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.

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich had a strong indication he would be fired as Oregon’s head coach. And he said he told Chip Kelly recently he would have no hard feelings if Kelly left the 49ers to return to coach the Ducks.

Kelly this week said he is not interested in abandoning his job with the 49ers to coach in the college ranks. Helfrich suggested during a radio interview on Friday that Kelly told him the same thing privately.

When it was suggested that Kelly hated to recruit, Helfrich did not disagree.

"That's a fact," Helfrich said in an interview on ESPN Radio's Russillo and Kanell. "I don't know hated recruiting. . . a dislike. A strong dislike. But I think Chip has that challenge in his mind right now to make it right in the NFL.

"I had some of those conversations with him a couple weeks ago when it looked like this was going south. That was a very awkward converation, but (I) just wanted to let him know that to take our personal relationship out of it in every way, shape or form if he wanted to consider this.

"But, me, reading between the lines, I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He's had a rough go of it this year, but he'll get it right."

Kelly compiled a 46-7 record in four seasons in Eugene, Ore. He left after the 2012 season to accept the head-coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly was fired late last season and took the 49ers job two weeks later.

In Kelly’s first season with the 49ers, the club is 1-10. The 49ers are on a franchise-long 10-game losing streak entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Helfrich was 37-16 in his four seasons at Oregon after his promotion from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Kelly said he spoke with Helfrich the morning after he was fired.

“I just felt bad for Mark. I love him like a brother,” Kelly said. “He’s a tremendous person. He’s a hell of a football coach, but he’s an even better person. Just felt for him and the rest of the guys on that staff. It’s an unfortunate thing that goes on in this profession. We all know about it when we sign up, but when it happens you’re still taken aback by it.”

Kelly said he hoped his denial of any interest in the Oregon job would end all speculation about his future. When asked if intends to remain with the 49ers, Kelly said on Wednesday, “Yep. So we're all done with that, I hope."

Injury report: Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Injury report: Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Defensive lineman Quinton Dial, who sat out last week’s game with knee and neck issues, will return to action Sunday for the 49ers at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.

Dial was not listed on the team’s injury report after going through two limited practices this week. The 49ers had only a walk-through Friday in Orlando, Fla., but Dial was cleared to return to full activity, the team announced.

Wide receiver Quinton Patton (concussion) and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) were both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Patton appears to be on pace to be cleared in the NFL’s return-to-play concussion protocol. He has returned to non-contact football activity after sustaining a head injury last week against the Miami Dolphins.

Lynch has already missed four consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain. Lynch has appeared in only three games this season. He sat out the first four games of the year while serving a four-game suspension for violating the leageu’s policy of substances of abuse.

The Bears listed six players as questionable for the game, including outside linebackers Willie Young and rookie Leonard Floyd. Young leads Chicago with 6.5 sacks, while Floyd is second with five sacks.

Quarterback Jay Cutler has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Matt Barkley will make his second career start.

LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
WR Quinton Patton (concussion)

QB Jay Cutler (right shoulder)
LB Willie Young (knee)
S Adrian Amos (foot)
WR Eddie Royal (toe)
LB Leonard Floyd (concussion)
CB Deiondre' Hall (ankle)
G Josh Sitton (ankle)