49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 24, 2007

Question: Hey Matt. Why haven’t I heard anyone mention Lance Briggs as a LB the Niners would look at during free agency? It appears that his time in Chicago is coming to an end in the next couple weeks, he seemed to make it clear he is going to test the market when he turned down the contract from them last year, and he is from Elk Grove. Wouldn’t he be a good fit? Thanks.
-- Roger, Sacramento

Answer: Well, you might start hearing his name more and more now that it appears the Ravens will franchise linebacker Adalius Thomas. One reason Briggs hasn’t been mentioned as much as Thomas is because Briggs plays a 4-3 defense while Thomas is adept at a 3-4. If Mike Nolan had his druthers, he would run a 3-4 defense next season. The top priority, however, is finding high-caliber players. Briggs certainly fits that description, and considering that he’s from Elk Grove, the 49ers likely would have an edge in luring him to their squad. One other thing to consider: Briggs is represented by Drew Rosenhaus. The 49ers will be quite chummy with Rosenhaus this spring as they work on a deal with one of his other clients, running back Frank Gore.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: I believe that we should just pay top dollar for someone like Drew Bennett (proven WR) and that the 49ers should consider trading up and snatching up 2 D lineman. Also are there any notable CBs in the 2nd that could eventually supplant Walt Harris? What do you think of the chances of us landing Adalius Thomas? If we do fail on gettin him, who are some good LBs with whom the 49ers could draft in either the 2nd or 3rd that could start at the strong side?
-- James, Mobile, Ala.

Answer: Gee, these are good questions but a little premature. I’m heading to the scouting combine next month, after which I will be teeming with draft answers. As far as Bennett, he could be a guy who piques the 49ers’ interest -- good size -- but they certainly wouldn’t want to get in a bidding war over him. The fact that he’s from nearby Orinda could help their cause. And as for Thomas, it looks like the Ravens will retain him by making him their franchise player. That, by the way, is a possibility for nearly all the potential free agents out there.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Agreed, D and receivers are needed in the free agency and draft, but the offensive line which did a great job this year seems fragile. What’s the real need here, do the Niners have the depth, skill, and weight they need on the O-line, or should they also think of picking up here if the opportunity presents itself?
-- Blase, Elk Grove

Answer: That’s a good question. O-line certainly isn’t a must-fill position for the 49ers, but Nolan has said time and again that he feels the most important position on a team is the offensive line. I’d be surprised if they used one of their first two picks on a lineman, but the third and fourth rounds are not far fetched.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: What are the chances the 49ers will upgrade at the right tackle position? Kwame Harris has had his ups and downs over the years. What is your opinion about the offensive line, possible free agent upgrade? is it even a concern with Adam Snyder in waiting?
-- Scott, Sacramento

Answer: The 49ers feel they have a perfectly capable right tackle in Adam Snyder. The problem is that their left tackle, Jonas Jennings, has been injury prone and Snyder has had to shuffle between the right and left spots. I don’t think the 49ers will make a major upgrade there, but like I wrote in the previous answer, if Nolan believes there’s a way to improve the all-important line, he will do it.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: I know the niners need help on defense. But what would you think if they opt for excitement in the draft by snagging Tedd Ginn Jr.? I would love to see him returning kicks while sporting the red and gold. What do you think?
-- George Soto, National City

Answer: I’m skeptical. It’s not that I don’t think that Ginn is a rare talent. Anyone with that kind of speed stands out. He just doesn’t seem like the kind of player the 49ers are after. Their concept of the perfect receiver is Anquan Boldin -- someone who will smash through opposing defensive backs and block well down field. Ginn just doesn’t seem to fit that mold. Just my gut reaction; could be wrong.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: I have been hearing lately that the Niners might be interested in Asante Samuel. How likely do you think it is that the Patriots don’t re-sign him? Do you think he would be a good fit for the Niners?
-- Matt, Folsom

Answer: I think Samuel would be a great fit for the 49ers. There are some positions the team would like to fill through the draft and some they would rather get in free agency. Cornerback falls into the latter category. I believe that Samuel and Nate Clements are high on their wish list.
-- Matt 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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