether he will try to return to the Olympics in 2020, when he would be 30 years old.

Goodwin released a statement through the 49ers:

“Never in my life have I failed a test. I have never been opposed to testing and, in fact, have always been compliant with each and every protocol and policy associated with my competitive career in track and field.

More than a year ago, I decided to cease competing in the sport in order to concentrate 100 percent on my NFL career. Therefore, I discontinued all practices associated with competing in track and field, including submitting my ‘Whereabouts’ information.

It appears that because I did not inform USADA of my plans, my name was inadvertently included in their 2017 testing pool.

I greatly appreciate the support of the San Francisco 49ers and the National Football League as I work to clarify this matter.”