A couple days ago, Ryan Van Bibber ranked the 32 NFL teams at the cornerback position. Yesterday, he moved further back in the secondary and took a look at the safety position. He ranked the 49ers seventh in the league at safety, shortly after ranking the 49ers sixth at cornerback. At safety, RVB placed the 49ers behind the Steelers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Bills, Chiefs and Ravens.
There are plenty of question marks in terms of the 49ers overall safety depth, but they pack some punch with their two starters. Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner are both big hitters, with Whitner being a significant key to the rush defense. Whitner's ability on the back-end of the rush defense was one of the keys to prevent an excess of long runs by opposing running backs. The 49ers rush defense was one of the best in NFL history, and Whitner was essential to that.
In the case Goldson, his big hitting ability can be incredibly important, but also can sometimes be a problem. Goldson is a playmaker at safety, but his over-aggression can sometimes cost the 49ers.
A good example was his overplay on the touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham in January. It is not exactly certain whether he's going for the interception or the big hit on the play. It looks like potentially first he wants the interception, but when he realizes Graham is going to catch it, he sort of adjusts but can't make the tackle. So, never mind on that. As pointed out in the comments, that was Whitner, not Goldson missing the tackle. Apologies for the confusion.
Whatever the case, as I view the games, it seems like there is a certain discipline that sometimes seems to be lacking. Given that I haven't had game tape to watch and don't know the playbook and a more detailed look at Goldson's role, feel free to ignore my opinion on this. It is based on simply watching the games and my gut instinct on it. Hopefully with the release of all-22 film, I'll be able to do a better job understanding Goldson's role in the defense. I would argue all-22 will be as much a benefit in assessing Goldson as almost any player on the team.
The 49ers are still working with Dashon Goldson to get him into camp on time, with the deadline for a long-term deal approximately eleven days away. There has been very little discussion about the state of negotiations. Normally we'd see some speculation, but it has been rather quiet. Goldson has reportedly been looking for Eric Weddle type money ($8M per year), while the 49ers reportedly are offering a million per year less, with the Michael Griffin contract potentially being a baseline for them.
That is the extent of the speculation since we don't seem to know if the 49ers are even willing to go as many years as Goldson might want. I wouldn't be surprised if the issue was years over dollars, but that's pure speculation. As the 49ers pursue their various roster needs, imagine the value of being a fly on Trent Baalke or Paraag Marathe's wall during some of these discussions?