49ers Blog and Q&A

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

February 23, 2007
Combine questions

Question: Are there any 6-foot-plus, 335-pound nose tackles available in the second or third round? Somebody like a Terdell Sands. Nose tackles don't need to be very athletic, they just need to be a rock that can't be moved. Since Alan Branch will probably be gone at the 11th pick, I'm asking you if there are any quality rocks available later on? And, who are they?
-- Berger, Reno

Answer: That's a very good question because the 49ers' conversion to a 3-4 defense depends on improved play at nose tackle. One guy whose name has come is Cal's Brandon Mebane. He does't have gaudy size -- 6-1, 305 -- but he is hard to move and is accustomed to double teams. He almost certainly would be available late on day 1. Unfortunately, it's a down year for interior defensive linemen. The good news is that there seem to be plenty of towering defensive ends who would be perfect in the 3-4.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: A few questions: What's the chance of signig Adalius Thomas (Ravens) and Nate Clements (Bills)? I also noticed that the Redskins cut Troy Vincent. I know we wanted him to play safety last year but how bout nickel corner? And on the offense, what about bringing Donte Stallworth back home to California?
-- Goff, Shingle Springs

Answer: The 49ers are in better position than anyone to sign either Thomas or Clements, but signing both might be too ambitious. Clements may be asking for more than the 49ers are willing to spend, although they would rather tap a cornerback in free agency than in the draft. Thomas also might be too expensive given his age -- he turns 30 in August. Tully Banta-Cain could be a more reasonable alternative at the position. As far as Troy Vincent, one of the reasons he signed with the Redskins last season was to be close to his New Jersey home. Stallworth has mentioned San Francisco but would prefer to stay in Philadelphia. His hamstring issues also may be a turnoff to the 49ers.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Hey Matthew - my uninformed assumption is the Niners will take a DL with their No. 1 pick. All the top DL have seemed to have been tagged or re-signed before the start of free agency, and the Niners are sorely lacking a presence up front. I think to fit their 3-4, they will take either Alan Branch, Amobi Okoye or Adam Carriker, in that order, based on who's available. What can you tell us is the buzz about those 3 players? Get word out that Dwayne Bowe is a bum so he falls to us in the 2nd round!

Answer: Hey, Lebowski. This is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory for defensive ends, so I agree that one could be coming the 49ers' way. Branch, however, doesn't figure to last until the 11th pick. The team likes Okoye but thinks he's much better suited for a 4-3 defense. Carriker, meanwhile, has been soaring up draft boards since the Senior Bowl. Unless he messes up at the combine, he's a definite possibility.
-- 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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