49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 15, 2009
Mobile or bust

Mike Singletary's offseason wish list includes a safety, an offensive lineman, a quarterback and a pass rusher. The first stop on the 49ers coach's shopping spree will be Mobile, Ala. where Singletary and his staff will assemble early next week for the Senior Bowl. Barrows is going, too, and I'm beginning my preparations today. Toothbrush? Check. Rain gear? Check. Typhus shot? Check. Gratuitous shot at the state of Alabama? Check.

While this year's Senior Bowl seems to be light on quarterbacks, it's a good year for several of the other positions Singletary has cited.

Safety. The 49ers biggest need is at free safety where - say it with me - Mark Roman has gone two seasons without an interception. The player who potentially would have been the top safety in the draft, USC's Taylor Mays, decided to play for the Trojans again next year. Still, there is a lot of talent at the position this year, especially at free safety. In fact, all of the players ranked in NFLDraftScout's Top 5 will be at the Senior Bowl. They are:

  1. William Moore, Missouri.

  2. Derek Pegues, Mississipi State. (Double bonus - he's an excellent return man)

  3. Louis Delmas, Western Michigan

  4. Rashad Johnson, Alabama

  5. Sherrod Martin, Troy

Offensive line. Yes, David Baas is entering the final year of the contract, but the 49ers seem to have some depth at guard. Both Tony Wragge and Adam Snyder can play there, and don't forget, Eric Heitmann started his 49ers career at guard. If Cody Wallace shows potential, the 49ers have the luxury of having Heitmann move one spot to the left or right. Here are some of the top names at the Senior Bowl:

  1. OT Michael Oher, Ole Miss. If you haven't read "The Blindside," stop what you're doing right now and head to your nearest library.

  2. OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia. UVA produces two things: Offensive lineman and talented writers. (See: Poe, Edgar Allan; Fey, Tina; Barrows, Matt)

  3. G Duke Robinson, Oklahoma. Two "Dukes" on one offensive line? Now that's confusing

  4. C Max Unger, Oregon. The 49ers seem to be building an army of centers.

Pass rusher. The common denominator among the teams still left in the playoffs seems to be the number of turnovers they produce. The 49ers have been quite poor in this category for years and desperately need a playmaker on defense. Players they will look at in Mobile are Virginia's Clint Sintim and Northern Illinois' Larry English. Both spent a lot of time with their hand on the ground in college but would be OLBs in San Francisco. Perhaps the best pass rusher, Texas' Brian Orakpo, is not on the Senior Bowl roster at this time.

By the way, Percy Harvin, who is fast becoming my 2009 Carl Nicks, is expected to declare himself eligible for the draft today. Percy Galore!

-- 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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