49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 29, 2007
Harris' changing role

Question: With the signing of Nate Clements, will Walt Harris move back to safety and play along with Michael Lewis? Lewis is great in run support, however, coverage is lacking. Harris would bring that to the table.

Second -- the LB corps for the Niners was a strength for so many years that now it seems suspect. I really like Patrick Willis out of Old Miss. I feel he can come in and be a main stay for year to come. Will the Niners take him or pursue a WR?
-- Scott, Sacramento

Answer: Harris was the best cornerback on the team last season. One can only assume that with the addition of Clements, Harris will be, at worst, second best. That is, you gotta think that he will be a starter at cornerback this season. As for Willis, he’s definitely a possibility at pick No. 11. But as I’ve written before, teams can find high-impact inside linebackers throughout the draft.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: What do you think the Niners will do with the 11th pick? Some say Ted Ginn, Dwayne Jarrett, Pat Willis, Adam Carriker and Alan Branch. What do you think?
-- Andrew, San Francisco

Answer: OK, with one month to go before the draft, here’s my guess for the top three possible scenarios. (if I’m wrong, well, tough.)

Scenario 1: The 49ers package their first-round pick with a few additional picks to trade up and grab Alan Branch.

Scenario 2: The 49ers stay put and draft Adam Carriker. Then they trade back into the first round for a receiver.

Scenario 3. The 49ers trade down in the first round and grab one of two WRs, Dwayne Bowe or Robert Meachem.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: By no means am I an expert talent evaluator, but I am not impressed with Adam Carriker at all. I looked at his stats in three of Nebraska's big games this year -- USC, Texas and Auburn -- and he only had one sack! I went back and watched the USC game on Tivo and he was not even a factor. I know he had an impressive combine, but so did Mike Mamula. Wouldn't the Niners be better served to trade up? I know later round picks are valuable but the Niners have not used them wisely in the past that well either.
-- Roni, Stockton

Answer: I agree – that USC game was not Carriker’s best. He looked mediocre at best against the Trojans. However, he did play well at the Senior Bowl against high-caliber competition and he is the type of high-character guy the 49ers covet. He’s not a flashy pick; merely a safe pick. And like I said, if Branch slips a bit in the Top 10, the 49ers have plenty of ammo to grab him.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Who, if any, in the upcoming draft that could be the next T.O., Andre Johnson or Colston ... falling because of their small college but potentially outperforming the top-tier WRs?
-- Ryan, Stockton

Answer: Another Q from the 209. The guy the scouts are looking at is Jacoby Jones from Lane College. Also, since when is Miami -- Andre's Johnson's alma mater -- considered a small school?
-- Matt Barrows

Question: So tell me again - what is the logic behind activating only a certain number of players on game day? They get paid - let'em play!!
-- Sammy Moore, Jr., Sacramento

Answer: I consulted the oracle – Matt Maiocco – for this one. The logic behind a 45-man active roster is that it maintains a competitive balance by mitigating injuries. Say, for instance, the Bears are playing the Dolphins. The Bears have eight injured players, the Dolphins have no injured players. If every player on the team were allowed to suit up, the Dolphins would have a competitive edge because they would have 53 healthy players vs. 45 for the Bears. Plus it saves guys like John York from having to pay for eight extra hotel rooms on the road.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Great work, Matt! This section is about the only place where the 49er faithful can get updates and insider info. Now that the 49ers have locked up Gore to a long-term deal, what is their current cap number? Do they still have enough for the rookie pool as well as some reserve in case there are some surprise cuts on June 1? Keep up the good work!
-- Joey L., Northridge

Answer: Thanks for the good word, Joey. Remember that Gore was still under contract for 2007 at the ultra affordable price of $435,000. His signing bonus is spread over five years. So the cap hit for this season is insignificant. They’re still about $12 million below.
-- 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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