Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag, Vol. 3

Mike Iupati is hungry, hungry for $$$. - Ezra Shaw

Welcome to #Channel 49 Twitter Mailbag. This is a weekly segment created by myself and Trevor Woods. Every Friday at 2 p.m. PST we answer questions sent in using the aforementioned hashtag. We hand-pick only the finest questions to create a weekly post.

Trevor Woods has been really irking me. Let me tell you. I put his questions first when I created the post in the first week and what does he do? He goes and puts his questions first when he does the second edition last week. I've never seen such an affront to common decency. Well, never again. I'm taking center stage here, folks. Obviously I'm teasing, but seeing as I'm waiting on his questions and responses, mine will come first for layout purposes.

It was a good chat session this past Friday. More and more people are participating. Many questions coming in concern the upcoming draft. I try to deflect those to Mr. Woods so I don't show my ignorance. Besides, he goes to university for the subject. There's a lot to discuss. Let's dive in.

Mr Malone Takes the Stand

I doubt we'll be able to keep both Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis. Both contracts end in the 2015 offseason and both players deserve to get paid. If I have to choose one over the other, I'd take Iupati. That's not a knock on Davis, but Iupati may turn out to be a player of the decade type at his position. That's pure speculation. Davis, while improving, doesn't have that same ceiling. Luckily the front office has two more years of evaluating to make that decision. Also, don't be surprised if both walk. Check this article out from the site. Aside from Davis and Iupati, Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Aldon Smith, Frank Gore, Chris Culliver and the best long snapper in the world, Brian Jennings, are all up for renewal.

In the modern, flat cap NFL, if you draft well, you have to see some of your players walk. That's all there is to it. We're starting to see the 'downside' of Trent Baalke's great work. Our coaching staff deserves much credit as well. Delanie Walker, for example, was a sixth round pick (not Baalke's). He was a non-factor for much of his early career, but under the current regime blossomed into one of the better No. 2 tight ends in the league and parlayed that into a rich contract from the Tennessee Titans this offseason. The 49ers should get a compensatory pick higher than his original draft slot, plus the seven years of solid play at an affordable price from Mr. Walker. Not bad. As long as Baalke and Harbaugh continue to work their magic, we'll be seeing a lot more of this.

Ah, a fun question. I think most 49ers fans think Colin Kaepernick will have more touchdown passes than Alex. I'm going to take the opposite view, just to rock the boat a bit. I think both quarterbacks finish in the 20-25 range for passing TDs. Kaepernick will score at least 10 on the ground, provided he stays upright for the duration of the year, but that's not part of the question. Kaepernick had 14 TDs in his 10 starts (that's including playoffs). He'll up that rate a bit, but unless Frank Gore dies of a heart attack, they're still going to employ the same power running game behind the best run-blocking line in the league. Add in Kaep's ability to score as a pedestrian and you limit his touchdown passes. Smith, on the other hand, may be asked to throw the ball more than in the past. I expect him to throw more interceptions. I actually think that they'll end up right around the same number, but I'm taking Alex 24-23, for controversy's sake.

Kaepernick is going to be worth a fortune. Another question came in asking if the 49ers would let him walk. You can't let a franchise quarterback walk in this league. It's just not wise. Sure, Indy did it with Peyton Manning, but the circumstances were obviously different. So, how much will he command? It's going to depend heavily on 2013. Quarterbacks frequently regress in their second year (I know he'll be in his third, but it's his second year of starting). It's hard for us all to envision, especially with Harbaugh at the helm, but it could happen. Or he could show little or no improvement. If he plays at the same level, he's going to make a lot of money. If he improves greatly, he'll become one of the richest players in the league. We really can't say until we see him next season. I'll take this opportunity to say I have absolutely no idea what the Cowboys are doing or thinking, but I like the idea of them being crippled by Tony Romo's contract for years to come.

A great question. Carlos Rogers has been the slot cornerback in recent times. Danny Amendola shredded him in the first Rams' game and Rogers overall play last season left much to be desired. There have been murmurs among the faithful that he should be cut, especially if it means the 49ers can sign Nnamdi Asomugha. Is there another potential slot cornerback on our roster? Chris Culliver is big and tough, Tarell Brown is quick, but do either have what it takes? What does it take to play slot corner in the league? Here's a good article from Pro Football Focus explaining the prototypes.

I really don't have the answer. Nnamdi is not a slot corner. Never has been. Neither of our two emerging, young CBs have experience at it. Ideally, Carlos Rogers plays like 2011 and not like 2012. Maybe the Mayan end of the world got to the man. If they're looking for an option in the draft, that player would come into the league with even less experience. That was the long answer. The short answer is...we may be in trouble at the slot.

Mr Woods' Rebuttal

There are certainly holes to fill, but these "holes" could lead to upgrades at the respective positions. Yes, there is enough talent in the draft to replace the players lost to free agency, without a drop-off in production. The 49ers lost two defensive linemen (Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois), safety Dashon Goldson, and tight end Delanie Walker. All three positions are deep in talent in this years draft, and we will have top ten rankings of these positions starting next week. Going the draft route to fill these holes is a smart decision by the front office, rookies are signed to relatively inexpensive contracts. Upgrades can be had at these positions, except Safety. A rookie safety could end up playing just as good as "The Hawk", but it would be foolish to say they would be an upgrade over Dashon Goldson. He was a joy to watch every Sunday.

Good question. I'm going to give you a Jim Harbaugh-esque answer. Every 49ers player and coach has something to prove next year. Your answer of Jenkins is a good one and the most obvious. A.J. Jenkins took initiative and started training for next season with Colin Kaepernick a week after the Super Bowl loss. I feel that bodes well for A.J.'s success next season. He is trying to build chemistry with his quarterback. It isn't all about A.J. though.

Colin Kaepernick has to prove he wasn't a one year wonder. Frank Gore has to prove he can fight father time and have another productive year. Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, and Kendall Hunter have to prove they can contribute to the team after all suffering season ending injuries. Michael Crabtree must build off of his success last season.

You get the idea, this whole team has something to prove individually, and as a team. They have to prove they are the best in the NFC, and the best in the NFL by hoisting a Lombardi Trophy. This is their mindset, and this is why I love the mentality Jim Harbaugh has instilled in the 49ers.

I do think the 49ers could have interest in some free agent options, or trade options at quarterback. Although, I do not see them going either route before the draft. I expect Trent Baalke to see how the draft unfolds. Either the 49ers land the quarterback they want in the draft, they opt to trade for one, or sign a free agent quarterback after the draft is over.

I feel it is important for the 49ers to find a mobile quarterback of the Colin Kaepernick mold to be Kaps backup. Look no further than Arizona product Matt Scott. Scott will be a third round selection, and I am all for the Niners using one of their thirds to fill the backup spot. Check out my scouting report on Matt Scott here. A quarterback being drafted is more likely than a veteran being signed, in my mind. I could be wrong.

They both could happen equally. Reason being, Safety Eric Reid and Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu have different draft grades. Reid will be selected anywhere from the late first round to the mid second, while Mathieu will be a third or fourth round choice.

Both players are from LSU, and both are legitimate options for the 49ers to consider in the draft. Eric Reid would provide solid coverage at safety, and at 6'1" 215 lbs, he is a big hitter. Mathieu is a sound tackler for a cornerback, a threat in the return game, and is a ball hawk. If the 49ers were to draft both, I would consider both selections good picks. Click here for Eric Reid's scouting report and click here for Tyrann Mathieu's scouting report.

Being a Sheep

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