#Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag: Gore and Lattimore, Boldin, Whitner, free agency, draft, and more.

Jason O. Watson

Every week on Twitter at 2 P.M. PT, Aaron Malone and I answer all things 49ers using the hashtag #Channel49. In the last edition of the season Bay Area Sports Guy joined us for the fun. We talked about the Senior Bowl, draft, free agency, and all other things 49ers related.

On our last #Channel49 of the season, Bay Area Sports Guy joined us for an hour of fun on Twitter. Most fans were upbeat and looking ahead to the future. It was a good time. We will be taking a short break from #Channel49 until the combine.

Frank Gore had over 1,000 yards this season, and showed he can still be a productive running back in this league. Ability may not play part in Gore not getting to a thousand next year, the emergence of Marcus Lattimore will. Expect Frank Gore to get the treatment former Jacksonville Jaguars great Fred Taylor did towards the end of his career. The Jags drafted Maurice Jones-Drew and eased him into the fold. The one-two punch of Taylor and Jones-Drew helped Taylor extend his career and stay fresh throughout the grueling NFL season. Gore is a prideful player who wants to carry the ball, but he's also a team player as well, and will do whatever is asked to help the team win.

It would not surprise me if Frank cracks 1,000 again, but it will be tough if Lattimore gets a good chunk of carries. And if Lattimore plays up to his potential, look for him to become a contributor from day one next season. This is a good problem to have. Gore is getting older, but to have a young running back on the team to feed off of will only be a good thing. Competition is good, and these two already have a good relationship. When Lattimore suffered his devastating injuries in college, Frank called him, gave him advice, and words of encouragement. It's awesome they have had a relationship before they were even teammates, it shows the mutual respect they have for each other. Frank will help Lattimore succeed and root for him when he does well.

The franchise tag number for the safety position last year was 6.9 milllion. This years number hasn't been announced yet, but it would be safe to assume it goes up slightly. If that's the case, there isn't much difference between the tag number and what Donte would want yearly. 6.9 million may be too steep for the 49ers, when there are other needs, and key players that need to be retained next off-season. The best case scenario is Whitner takes a slight hometown discount and is locked up long term. I'd love to see him back, but we'll leave the number crunching to the experts.

As far as Jonathan Goodwin, he's done enough good things as a Niners to consider bringing him back. He did appear to wear down in games at times this season, and he is thirty five years old. I could see the 49ers going younger at the position, via draft, or giving Joe Looney or Daniel Kilgore a crack at getting the job as starting center.

Don't worry, some of these draft picks will be traded. Some will be used to move up, some will be used to move down. One thing I'll bet on, after the draft the 49ers won't have as many players drafted as they had picks going in to the draft. I fully expect the 49ers to move up at some point in the early rounds to get a player they feel they absolutely must have. I also expect some trades down, for higher picks in future years. Trent Baalke has a plan for continued success in the draft, and continued mass amounts of picks each year. The fact the 49ers have a large amount of picks is a good thing. Many options and outcomes.

The draft strategy doesn't change much, even if Boldin is re-signed. Short term, Anquan will still be great, but his longevity remains to be seen. Combine that with it being uncertain if Michael Crabtree will be retained after the 2014 season, drafting a wide receiver early in the draft is a must. Cornerback is also a pressing need, expect either one of those positions to be drafted first.

When it comes to James, Hunter, and Dixon.. one of them will be the odd man out with Marcus Lattimore joining the active roster. Don't ccount Boobie out, every year he proves everyone wrong and makes the team. Hunter has made some big plays for the 49ers, and has been a good change of pace back, while LaMichael James hasn't had much of a role other than a return man. James may be the odd man out, if I had to guess. And if he is the odd man out, that means the 49ers will have to draft or sign a return specialist.

They should go up. Kaepernick was without Michael Crabtree for most of the season, as well as Quinton Patton. If Boldin is re-signed, and a rookie receiver is drafted that produces, his passing output could look a lot better on paper. This wasn't a bad season for Kaepernick throwing the football by any means, but more options means more problems for opposing defenses, and that leads to good stats. This will always be a balanced offensive attack that will have a run first philosophy. But if Kaepernick gets even more weapons to work with, the 49ers will pass more than 48% of the time. This is a good draft at the wide receiver position, many good options in the first three rounds. We will have scouting reports on all of these prospects throughout the off-season.

I don't know if that's a good idea.

We thank you all as well. It's been a lot of fun and has been a great way with fans to talk to each other and find their way onto NinersNation.com. We will be back for the combine and will be with you through the off-season leading up to the draft. If you haven't hopped on Twitter for #Channel49 yet, we hope to see you do so in the future. Talk to you all again soon. It was a great year!

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