49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

October 13, 2006

Question: Battle got open for two touchdowns last week, but given his injury history, what are his long-term prospects in the NFL. Should the 49ers be looking at a wideout in the draft?
-- Nick, Sacramento

Answer: It might be hard to pass up Calvin Johnson or Ted Ginn in the draft, but the 49ers have got to be thinking defense this spring. It doesn't matter how many Pro Bowl wideouts you have if your opponent scores 30 points each week. As for Battle, he claims to have put his knee problems behind him and looked quite fit Sunday. But you're right -- given his injury history, you wonder how long his health will last.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: I hear talk about how Nolan likes linbacker Derek Smith, but I don't really see him or Ulbrich as being top-flight impact guys. They make tackles, but most often it's three yards downfield. How many sacks do either have? Should middle linebackers also be on the 49ers wish list?
-- Ed, Sacramento

Answer: Hard to answer that one. Are those guys Derrick Brooks and Ray Lewis? No. But you also could make the argument that they'd look better if the defensive line did a better job of occupying blockers up front. And as far as the 49ers' wish list goes, they should be looking for anyone who can upgrade their front seven.
-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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