49ers mailbag: Don't expect much from rookie class

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49ers mailbag: Don't expect much from rookie class

There are eight days until rookies report for 49ers' training camp. But will any of those guys who show up at the team's practice facility on July 21 have much of an impact this season?Q: What rookie do you see making the biggest impact? (Danny Esparza)
The player with the best chance of making a contribution on offense or defense is former Oregon running back LaMichael James, whom the 49ers selected in the second round.I'm still of the opinion that Kendall Hunter is the 49ers' second-best running back behind Frank Gore. But the 49ers would not have selected the dynamic James if they did not envision a role for him as a rookie.I find it difficult to believe that first-round pick A.J. Jenkins can supplant Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss or Mario Manningham to find a steady role as one of the team's top three wide receivers. So it might be difficult for him to earn the right to put on a uniform as part of the active 46 players on game days.Jenkins' value as a first-round pick will be measured over the course of his four-year deal, so let's not get too carried away with expecting much production early in his career.
I don't know that there was any player the 49ers could've selected at No. 30 overall -- at any position -- who could've made an impact on offense or defense as a rookie.Guard Joe Looney (fourth round) did not participate in the offseason program due to a foot injury. He'll have a difficult time landing on the regular-season, game-day roster as one of seven active offensive linemen. Sixth-round pick Jason Slowey, who converts to center, will fight for a roster spot.Outside linebacker Darius Fleming sustained a torn ACL in rookie minicamp, and likely saw his season end before it ever began. Seventh-round pick Cam Johnson, also an outside linebacker, had a clean-up surgery in the offseason and should be fine for camp. His hopes are likely tied to special teams.Safety Trenton Robinson has a solid chance to win a roster spot as the No. 4 safety behind Donte Whitner, Dashon Goldson and C.J. Spillman.So that's why the answer is James . . . by default.
Q: Will FS Dashon Goldson miss part of training camp? (Tyler Hanley)
Goldson will play for the 49ers this season. The sides have until the Monday deadline to work out a long-term extension. Otherwise, Goldson will sign the one-year, 6.212 million deal and be scheduled for free agency again next year.RELATED: Goldson -- 'I'll still be a 49er'
Of course, Goldson has provided no indication of when he plans to sign the one-year deal -- if the sides fail to reach a long-term pact. He remains focused on a long-term contract, and there's no reason for him to show his cards and, perhaps, lose some bargaining power before Monday. After Monday, he has no bargaining power.
What Goldson has to keep in mind is that if he returns on a one-year deal, he must have a strong season to get a multi-year contract next year. And the way he can do that is with a good 2012 season.The 49ers open against Green Bay, so Goldson's biggest challenge of the season comes in Week 1. He better be ready.

Jaguars retain offensive coordinator, pass on Chip Kelly

Jaguars retain offensive coordinator, pass on Chip Kelly

It appears the Jaguars have passed on Chip Kelly for a second time this month.

After reportedly not getting their head coaching job, Kelly reportedly interviewed for their offensive coordinator position on Monday.

But two days later, Jacksonville announced that Nathaniel Hackett has been retained as offensive coordinator under head coach Doug Marrone.

Kelly told CSNBayArea.com recently he would take his time to determine his next career move.

“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said two days after his firing. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

The 49ers fired Kelly with three years, $18 million remaining in his contract. The 49ers hired Kelly just two weeks after the Philadelphia Eagles fired him. Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles after leaving his successful program with the Oregon Ducks after the 2012 season.

Report: Shanahan announced as 49ers' coach to Falcons' staff

Report: Shanahan announced as 49ers' coach to Falcons' staff

The 49ers feel certain they have landed their head coach, according to sources.

And the Atlanta Falcons are reportedly convinced offensive Kyle Shanahan will be entering the head-coaching ranks with the 49ers next season, too.

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn made an announcement to coaches that Shanahan would be the 49ers’ next coach, Mike Silver of the NFL Network reported Wednesday, adding everyone in the room was “super supportive.”

On Wednesday, Quinn was asked at a press conference about Shanahan and the 49ers.

“I know it’s for sure out there, (but it’s) definitely not our story to tell,” Quinn said. “They (the 49ers) will for sure reach out to (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and to the organization and there will be a window for them if they’d like to visit with him for next week. But that’s really where it’s at, and there’s nothing left to do until then."

The Falcons will face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game. The 49ers will have a second interview with Shanahan after the game. Shanahan will also become involved in the process to hire the 49ers’ next general manager.

The 49ers are checking with the NFL to determine what is allowable under the league’s anti-tampering policy, according to a league source. If the Falcons win on Sunday, the 49ers would not be able to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

According to sources, the 49ers have narrowed their initial search for the next general manager to four candidates: Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst of Green Bay, Minnesota’s George Paton and Terry McDonough of Arizona.

The general manager candidates are expected to meet with Shanahan, but it’s unclear whether Shanahan can interview the candidates if the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl and he is not officially the 49ers’ coach. The 49ers are expected to hold a second round of general manager interviews early next week and could fill the position by the end of next week.