Ranking the 49ers' draft 'wants'


Ranking the 49ers' draft 'wants'

With their salary cap whittled down to the point where they can fit in their draft class and not much else, let's assume the 49ers are finished spending free-agent dollars.The focus now shifts toward the draft.The 49ers have seven draft wants -- and that's because needs is just too strong of a word.As I see it, there are only two positions where the 49ers can add a starter. At the very least, they need depth at those spots.Here is the complete list of spots the 49ers will look to fill in the draft:1. Guard: Daniel Kilgore is penciled in as the starter at right guard with the departure of Adam Snyder. But Kilgore will not be running unopposed. The 49ers could add a veteran-minimum type of player to challenge for a starting job. And the 49ers could add a potential first-year starter with a selection within the first four rounds of the draft.

2. Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree is likely to be a starter, and the other starting job is up on the air. Randy Moss is coming out of retirement. The last time Moss played in the NFL, he was not up to starter quality. Free-agent pickup Mario Manningham, a front-runner to start alongside Crabtree, averaged 52 receptions over the past three seasons with the New York Giants. If the 49ers select a wideout in the first or second round, there should be a good competition in camp.
3. Safety: Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner are the starters, but the 49ers have nobody behind them at this moment. Veteran Madieu Williams started three of the first four games due to injuries. The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing him. And Reggie Smith played 239 snaps of defense (23.6 percent of the time) as an extra defensive back. Smith is looking for a better opportunity on the free-agent market. So look for the 49ers to attempt to bolster this spot.
4. Cornerback: Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown return as the starters, and Chris Culliver enters his second NFL season as the team's third corner. If the 49ers select a cornerback with their first-round pick, then, that player would have a chance to step in and open the season as a starter. More likely, the 49ers would add a player to compete with Tramaine Brock for the job as the fourth corner.

5. Running back: Frank Gore is the starter, but the 49ers can be expected to try to upgrade behind him. Kendall Hunter is a change-of-pace back -- not an every-down solution. Anthony Dixon was in the doghouse a year ago because he was inconsistent with his assignments. Veteran Rock Cartwright was signed for his special-teams play. The 49ers are definitely in the market for a 215-plus-pound no-nonsense runner who is reliable in blitz pickup.
6. Outside linebacker: Parys Haralson is a good insurance policy to have behind starters Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. But the 49ers should look to develop another young player for depth purposes. Outside linebackers Monte Simmons and Rick Elmore finished the season on the 49ers' practice squad. But Simmons signed with Philadelphia Eagles, and Elmore went to the San Diego Chargers.
7. Defensive line: The 49ers have some young players behind the entrenched starting line of Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga and Ray McDonald. The 49ers have depth with Ricky Jean Francois, Demarcus Dobbs, Ian Williams and Will Tukuafu. But a couple players from that group must step up and win places in the rotation. After all, Smith played 91.1 percent of last year's snaps, while McDonald was on the field 83.5 percent of the time. Depth means nothing if the coaching staff does not have the confidence to play the backups.
There is a very soft market for inside linebackers -- and an even softer market for restricted free agents. So it looks as if Larry Grant will return as the 49ers' primary backup to Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman on a one-year tender.
Of course, the 49ers could select a tight end, too. It's not a need with a roster consisting of Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker and blocking specialist Nate Byham. But Walker's contract expires after the 2012 season, so it would make sense, too.And it would definitely make sense if it's a best-player-available situation.

49ers 2012 draft pick
Round 1: No. 30 (No. 30 overall)
Round 2: No. 30 (No. 61 overall)
Round 3: No. 30 (No. 92 overall)
Round 4: No. 30 (No. 125 overall)
Round 5: No. 30 (No. 165 overall)
Round 6: No. 30 (No. 199 overall)
Round 7: No. 30 (No. 237 overall)(Updated to reflect official NFL draft order.)

New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown

New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown

The New York Giants released placekicker Josh Brown, the team announced on Tuesday.

The NFL suspended Brown for the season opener in Dallas for violating the League’s Personal Conduct Policy.  That suspension was based on his May 22, 2015 arrest on domestic violence charges, which were dismissed approximately five days after the arrest.

Brown served his suspension, returned to the Giants on September 12, and subsequently participated in five games. 

Last Wednesday, approximately 24 hours before the Giants were to depart for London, new information was released by authorities in Washington State.  The new materials disclosed a history of alleged domestic violence by Brown.  On Thursday, the Giants announced Brown would not accompany the team to London, where they played the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. 

Last Friday, the NFL, at the Giants request and citing the documents released two days earlier, placed Brown on the Commissioner Exempt List. 

Today, the Giants released Brown.

“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” said team president John Mara. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided.  We accept that responsibility.

“We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father.  We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution.

“We have great respect and feel strongly about our support for the good people who work tirelessly and unconditionally to aid the victims of domestic violence and who bring awareness to the issue. We have been partners with My Sisters’ Place (a domestic violence shelter and advocate based in Westchester, New York) for nearly 20 years. The leadership of that organization has provided invaluable insight as we have considered our decisions in this matter.  We value and respect their opinion, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

Statement from Josh Brown:
"The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life.  My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man.  I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way.  In the coming days and weeks I plan on telling more of the pain I had caused and the measures taken to get help so I may be the voice of change and not a statistic.  In the interim I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down."

New York Giants media services

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

SANTA CLARA -- In the early afternoon Monday after the 49ers’ day-after-game meetings concluded, the players were excused for the next seven days.

Coach Chip Kelly opted to give the 49ers a week break, rather than going through a couple days of practices before providing the players with a mandatory four consecutive days off during the bye week.

The 49ers on Sunday dropped to 1-6 on the season with a 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there will be no extra practices to attempt to sharpen their performance.

“They’ve been at it since July 31st,” Kelly said. “They haven’t had more than one day off in a row. So I think at this point in time that’s what our whole MO has always been.

“They’ll meet with our strength and conditioning coaches. They have their lifting programs in terms of what they can do and what they have to do. And I think at this point in time we need to heal up. I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do and that’s the way I’ve always done it and our teams have been fresh coming out of the bye week.”

While the players will be off for a week, Kelly said the coaching staff will continue to work through Friday in an attempt to identify areas in which they can improve and snap out of their six-game losing streak on Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’ve got a lot of self-scout that we have set aside,” Kelly said. “We’ll be in here all week kind of looking at what we’ve done in the first seven games, what have our opponents done to us in the first seven games relative to what we thought going into the game based on the break downs. Did they change?

“If they were 60-percent pressure going into our game and they were only 30-percent pressure in our game, trying to delve into how people are defending us. How are people attacking us from an offensive standpoint in terms of attacking our defense and what their tendencies were going into the game and then what actually transpired in the game. So we’ve got a lot of film work and a lot of studying to do here during this week.”

Kelly reiterated on Monday that he is not looking at leaving the 49ers after this season. He said he has not heard from any schools with coaching openings or potential openings. Kelly said he has tried to remain focused on his job through the longest losing streak he has ever experienced as a coach.

“No one’s happy, so I don’t know if the word’s anguish, but I mean obviously you try to keep it consistent in terms of your approach to everything that you do,” Kelly said. “I don’t think being consistent and being even-keeled means that it doesn’t bother you or that you’re not frustrated in terms of what’s gone on.”

Kelly said the 49ers have the talent to win games. When asked why the coaches have not been able to extract more victories, Kelly placed the blame for the team’s poor play on himself and his staff.

“That’s on us,” Kelly said. “I agree 100-percent in terms of what you’re saying. But our job is to put our players in position to make plays and we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”