49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 15, 2007
Who can they catch?

Question: I love what the Niners have done in free agency: They filled holes and enabled themselves to draft the best player available. Adam Carriker and Alan Branch have the ideal size for a 3-4, aren't the other top D-linemen too small? Please list the top 5 WR.
-- Jason, Sacramento

Answer: Yes, I think the other defensive ends at the top of the draft are not your prototypical 3-4 defensive ends. Even Amobi Okoye, whom everyone seems to be gaga about, is a much better fit for a 4-3 defense. As far as listing the top five receivers, I’ll list the top five receivers I believe the 49ers are considering. They tend to steer away from smaller guys and because of the Ashley Lelie signing, they don’t have as a great a need for a burner like Ted Ginn Jr. or David Clowney from Va. Tech. After the Antonio Bryant saga, they also might keep away from guys with even a whiff of attitude issues such as South Carolina’s Sydney Rice. That being said, I have to think that Dwayne Bowe and Robert Meachem are at the top of their list and that Dwayne Jarrett could be a possibility if he slips on draft day. Some later-round prospects who seem like good fits are Lane College’s Jacoby Jones, whom many believe is this year’s version of Marques Colston, Washington State’s Jason Hill, who is racing up teams’ draft charts, and San Jose State’s James Jones, who had a very nice combine.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: The Niners have addressed some needs on defense through free agency. With their surplus of picks early in this draft, is there any chance they package some of them and try to move up to get Calvin Johnson, whom many believe is a franchise-type receiver? Put a guy like that with the potential Vernon Davis showed and their high caliber running game and the offense could instantly make the defense better by keeping them off of the field.
-- Phil, Elk Grove

Answer: You make a very good point, Phil. An offense with Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and Calvin Johnson would cover up a lot of holes elsewhere and would make for a lot of sleepless nights for opposing defenses. But I don’t see it happening. Despite promises of a playoff appearance in 2007, the team is still in rebuilding mode, albeit in the latter stages of rebuilding mode. To grab Johnson, they would have to forfeit all of their Day 1 draft picks, and probably a couple of their fourth rounders as well. Maybe a team that feels like it is one piece away from the Super Bowl would make that move, but not a team like the 49ers that builds from the draft. Another point to consider is that the Raiders hold the key to Calvin Johnson. Would the 49ers want to deal with Oakland and risk having their cross-bay rivals grow fat off their draft picks? They’d be skewered in the Bay Area press for years.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Hey Matt, if both Alan Branch and Adam Carriker are available by the time the Niners pick, who do you think we will pick? And who do you think we should pick of those two? Do you see the Niners going in a different direction, maybe LaRon Landry despite signing Lewis?
-- Tabrez, Elk Grove

Answer: I think you go with Branch, just because finding a nose tackle in this league is harder than finding a 3-4 defensive end. Branch also could play right defensive end in the 49ers’ defensive scheme. As for safety, I really don’t see the 49ers going after Landry anymore unless they believe he has Ronnie Lott/Ed Reed-like ability. They seem to be set at safety.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Who do you feel our the top five WRs in the draft that fit the 49ers system and you do think will be available at pick No. 11?
-- Johnny Blaze, Cameron Park

Answer: I think Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem and Dwayne Jarrett will be around at pick No. 11. These are all big, physical guys who would be nice red-zone targets and who would compliment the receivers already on the 49ers’ roster. The question is whether the 49ers think those guys are worth the No. 11 pick. If not, they could draft a defensive player at No. 11 and then try to reach back into the first round to grab one of those three. If that doesn’t happen, there are other options in the second and third rounds, such as Washington State’s Jason Hill and Lane College’s Jacoby Jones. Ohio State’s Anthony Gonzales also could be a possibility in the second round, although to me he seems like an Arnaz Battle clone with not as much strength.
-- 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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