FOOCH'S NOTE: Consider this our current Official thread for draft and offseason discussion
With Week 13 now in the books and our playoff dreams seemingly down the drain, we can now move forward to Week 14 and hope for some Monday Night Football revenge. Last year I was in attendance at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ to see us lose by literally a foot. As dissapointed as I was, it was still one of the single most exciting games I have ever watched in person. To avenge last years loss would be a sweet victory this coming weekend after last weekends deflating loss. Being that we're out, this is the last game of the year that I really care about winning.
Now that our playoff aspirations are what they are, the offseason discussions have moved in to the next gear. Some were reluctant to dive in to the topic because there was still a chance but I think that the conversations will increase from here on.
This week smileyman and I will take a look at the TE's and OT's that will be entering the draft and free agency. The 49ers are in desperate need of some help on our offensive line. Although the last few games the desperation has slowly been going away in that department, our infamous LOLine has not been as so LOL and actually played pretty decent for the most part. Considering that factor though, it is my opinion that this will still need to be addressed if nothing else but for depth.
Originally we were going to do this post once every week but as it turns out, the posts are filling up more quickly than anticipated. Thanks to rlott#42 for taking the initiative in creating a new one to get us through for a couple days. We will now be watching the comment count very closely to make sure that we get a new one up at about 300-350 comments or so to keep things fresh and more easy to follow.
TOP 5 NCAA TIGHT ENDS
For TE's I did just want to mention that currently we only have 2 active TE's on the roster in Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. Brit Miller can play some TE but has been slotted in the FB position behind Moran Norris on the depth chart. The only other TE we have on the team is Joe John Finley which is currently helping the prep team on the practice squad.
1. Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma)
6'6" and 261 pounds of solid muscle, this kid is the most well rounded TE in the nation. His blocking is better than some college offensive guards and thanks to his past basketball experience his ability to catch passes out of the TE position is remarkable. There are not many flaws in Gresham's game and he is, hands-down, bar-none, the best TE to come out of the NCAA in quite some time. Comparison's have been made to the great Keith Jackson of the Philadelpia Eagles and coincidently he came out of Oklahoma as well. He will go in the 1st round late I am guessing just due to the fact that there is so much other talent. His career stats with the Sooners are: 111 Rec, 1,629 Yds, and 29 TD's.
2. Ed Dickson (Oregon)
Dickson is your prototypical TE in size...however, he is a bit faster than your protypical TE. He is an excellent receiver but at times has not been the best at blocking. We all know that Vernon Davis had his troubles with blocking when he first came in to the league but has since turned it around in to being the best blocking and receiving TE's in the league. In no way do I think he will be as good as VD but sometimes shows flashes of brilliance. He will be an interesting one to watch the development on in the NFL. He could go mid 2nd to mid 3rd round. Career stats are: 124 Rec, 1557 Yds, and 12 TD's
3. Aaron Hernandez (Florida)
6'2" 250 LBS, Hernandez was one of Tim Tebow's best friends this season. In just this season Hernandez managed to catch 59 passes and gained 739 yards with 4 TD's. Not bad for a TE eh? Hernandez is mostly considered to be a receiving TE in so many ways. His blocking is about on par with where a college TE's should be but may not be enough for the Pro's initially. It is definitely something that could be worked on. If he is successful, he has the potential to become one of the elite TE's in the NFL. It is difficult to predict where Hernandez may go in the draft, but I assume it will be 2nd or 3rd round. If he drops to the 4th, someone will be very pleased. He finished at Florida with 102 career receptions, 1,271 total receiving yards, and 11 TD's.
4. Anthony McCoy (USC)
McCoy is a defensive back abuser. Plain and simple... after he catches a pass, he turns in to the Terminator setting his sights on whatever defensive back he feels like tossing around. Mean would be an understatement in how McCoy plays his game. Always inviting contact, McCoy is by far the most "F"-ysical TE coming out in the draft this year. He has decent hands and can dig in to the trenches and get nasty like the big fella's. He also can be elusive when need be as well. He is 6'5" 250 LBS and his career stats are, 46 Rec, 731 Yds, and 3 TD's which over half came this year as a Senior.
5. Dedrick Epps (Miami)
Miami has produced some really good tight ends in years past. The likes of players such as Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow Jr. all got alot of praise coming out of Miami. Epps on the other hand is flying a bit below the radar comparitive to those mentioned. At 6'4" 253 LBS, this Senior has been a great outlet for young Quarterback Jacory Harris. I beleive that Epps will be a steal in the later rounds of the 2010 Draft. Career stats are: 49 Rec, 649 Yds, and 6 TD's.
TOP 5 NCAA OFFENSIVE TACKLES
Aside from the obvious #1 tackle on everyone's boards in Okung, there has been alot of debate in who the #2 OT is in the nation. But it is obvious who the top 5 are. It could be a good thing in that the competition is that close and I really do not see a "bust" in any of the guys mentioned below. This could be a real win-win situation for the Niners in the offseason. Even more debate has taken place on whether or not to persue the avenue of free agency in regards to the offensive line and draft some dynamic position players that will make plays both on offense as well as defense.
1. Russell Okung (Oklahoma State)
Okung is easily considered to be the top Offensive Tackle entering the NFL next year. His pass blocking is outstanding and his run blocking is even more impressive. We all wish that we could steal this guy somehow someway but I just cannot see it happening. Okung will be gone in the Top 5 picks for sure. 6'5" 301 LBS...Beast to say the least.
2. Brian Bulaga (Iowa)
A lot of the fans here at NN have been drooling over Bulaga. I on the other hand am not completely sold on him but I equally would not be dissapointed if we drafted him. It is one of those "meh" picks for me. Bulaga is still considered the best prospect for Tackle coming out of the Big 10. Dan Doering has provided quite a bit of assistance on that Offensive line to help in Bulaga's campaign and he too himself will be entering this years draft. The one thing we do know for sure is that Iowa will miss both of them. 6'6" 312 LBS.
3. Bruce Campbell (Maryland)
No, not the same guy from the movie Army of Darkness but maybe as ruthless in his mentality when inflicting pain on pass rushers. Campbell on some boards is the #2 pick for OT's. He is a workout maniac much like Davis was when at Maryland. Maybe it's something in the water... Steriods? All jokes aside, Campbell is strong, athletic, fast for a tackle with a 4.8 40-time... not bad for a monster like that. 6'6" 306 LBS.
4. Ciron Black (LSU)
Coming out of the SEC, Black will have a head start on some of the other Tackles entering the draft this year. The defensive lineman in the SEC tend to be most comparitive to what is already playing in the NFL. They are big, fast, and mean. This is going to be the steal of the year as far as offensive line is concerned. Steal meaning getting one of the best Tackles at a low slot in the 1st round, possibly high in the 2nd. 6'5" 323 LBS... the biggest Tackle out of the Top 5.
5. Trent Williams (Oklahoma)
Williams could have very well went in the 1st round of last years draft but decided to finish up school and go back for his Senior year which I think was the right decision for him considering his stock went up. He made the All-Big 12 team this year. At times he had his problems though and he is not the fastest LT in the world. Considering that I am a Sooner fan, I was a bit dissapointed to see Bradford go down, not once, but twice this season. One of the times was definitely Williams fault. While there is no perfect Offensive Lineman that provides 100% protection, I think that Williams will have alot of work to do to be an elite Tackle in the league. He could be average if he does not work hard. 6'5" 318 LBS.
Here now, smileyman will provide us with the free agent information for these two positions this week:
TOP FREE AGENT TIGHT ENDS NFL
Owen Daniels (Highlights)
Years in the League: 4th season
Stats: 40 receptions, 519 yards, 5 TDs
Salary. $2.79 million
Summary: Owens was an RFA last year. The Texans made made him an offer and wouldn't let him go. He thinks he's being underpaid (can't say as I blame him), and right after he signed the tender he skipped some of the Texan's mini-camps. He wants big money, but his injury is going to hurt his stock.
Tony Scheffler (Highlights)
Years in the league: 4th season
Stats: 27 receptions, 323 yards, 2 TDs
Summary: Last year Scheffler was a much more utilized part of the offense, with 40 receptions, 645 yards, and 3 TDs. He's also been reduced to a backup role with the signing of Daniel Graham. I expect that he'll want to go to a team that will use him in a starting role.
Bo Scaife (Highlights)
Years in the league: 5th season
Stats: 29 receptions, 287 yards, 0 TDS
Salary: $4.5 million
Summary: Tennesee's rough start has really hurt Scaife this year. Prior to VY starting Scaife had 12 receptions for 118 yards. He's been much more utilized since then. Tennesse franchised him last year, so they'll have to offer him a long-term contract or see him walk away. The back-up TE is also an unrestricted free agent, so they have some decisions to make. I expect that he'll stay in TN though.
Ben Watson (Highlights)
Years in the league: 6th season
Stats: 22 receptions, 321 yards, 4 TDs.
Salary: $760,000 base salary. Escalators that could take him up to $3.6 million
Summary: Watson is a solid TE, but not upper tier. His best year was in 2006 when he had 645 yards and 3 tds. Watson is a solid player who I expect will be resigned by the Patriots.
I would expect that Scheffler and Daniels will hit FA, with Scaife and Watson being resigned. The other FA tight ends are backups at best, though there is an Alex Smith playing tight end for the Patriots. I think it would be kind of amusing to have two Alex Smith's on the same team.
Since lineman don't record stats, I'll be using Football Outsiders rankings to provide information on them.
TOP FREE AGENT OFFENSIVE LINEMAN NFL
Years in the League: 4th season
Stats: San Diego's run blocking is ranked 24th in the league. However their runs off left tackle move them up a full 8 spots--showcasing how good McNeil is. He's had 1 holding penalty for 5 yards and has only allowed 4 sacks all year.
Summary: McNeil is still playing on his rookie contract and is being severely underpaid. Easily the top tackle available in FA he'll command a large contract. Making 2 Pro Bowls in 3 seasons is very impressive. He should have a long career ahead of him. If San Diego wants to franchise him they'll have to pay somewhere between $8.5 and $9 million to keep him.
Years in the League: 3rd season
Salary: $460,000 base salary
Stats: The Baltimore Ravens have the 4th best run ALY in the league. With Oher on the right side and Gaither on the left side they appear to be set for some time. Gaither has had 6 penalties called on him this year, 2 false starts and 4 holding for a total of 22 yards. He's only allowed 3 sacks.
Summary: I'll be surprised if Baltimore doesn't come to a long-term contract with Gaither. Even if they don't they can just franchise him and get some hefty compensation if someone goes after him. I expect he'll stay there
Years in the League: 10th season
Salary: $4.3 million
Stats: The good news is that GB is ranked 4th in the run according to FO. The bad news is that runs off LT are ranked at a measly 22 in the league. Clifton plays LT and has battled through an ankle injury this year that's left him not looking so hot. He's missed a couple of games this year and rookie T.J. Lang has started for him. Five penalties for Clifton this season. 4 false starts, 1 holding for a total of 40 yards. He's only allowed 3.25 sacks this year (don't ask me how he gets blamed for 1/4 a sack).
Summary: I don't see much value in Clifton for us. Basically he seems like a poor man's Barry Sims. There is enough tackle problems in the league that someone will probably pick him up if Green Bay doesn't resign him, but probably not for $4.3 million a year.
Years in the league: 9th season
Salary: $5 million
Stats: FO has AZ ranked 10th in run and 9th in pass protection--both of those are significantly better than what we do. When you look at the left side the numbers stay the same, indicating that Gandy is a solid option at LT. Gandy has had 7 penalties this year, 2 false starts, 5 holding penalties for a total of 80 yards. He's also allowed 6 sacks.
Summary: Gandy has been very reliable for Arizona, starting in every game since 2004 except Sunday's against the Vikings. He was held out of that game due to a pelvis injury. I would love to sign him, put him at LT, Sims as backup and move Staley to RT. At $5 million per year that's a reasonable price.
Years in the league: 4th season
Salary: $1.5 million
Stats: Atlanta is ranked 11th in run, 9th in pass. They're only ranked 18th in runs off RT, but the only run that way 10% of the time. Only 2 penalties on Clabo this year, both holding, and only 3 sacks allowed.
Summary: Clabo is a solid tackle who worked himself into a starting job last year after spending a year in NFL Europe. The only question I have is if his success is due to talent or O-line coaching. The Falcon's offensive line coach has prepared lines that have given Steven Jackson and Fred Taylor career years. Atlanta signed Clabo to a one year deal at the end of last year. My guess is they didn't want to throw much money at him until they were sure what they had. I bet they resign him.
The Offensive Tackle market is also kind of slim. There are a few big names (Gaither, McNeill), but a team will have to pay heavily to get them. There are some solid prospects available, but no real "stars". Personally I'd love for us to grab Gandy, put him and Sims in at LT, and move Staley over to RT. We could get Gandy for a decent price, plus stealing him from Arizona would be even sweeter
Here is the most current pecking order for those that would like to attempt the mock drafts. Smileyman and myself will be doing our official mock drafts toward the very end of the season. Feel free to refference the first post I did with The Top 25 Players per Position.
Bare in mind that this was done early on and players have moved up and down in the order there.
Here is the order:
1. CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-11) [HELD]
2. TAMPA BAY BUCS (1-11) [HELD]
3. ST. LOUIS RAMS (1-11) [HELD]
4. DETROIT LIONS (2-10) [HELD]
5. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-9) [HELD]
6. KANSAS CITY CHEIFS (3-9) [HELD]
7. OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-8) [HELD]
8. BUFFALO BILLS (4-8) [PREVIOUSLY 11TH]
9. S.F. 49ERS FROM CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-7) [PREVIOUSLY 8TH]
10. DENVER BRONCOS FROM CHICAGO BEARS (5-7) [PREVIOUSLY 9TH]
11. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-7) [PREVIOUSLY 10TH]
12. S.F. 49ERS (5-7) [PREVIOUSLY 14TH]
13. HOUSTON TEXANS (5-7) [PREVIOUSLY 15TH]
14. TENNESSEE TITANS (5-7) [PREVIOUSLY 16TH]
15. N.Y. JETS (6-6) [PREVIOUSLY 13TH]
16. MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-6) [PREVIOUSLY 12TH]
17. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-6) [PREVIOUSLY 19TH]
18. ATLANTA FALCONS (6-6) [PREVIOUSLY 20TH]
19. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-6) [PREVIOUSLY 21ST]
20. N.Y. GIANTS (7-5) [PREVIOSULY 18TH]
21. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (7-5) [PREVIOUSLY 17TH]
22. GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-5) [PREVIOUSLY 24TH]
23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-5) [PREVIOUSLY 26TH]
24. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-4) [PREVIOUSLY 23RD]
25. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FROM DENVER BRONCOS (8-4) [PREVIOUSLY 22ND]
26. DALLAS COWBOYS (8-4) [PREVIOUSLY 28TH]
27. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-4) [PREVIOUSLY 25TH]
28. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (9-3) [PREVIOUSLY 27TH]
29. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-3) [HELD]
30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-2) [HELD]
31. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-0) [HELD]
32. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-0) [HELD]
Side Note: Since these threads are filling up at lightning speed, I will keep this one around until it hits 300 or so like I said above. However, I will do this similar to how a gameday thread goes by just reposting the same one until smileyman and I can get the new Official Offseason NN Discusion Thread up.