Question: Hey Matt, don't you think these mock drafts that come out every week are getting a little ridiculous? I think they just change them every week just so they'll have something new to put out. I mean, Rivals.com, which I thought was a reputable website, has the 49ers taking QB Brian Brohm in the first round and RB Felix Jones early in the 2nd. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Niners already have 3 quarterbacks and Frank Gore and recently signed DeShaun Foster at RB? How much stock do you put in any of these mocks?
Nick, San Francisco
Answer: The Internet is full of two things: porn and mock drafts and I find only one of them interesting. Yes, I saw that Rivals mock and noted that they had the 49ers picking 40th overall in the second round. Newsflash: theyíre picking 39th. That ought to tell you something about the reliability of their predictions. BTW, Iíll be posting my own Ė mock, not porn Ė later this week.
Question: Matt--What do you know about Groves' versatility? It seems to me like predicting how pass rushing skills translate into the NFL is almost as much guesswork as predicting QB and WR success. And wasn't Manny Lawson originally drafted to be a pass rush guy? He obviously has the versatility to contribute well in other areas, but is Groves a one-trick pony? If he can't be consistent at pressuring the QB, will he be valuable in any other areas? Thanks for your input as always!
Eric, Springville, UT
Answer: Itís a great point. Lawson had a lot of sacks in college but has shown little ability as a pass rusher on the NFL level. Groves certainly is heavier, and like Iíve written before, all of his tangibles compare well to DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Sure, itís guesswork. But itís educated guesswork.
Question: Matt - The Niners' offense was atrocious last season. Their receivers had no speed could not gain any separation from DBs. It seemed like defenses were able to stack at least eight in the box at all times, which also hurt Goreís production. I don't think that with Bruce and Johnson they've improved at WR. I love the idea of drafting Jackson from Cal because he can make big plays and return kicks. What are your thoughts?
Answer: I hear what youíre saying, Scott, but Iím not sold on Jackson. In a wide open offense like Calís, a guy with his speed should have dominated more games. He disappeared too much. I fear that heíd come into the NFL, get pushed around by physical DBs at the line of scrimmage and his speed would be negated. Speed alone doesnít work in the NFL. Just ask Reggie Bush.
Question: What do you think of the NT in this draft? I believe that we need a massive NT. Iíve read in some articles that Red Bryant can be unmovable and some teams gave up running at him. I think he will be an upgrade over Franklin. What do you think?
Answer: Thanks for representing the ladies, Rebecca. This site was beginning to look like a Star Trek convention it had so many dudes. To answer your question, the 49ers coached Bryant at the Senior Bowl, which ought to have put him squarely on their radar. He was good in Mobile, but wasnít as good as some other interior guys like Sedrick Ellis, Trevor Laws and Dre Moore. If the 49ers go LB and OT with their first two picks (which I think is a strong possibility) they could snag Bryant later.
Question: Hey Matt! Big fan of your blog. If Groves and Cherilus are gone by the 29th pick, what do you think of picking up Kenny Phillups? I think there is a chance Goldson will be good, but I think Phillups has too much upside to pass up if Groves and Cherilus are gone. I miss having a playmaking safety around here!
Jonathan, Norcross, Ga.
Answer: Youíre right Ė not enough big plays by the safeties in recent years. Michael Lewis makes plays, but theyíre more along the line of scrimmage. The 49ers need more picks, which would be helped by a better pass rush, too. I think safety is a possibility if Groves and Cherilus are gone. But I think a trade down or a cornerback are better possibilities.
Question: Hi Matt, as far as late round steals, I think that Tommy Blake has the potential to be a star at the pro level. He would provide an excellent pass rush for the 49ers. I know the personal problems he went through with depression and social anxiety disorder. But he has been through therapy and still receiving treatment. His pro day numbers were excellent and I think with positive role models like Frank Gore, Pat Willis and Mike Singletary, this could be a great environment for him. Any news on if he's being evaluated as a potential option?
Answer: Well, the 49ers can host 30 draft prospects and theyíve released the names of half a dozen. Dunno if Blake is one of those remaining 20 or so, but it would make sense if he were. The 49ers like to interview guys with question marks by their names (character concerns, injuries, etc.) and Blake certainly falls into that category. In the beginning of the season, he was being compared with Chris Long as one of the best d-ends in the country. If he could recapture his form and get on top of his disorder, he would be the ultimate late-round steal. Unfortunately, he seems like a luxury a team with lots of extra draft picks could afford. The 49ers are not in that category.
Question: Yo Matt, Great job all around. My question is: Chad Johnson wants out!! We are looking for a #1 WR Still... What are the chances we trade for OCHO? I mean he would be great in the Martz system, Good YAC, GOOD routes and most of all PROVEN.. I would gladly give up a few draft picks for him. This draft isnít that spectacular, itís just deep. What are your thoughts???
Answer: Chances of landing Ocho? Next to nada. First, the Bengals have been resolute in saying they wonít trade him. Second, if Johnson canít coexist with Carson Palmer donít you think he would balk at playing in last-in-offense San Francisco? Third, the 49ers have nothing to trade. Theyíre a team that purports to build through the draft but they have few picks this year. And lastly, Mike Nolan hates head cases.
Question: Matt, Great work the blog, man. I was wondering about Strength of Schedule as a predictor of success year-to-year. Do you know if anyone has crunched the numbers to figure out the extent to which a team can get excited about having a schedule full of teams that were sub-.500 last year? Is having x-number of road games in a row a better predictor of success/failure? Thanks again!
Grant, Hamilton, ON
Answer: Thatís a really good question. I would imagine SOS is a pretty bad indicator because a lot of teams end up being a lot better (Cleveland) or worse (Atlanta) than they were the year before. Living in Silicon Valley, I happen to be in the land of spread sheets and math-a-holics. Surely, one of you out there can whip up a quick study on the subject. Paraag? Larry? Sergey?
Question: Aloha again Matt! Given the fact that Nolan and Co. have a history of trading up, can you see any scenario in which they might trade up in the 1st round to snatch one of the better OT's, WR's or CB's?
Robert, Anahola, Hi
Answer: Mahalo! The only thing that I think would make them jump is if, like last year, they fell madly in love with an OT. But I really donít see it happening. This draft is deep in all three of the positions you mentioned and the 49ers simply donít have a lot of ammo with which to barter. I think itís far more likely that they trade down from their 29th pick.
Question: Hey, great comments. I was just wondering if the 49ers would think about drafting Malcolm Kelly in the first since his stock is apparently dropping.
Sam, McAlester, OK
Answer: Dunno for sure, but I donít think so. It seems to me that the Niners need a small, jitterbug type receiver more than a big-bodied guy. They have one of those now in Bryant Johnson.
Question: I wanted to point out an error from the previous Q&A. You responded to a question on the cap cost of cutting a player (V. Maiocco in your example - hmmn?). When a player is cut prior to the season, his salary for that season doesn't count against the team's cap for the year.
Answer: Yes, you are correct. In my lame attempt to be funny, I failed to make sure I was right. Sort of a metaphor for my life. Iím going into the bedroom to weep now.
Question: Matt did you check out the picture of Dennis Dixon at the 49ers local Pro Day? (see pic below from 49ers.com) It should have been captioned "Skinny Legs and All". I use to think that my wife had skinny legs at 5'7" 116 pounds, but no more. I don't see how Dixon is going to last in the NFL with those toothpicks.
Answer: I canít believe you posted your wifeís weight on the Internet. Sofa city for Ken for at least a week. Kidding Ė actually Dixonís legs look like Ashley Lelieís. Heís got toothpicks, too. But both of those guys can fly Ö
Those of you who aren't tired of my voice (see previous blog) can hear a little more on The Bee's draft podcast. Click the isosceles triangle below.