49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 28, 2009
Q&A: Draft-day swap?

Question: Yo Matty B! My genius mind was racing recently (at a full 4 mph), thinking the 49ers and Broncos would pull off a draft day deal swapping some players for picks because of Nolan. Are there any players you hear that Nolan was high on (especially on D) during his pathetic Niner days? Manny Lawson, Walt Harris, Aubrayo Franklin? I think this may happen!
Lebowski, Los Angeles

Answer: I like the way your mind works, Lebowski. The problem with that scenario is that the 49ers just aren't in a position to deal any players, much less ones that Nolan would covet. There are at least a half-dozen positions in which the 49ers need depth. That being said, you have to wonder whether the 49ers will try to trade back in the first round to try to accumulate even more picks. I would think a team that's looking for a quarterback - the Jets, Tampa Bay, Minnesota - might think about a leap forward. Or what if Denver deals Cutler and then tries to swap picks with the 49ers to get a QB? Definitely some scenarios out there ...
- Matt

Question: I graduated from UVA in 2000 and am a die hard Niner fan. My question is, why the Niners don't offer Denver an offer they can't refuse on Jay Cutler? I would much rather trade away unknown draft picks for a known quantity in value especially at the QB position. Cutler would get the fan base excited for the fist time in a while and he would also give us a legit chance to succeed. What's the downside? I remain optimistic on the Niners - whatever they decide to do - probably more than I can say for UVA football.
Jeremy, Manhattan

Answer: Well, you may have answered your own question. The draft picks are an unknown quantity to Denver as well. Josh McDaniels was interested in acquiring a very known quantity - to him - in Matt Cassel. It would be a leap of faith if he traded Cutler for, say, Mark Sanchez. But who knows - Cutler may force him into doing so. In the end, however, I think other teams will be willing to give up far more for Cutler than the 49ers, who --rightly or wrongly -- feel they are solid at QB. ... As for UVA, why it that the school routinely produces Top 10 draft talent but never Top 10 teams? I wonder if it begins with a "c" and ends with an "oaching."
- Matt

Question: Mr. Barrows, I just don't understand why you are predicting that the 49ers might go for a OT in the first round. Why pick a RT and pay him LT money? There's not enough value and the candidates (A. Smith, Oher) wouldn't be worth of #10 pick even if they are drafted to play LT. And we have plenty of other needs!
Mika, Pori, Finland

Answer: Two thoughts: One, I think the days when the left tackle was infinitely more valuable than the right tackle are over. Teams have excellent pass rushers on both sides of the line nowadays. Think back to 2007 when Joe Staley, then a right tackle, had to battle Michael Strahan all day. Defenses also rotate their best pass rusher around the field. Case in point - Dec. 14 in Miami when Joey Porter switched sides to face Barry Sims on the pivotal fourth-down play that sealed the Dolphins' victory. My second thought is that few rookies will be worth the money the No. 10 pick will command. However, you can realistically expect that an offensive tackle will be able to step in and start from Day 1.
- Matt

Question: I know you've mentioned many times you don't think the Niners will draft Sanchez at 10. But in what scenario would they seriously think about it?
Henry, Oakland

Answer: Keeping in mind that this is purely speculation and my sense of the situation ... I think they'd seriously think about Sanchez if all the top offensive tackles are off the board by pick no. 10, if they don't think that Malcolm Jenkins is a Top 10 cornerback, if they think that B.J. Raji's arms are too short, if they think Jeremy Maclin is injury prone and if they think they can land a good pass-rushing linebacker in the second round. As I mentioned above, they could also take Sanchez and then work a draft-day trade with a team that really covets him ...
- Matt

Question: Matt: Assuming no more FA signings, and looking at the team as it stands today (pre-draft), what five players do you think SF could least afford to lose to injury this year in order of importance? Would this affect your approach to the draft if you were GM and needed to win in '09? (BTW, Staley is at the top of my list because SF doesn't even have a RT at this point...)
Mike, Montclair, N.J.

- Frank Gore: Who's behind him? Unproven Thomas Clayton and Michael Robinson, who has better receiver instincts than runner instincts.
- Patrick Willis: He's the sun and the rest of the defense rotates around him. Who's behind him? Justin Roland (though Jeff Ulbrich likely would play there if Willis went down)
- Staley: The 49ers sealed the deal with Marvel Smith after you wrote, but still there are big question marks with him and the two other tackles on the team
- Parys Haralson: He's the only linebacker on the squad who has shown he can rush the passer. That's scary when you run a 3-4 defense.
- Vernon Davis. Don't laugh. I have a feeling he's going to be integral this season.
- Matt

Question: O.K. Matt, What is the status of Jason Hill? I thought he showed flashes last year that he could be a great receiver but it does not seem he is getting any love. I know he might never be a #1 type but I know he is fast and has good hands. Is he ready to step up and make coaches notice him? Was he in Mike Nolan's doghouse as well?
Dave, Ukiah

Answer: He's definitely love-worthy. He looked very quick and capable in the recent minicamp, just like he did at the end of 2008. He and Manny Lawson are two players I think will bust out this season.
- Matt

Question: after reading the headline "former gm has 49ers taking sanchez", i cringed a little bit. thats a pretty reliable source. but i read on and saw: 1. he has chris wells going at 4!! and 2. he was a gm for teams not really known for their drafting ability. interestingly, he doesnt have bj raji in the top ten. do you think he slips and if so, should/would the niners take him? and btw, since when did "barrows" write in third person? (carlos just smirked a little bit)
Carlos, Hayward

Answer: Barrows has been impressed with Casserly ever since he picked Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young in 2006. I thought that took guts, and so far he looks pretty damn smart. ... Dunno what the deal is with Raji. His height (lack of) and arm length (lack of) might concern some teams. But he was virtually unstoppable in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl. I would think his skill set would be perfect for how the 49ers use the nose tackle. That is, he seems like Aubrayo Franklin 2.0 ... Barrows has spoken.
- Matt


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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