What Could've Been: How the 49ers Castaways Fared in 2013

Streeter Lecka

There is turnover in the NFL every year. Each team loses players they would have liked to keep and sees some players they've rejected go on to play well for other teams. This article takes a look at all of those castaways and gives you an idea of What Could've Been.

Hindsight is 20/20.

Each year, every fanbase faces the big "What Ifs?". What would have happened if we'd have kept Player X? Would things have been different had Player Z been around? Before the season there was plenty of debate raging about the merits of keeping Dashon Goldson over the recently drafted Eric Reid. How would the passing game be affected by the loss of Delanie Walker? How will the defensive front be with the loss of two key cogs in Ricky Jean Francois and Isaac Sopoaga and did we do enough to replace them? And, the question nobody even thought to ask at the time, should the 49ers make room for Marcus Cooper? Now with the benefit of hindsight, we take a look at the production of some of these fish that got away as well as how the Niners who currently hold their roster spots fared.

Quarterback

We begin with the most important position on the field. Colin Kaepernick is the only quarterback to survive Trent Baalke's purge at the position. The list of who we could have had includes our former favorite son, Alex Smith. Kaepernick and Smith's names will be forever intertwined and the ultimate 'what if' until one of them wins a Super Bowl. Luckily, the two will have the chance to stake their claim at greatness in the NFL playoffs this winter.

Of note: Both Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien started games from Green Bay to little effect. Site favorite B.J. Daniels is buried on the Seahawks' practice squad. Alex Smith's QBR according to ESPN is 49.4, or perfectly average. He's ranked 22nd in the league, behind such luminaries as Matt McGloin, Christian Ponder, Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Kaepernick's ranked 7th, fractions behind Nick Foles and Aaron Rodgers.

Player TEAM G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD ESPN QBR
Kaepernick, Colin SF 16 16 243 416 58.4 3,197 7.7 21 8 91.6 92 524 5.7 4 68.6
McCoy, Colt SF 4 0 1 1 100 13 13 0 0 118.8 6 -6 -1 0 95
Smith, Alex KC 15 15 308 508 60.6 3,313 6.5 23 7 89.1 76 431 5.7 1 49.4
Tolzien, Scott GB 3 2 55 90 61.1 717 8 1 5 66.8 5 55 11 1 24.3
Wallace, Seneca GB 2 1 16 24 66.7 139 5.8 0 1 64.4 -- -- -- -- 15.2

Running Back
There was no turnover at running back this year. Stalwart Frank Gore led the charge, with Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon and LaMichael James providing primary backup services. Next year should see some changes, with Marcus Lattimore, aka The Future, scheduled to return from the devastating knee injury he suffered in college. Who will get the axe? Stay tuned. It should also be noted that the draft choice the 49ers traded for Anquan Boldin finally ended up in Detroit's hands and was used to select Theo Riddick. Riddick had 9 rushes for 25 yards and a score, as well as 4 receptions for 26 yards. Oh, what could've been!

Wide Receiver
Our glaring weakness all season long has been at receiver. All four of the teams regular season losses could have been averted with some average receiver play. Alas, that was hard to come by for most of 2013 for the 49ers. Luckily, we have a healthy Michael Crabtree and the passing attack has never looked better. During the lean times, it was hard for the fanbase to not look for greener pastures in some of the teams castaways.

Of note: Ted Ginn Jr was the only 49er castaway to have some success. We very well could have used him during the lean early months of the season. A.J. Jenkins fared better than the man who he was traded for, Jon Baldwin. Not one of the 49ers' rejects, aside from Ginn, managed to get into the endzone. Kyle Williams suffered his second-consecutive season-ending ACL injury and was placed on IR after getting into one game for the Chiefs. His roster spot was filled by Chad Hall.

Player TEAM G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
Boldin, Anquan SF 16 16 85 1,179 13.9 63 7
Crabtree, Michael SF 5 5 19 284 14.9 60 1
Manningham, Mario SF 6 3 9 85 9.4 14 0
Patton, Quinton SF 6 0 3 34 11.3 29 0
Baldwin, Jon SF 7 1 3 28 9.3 15 0
Osgood, Kassim SF 14 0 1 17 17 17 0
Williams, Kyle SF 9 5 12 113 9.4 16 0
KC 1 0 -- -- -- -- --
Ginn, Ted CAR 16 2 36 556 15.4 47T 5
Jenkins, AJ KC 16 1 8 130 16.3 48 0
Collie, Austin NE 7 1 6 63 10.5 19 0
Lockette, Ricardo SEA 8 1 5 82 16.4 33 0
Hall, Chad KC 9 0 2 20 10 11 0
Moore, Marlon SF 6 0 1 6 6 6 0
MIA 8 0 6 56 9.3 13 0
Hawkins, Lavelle SD 4 0 -- -- -- -- --

Tight End
Delanie Walker was the one who got away, but it was always going to be difficult for the 49ers to match the offers he'd receive on the open market. You can hardly blame Walker for jumping ship. At age 29, it was his one chance to get a big payday. He was replaced by Vance McDonald on the roster. His production was replaced by Bruce Miller who received much of the H-Back duty.

Of note: I've included Bruce Miller's receiving stats at the bottom, though he's not listed as a TE. It should also be noted that MarQueis Gray had 6 rushes for 43 yards for the Browns.

Player TEAM G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
Davis, Vernon SF 15 15 52 850 16.3 64 13
McDonald, Vance SF 15 4 8 119 14.9 25 0
Celek, Garrett SF 12 1 2 38 19 30 0
Walker, Delanie TEN 15 11 60 571 9.5 33 6
Gray, MarQueis CLE 12 2 2 8 4 5 0
Miller, Bruce SF 14 13 25 243 9.7 43 0

Offensive Line
The offensive line, much like the running backs, is one of more stable positions and, thus, saw the least amount of turnover. Leonard Davis filled the roster spot on the 53, was not re-signed in the offseason, and was replaced by Adam Snyder. Snyder got the majority of the backup snaps while filling in for injured Mike Iupati. Davis has been unemployed in 2013. The only ex-49er to get picked up by another team was the Human Turnstile, Patrick Omameh. He looked awful during his time with the second team in preseason, allowing anyone and everyone to blow by him. In his defense, he was playing out of position. He was picked up by Tampa Bay and could be the reason they went 4-12.

Defensive Line

The defensive line saw two long-time contributors leave via free agency. Ricky Jean Francois and Isaac Sopoaga were offered more than the 49ers were willing to give them and left to the Colts and Eagles, respectively. The two were replaced by Glenn Dorsey and the promotions of Ian Williams and Tony Jerod-Eddie. It was expected that Tank Carradine would also figure in the rotation but that never materialized as he was surprisingly placed on IR midseason after signs pointed to a 2013 return. Williams went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2, Dorsey became the starter and Jerod-Eddie assumed a more prominent role.

Of note: Isaac Sopoaga was traded from Philly to New England to help shore up their depleted defensive line. Jean Francois was hampered by injuries, seeing the field in only 10 games. Jerod-Eddie had the only interception of any of the players listed…sneaky!

Player TEAM G GS Tackle Sck PDef FF
Smith, Justin SF 16 16 49 7 0 1
McDonald, Ray SF 14 14 37 3.5 1 0
Dorsey, Glenn SF 16 13 41 2 0 0
Jerod-Eddie, Tony SF 15 2 28 0 2 0
Dobbs, Demarcus SF 15 0 14 0 1 0
Williams, Ian SF 2 1 1 0 0 0
Dial, Quinton SF 3 0 1 0 0 0
Jean Francois, Ricky IND 10 10 19 2.5 2 0
Sopoaga, Isaac PHI 8 7 10 0 0 0
NE 6 2 2 1 1 0

Linebacker
Linebacker saw a lot of movement between 2012 and 2013. We returned the same starters, but there was a bit of shuffling amongst the reserve spots. Both Tavares Gooden and Larry Grant, last year's primary backups at ILB were allowed to walk. Gooden temporarily retired in the offseason. Both were picked up midseason before being let go after limited time. Nate Stupar played solidly for the 49ers in the preseason but was let go after five games. He moved to the Jaguars, where he finished out the year.

At OLB, Parys Haralson and Cam Johnson stood out during the preseason before being traded to the Saints and Colts for late draft picks. The moves were made to clear up a spot and playing time for rookie Corey Lemonier. Aldon Smith's admission to rehab had many fans questioning the decisions, though Lemonier and the surprisingly effective Dan Skuta filled in admirably in his absence. Haralson started 8 games for the Saints.

Player TEAM G GS Tackles Sck PDef Int Yds TDs FF
Bowman, Navorro SF 16 16 145 5 9 2 93 1 4
Willis, Patrick SF 14 14 104 3 1 -- -- -- 2
Brooks, Ahmad SF 16 16 60 8.5 7 1 22 0 1
Wilhoite, Michael SF 16 2 34 0 1 -- -- -- 0
Smith, Aldon SF 11 8 34 8.5 0 -- -- -- 0
Skuta, Dan SF 16 8 28 0 2 -- -- -- 0
Lemonier, Corey SF 16 0 15 1 3 -- -- -- 1
Moody, Nick SF 4 0 4 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Haralson, Parys NO 16 8 30 3.5 1 -- -- -- 0
Johnson, Cam IND 12 0 5 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Stupar, Nate SF 5 0 5 0 0 -- -- -- 0
JAX 7 0 5 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Grant, Larry CHI 2 0 1 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Gooden, Tavares HOU 1 0 1 0 0 -- -- -- 0

Cornerback

Both Perrish Cox and Nnamdi Asomugha were on the roster to begin the year, only to find themselves jettisoned halfway through the year. Nnamdi has since signed a one-day contract to retire as a Raider. Cox was picked up by, surprise, the Seahawks. They've released him and he's back on our roster with Carlos Rogers's health an issue for the playoffs. The one that got away here was Marcus Cooper, one of our 7th-round draft choices. He was waived at the final cutdown, only to be picked up by the Chiefs. He played well and was one of the surprises of the league until Peyton Manning torched him for 4 touchdowns. There was much hand-wringing about Cooper's release. Going on to cut both Nnamdi and Cox made the move that much more bizarre. Why stockpile 7th-rounders to fill out other teams rosters and practice squads? Oh, to trade for Anquan Boldin…I get it now.

Of note: Marcus Cooper's 20 pass deflections would lead 49ers cornerbacks and his three interceptions would be second behind only Tramaine Brock.

Player TEAM G GS Comb Sck PDef Int Yds TDs FF
Rogers, Carlos SF 16 16 47 0 8 2 14 0 0
Brock, Tramaine SF 16 7 37 0 15 5 82 1 0
Brown, Tarell SF 13 10 32 0 11 -- -- -- 0
Wright, Eric SF 7 0 7 0 2 1 0 0 0
Morris, Darryl SF 13 0 6 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Asomugha, Nnamdi SF 3 1 2 0 1 -- -- -- 0
Cox, Perrish SF 9 0 2 0 0 -- -- -- 0
SEA 2 0 3 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Cooper, Marcus KC 16 6 44 0 20 3 32 0 1

Safety
Safety was the position that caused the most consternation amongst 49ers faithful during the offseason. The decision to allow Dashon Goldson to walk was one that paid huge dividends for the 49ers. The drafting of Eric Reid was not well-received by everyone around the site. Some thought the 49ers reached by trading up to get him. Others thought any number of other safeties available in the draft would be a better option. Reid has been nothing short of a revelation, shoring up a passing defense prone to the big play. The money saved on the difference in their contracts is enormous and Goldson had an average year for a horrible team. It helps that Whitner played better against the pass and everyone stayed relatively healthy.

Of note: Michael Thomas made what would have been one of the most influential plays of the season after being signed to the Dolphins from our practice squad. In Week 15, after injuries pressed him into the game as a cornerback, Thomas deflected one throw into the endzone and intercepted the last pass of the game to seal a critical victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots. Miami would go on to be outscored by a score of 39-7 by the Bills and Jets to go down in flames. Thomas' two plays saved their season, if only temporarily.

Player TEAM G GS Tackles Sck PDef Int Yds TDs FF
Reid, Eric SF 16 16 77 0 11 4 54 0 0
Whitner, Donte SF 16 16 73 0 12 2 7 0 2
Spillman, CJ SF 16 0 25 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Dahl, Craig SF 16 0 13 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Ventrone, Bubba SF 16 0 11 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Goldson, Dashon TB 13 13 71 0 8 1 0 0 1
Robinson, Trenton WAS 11 0 10 0 2 -- -- -- 0
Thomas, Michael MIA 3 0 3 0 2 1 0 0 0

Special Teams
Special Teams was a nightmare for the 49ers last season. David Akers missed numerous key kicks, the coverage unit gave up many big plays and Brad Sealy's good name was in the dirt. What a difference a year makes. Phil Dawson set the franchise record for most consecutive field goals. David Akers had a better year in Detroit than he did last season for us, but Dawson was definitely an upgrade. All of the signings to shore up the coverage team did wonders. Bubba Ventrone and Kassim Osgood were stars. We miss no one from last years coverage units. Long-time long snapper Bryan Jennings was, sadly, a cap casualty. His replacement, Kevin McDermott, did fine.

Player TEAM Blk Lng FG Att FGM Pct XP Att XPM Pct Blk
Dawson, Phil SF 0 56 36 32 88.9 44 44 100 0
Akers, David DET 2 53 24 19 79.2 43 42 97.7 1

One area that did see struggles was the return game. Kyle Williams failed to do anything in the return game and, coupled with his failures as a No. 2 receiver, ultimately led to his release. LaMichael James did fine as his replacement, but there's been little explosion in the return game. It should be noted that Ted Ginn did not fumble the ball. That's the difference between him and LaMichael James.

Player TEAM KR Yds Avg Lng TD
James, LaMichael SF 12 321 26.8 41 0
Dixon, Anthony SF 5 101 20.2 47 0
Hunter, Kendall SF 4 81 20.3 30 0
Williams, Kyle SF 7 134 19.1 35 0
Ginn, Ted CAR 25 595 23.8 38 0

Player TEAM PR Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
James, LaMichael SF 23 251 10.9 40 0 2
Williams, Kyle SF 12 61 5.1 22 0 1
Ginn, Ted CAR 26 316 12.2 41 0 0

Last But Not Least...
Player TEAM ATT Yards Avg Long TD Rec Yards Avg Long TD
Sheets, Kory SSK 287 1,598 5.6 41 12 37 264 7.1 24 0

Conclusions

What do you think? Which one of these guys did we miss the most? You could easily argue that we improved all along the defense with the exception of Marcus Cooper. He would be a nice asset with a team-friendly contract at a position with much uncertainty going forward. As for the offense, the passing game could have used Delanie Walker and even Ted Ginn Jr could have made some welcomed contributions in Kyle Williams' place, specifically early on. And Alex Smith? Don't even think about it.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker