Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Mailbag Vol. 12: 49ers cornerbacks, Kaepernick rushing prediction, and more.

Alex Trautwig

Will Nnamdi be productive this year? Will Kaep rush for over 700 yards? Will three NFC West teams make the playoffs? Aaron Malone and I have that and more for you in this edition of the mailbag.

It may be getting close to the dog days of summer, but Aaron Malone and I are still chugging away on Twitter! Catch us every Friday at 2 p.m. PT for our #Channe49 Twitter Q&A. Great conversations end up happening, and Tre usually drops in on the chat session with some hilarious insight. See you next time?

Malone's Answers:

We assume the 49ers and Seahawks are both making the playoffs out of the NFC West. The Rams are a trendy pick as a team to watch. They played well against the 49ers and Seahawks last year, going 2-1-1. Former No. 1 overall Sam Bradford played fairly well last season despite having limited weapons in the passing game. The Rams also had a good draft, trading up to get speedy playmaker Tavon Austin.

There's one big problem, though, and that's the rest of the NFC. A list of teams who finished with 7 wins or more last year (same total as the Rams) looks pretty formidable. Green Bay, Atlanta, San Francisco and Seattle are favored to return to the playoffs. Someone wins the NFC East out of Washington, New York and Dallas, with the other two teams fighting for the last wild card spot with Carolina, New Orleans, Tampa, Minnesota, Chicago and the Rams. Most years there is a surprise team. Are the Rams better than last years No. 6 seed MIN? Maybe. Are they better than the other 7 they'll be fighting it out with?

I'm going to treat this as a Nnamdi Asomugha question because there were a lot of those. I think Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver and Tarell Brown are certainties (as certain as things get in this league). The team has brought Tramaine Brock, a restricted free agent, back for $1.3 million, which leads you to assume he's in the plans this year. It is possible that Brock doesn't make the team or that one of the 3 rookies in camp surprise us or that we keep 6 cornerbacks (we kept 5 last year), but it would appear that Perrish Cox and Nnamdi are battling for the final spot.

One thing going against Nnamdi is that he doesn't play special teams. Usually your No. 4 or 5 cornerback will also play the ST squad. If Nnamdi fails to impress or fails to lock down the No. 3 or 4 spot, we could see him cut for someone more versatile. He could just as well be our No. 1 CB, as the depth chart is a bit murky at this point. This is exactly what camp is for and why Coach Harbaugh loves competition.

There were a few questions asking about certain players and buzzes at the OTAs. It's hard to determine what it all really means at this point. One thing I've noticed in doing the Golden Nuggets over the last year is that during the offseason, the access to the players and the information leaked by the team is extremely measured and controlled. They set Player X up with a media session when they fell inclined, all the beat writers grab a few quotes and we get a handful of stories about how they've added 2 pounds and what skill they're working on.

It's at that moment that we see the 'buzz'. That's me being cynical. Sometimes we see a player stand out and it does get noted, like Anquan Boldin on the first day. One area that these OTAs actually give us insight is with injuries and their recoveries (if they happened last season). People notice when someone doesn't appear 100%. But we already know who's expected to be ready for camp and who isn't. As for insights into a positional battle, Coach isn't telling us a thing until the 53-man roster is released.

Michael Crabtree's injury and his replacement are still hot topics of conversation around the 49ers faithful and will continue to be until the depth chart is revealed to us. While his injury does clear up a roster spot, that spot will be for our No. 5 receiver. Last years No. 5, A.J. Jenkins, had zero catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns. We should see a larger increase in production from the guys who's roster spots were already a certainty than from the guy who gets to keep Crabs' locker warm for the next 6 months.

Answering your question, I think Anquan Boldin, and his similar skill set to Crabtree, will become Colin Kaepernick's security blanket. We need someone to make up Crabs' third down production and Boldin is that guy. If the ball is thrown his way, he gets it. He should lead the team in receptions this year. I do think Vernon Davis leads the team in yards and would love for him to break 1,000.

Woods' Answers:

Under. With Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers have a quarterback who can scramble and run the read option, but I think he rushes north of 600 yards at the most. Sure, Kaep will get some good chunks of yards out of the read option, but he's still a pass-first quarterback believe it or not. When Kaepernick is back to pass, his first intent is to pass and go through his reads, not to tuck and run with the ball. With Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, and Lamicahel James, the 49ers don't need Kap to run for an insane amount for a quarterback.

I'm a believer that Nnamdi still has some good ball left to be played, and still has gas left in the tank. He was a bad scheme fit for the Philadelphia Eagles, and will have an opportunity to thrive in the 49ers predominantly man-press pass coverage. Don't be surprised is Asomugha is a major contributor to the 49ers this season, I expect a productive season out of him.

Charles Woodson chose to go to Oakland instead of Denver (why would anyone do that?), and I don't expect him to do much of anything this year. Woodson is a Hall of Fame player, but I was glad that the 49ers didn't sign him. His play really slipped last season, and it isn't a case of an "off year". He's lost the ability to play at a high level. You can plug him in at different positions, but he won't do anything above average. Woodson's instincts are still there of course, but his body isn't aging as well as his mind. His speed is gone, the hard hitting ability is gone, it's not the Charles Woodson of old, it's old Charles Woodson.

I believe Okoye does make the team. He's impressed thus far in camp, and I expect that to continue, and for Okoye to get better. He looks every bit the part of a football player, and is one of the toughest players on the team as far as physical prowess goes, and that's saying something on a team like this. If the 49ers attempted to place Okoye on the practice squad, another team would claim him and put Okoye on their roster, I don't think he stays a Niner if waived for to the practice squad. The 49ers, if they feel Okoye has potential, would be wise to give him a "redshirt" year and keep him on the roster, being one of the inactive players every week.

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