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Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag

Last Friday, Trevor Woods and I hosted our first Twitter Q&A session. The response was great, and an hour of fun followed. We're turning some of the questions and expanded responses into a post, providing another avenue to interact with the site.

Frank Gore, the heart and soul of the offense.
Frank Gore, the heart and soul of the offense.

Both Trevor and I are active on Twitter and frequently found ourselves interacting with the same people at the same time. We decided to host a weekly Twitter Q&A for fun and to try get a bit of conversation going with some followers. It worked out well. Fooch asked if we wanted to elaborate on some of the answers and turn it into a 'Mailbag' style post. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Trevor, holding the first pick in the draft, chose his questions and below are his responses.

Tavon Austin is going to be a good receiver in the NFL. But I don't see the 49ers making a play for him. The depth chart is deep at receiver after the acquisition of Anquan Boldin and with Mario Manningham restructuring his contract. With other needs, it wouldn't make sense for the 49ers to draft a receiver in the first round, let alone trade up for one. ESPN's Ron Jaworski said on air that he thinks Austin will be a top 15 selection.

The 49ers certainly have too many draft picks, but it's a good problem to have. I don't foresee any other trades for players on the horizon. I do think we will trade some picks, however. On draft day you're going to see a combination of the 49ers trading up if they want to snatch a player they like, or trading down for picks in the future if they aren't liking any of the players when they are on the board. The entire draft is shaping up to be must see television for 49ers fans. At any moment there could be a trade, so keep your popcorn ready and watch the drama unfold so you don't miss a pick.

Now would be a good year to draft Frank's successor. Look no further than South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore was a heck of a back for the Gamecocks, but he's had a couple of injuries (torn acl, knee injury). When Lattimore is healthy, which he will be again, he's a dangerous running back. Lattimore would be a third round selection for the 49ers, and I'd be quite happy with the pick. Frank Gore has even reached out to Lattimore, encouraging him through his rehabilitation. Gore tore his ACL in both legs when he was in college. The fact they already know each other bodes well for a smooth transition from Gore to Lattimore someday. Don't be surprised at all if the 49ers take this guy.

This has been talked about because Culliver has played safety before. I would say there is no chance that the 49ers consider Culliver a safety. He's an up and coming corner in the league who has good speed and has shown flashes of big time ability. Hey may have had a bad game in the biggest game of his career (Super Bowl), but he was solid most of the season. He should, and will, stay at corner. As far as Rogers, he isn't physical enough to be a free safety. The drop off in the physicality department from Goldson to Carlos would be as steep as the Grand Canyon.

There are some. But only one I feel fits the "Cowboy" mold of Justin Smith, and that is SMU's Margus Hunt. I have Hunt going to the 49ers pick 31 in our latest mock draft. He's 6'8" 277 lbs of rompin', stompin' dynamite. Hunt ran a 4.62 forty at the combine and had 38 reps of 225 lbs. Sounds a bit like Goliath doesn't he? The knock on him is he is a bit "raw", and he's 25. Well, the 49ers have the best defensive lines coach in football, Jim Tomsula. They also have Justin Smith, who is a leader who makes it his responsibility to help other players. San Francisco is a destination in which Hunt could thrive, and become a Pro Bowl player.

Finally, after waiting patiently through all of that, I had my time to shine. Woods' knowledge is deep and infinite, and, thus, a hard act to follow. I try my best.

Just because the Eagles are on the hook for a decent amount of cash, does not mean Nnamdi Asomugha is not going to command as high a wage as possible. That being said, his reputation could not be more tarnished and he stands as one of the biggest free agent busts of all-time. With this in mind, it's going to depend on Nnamdi. Any GM giving him a long-term contract would be instantly labelled a lunatic. He'll be playing on a short deal, with an eye toward proving he can still play. If he wants to stop looking horrible, there's no better landing spot for him than the 49ers. Playing with six Pro-Bowlers makes anyone look instantly better. How much will he make? Impossible to gauge.

I had to do some research to answer this question and was still unable to do it justice. It's difficult to get exact salary cap numbers, but looking at a few sites, it appears that defense outearns offense by a small margin. One site had it at $56 million to $54.5 million. This is with Alex Smith's 2012 contract included, so it's safe to say the defense will gain some ground in '13. As for the second part of the question, I'm having all kinds of issues finding historical 49ers salary information. The 2012 Ravens spent $57.5 million on defense and $45 million on offense. A large chunk of that is on the bloated early years of the Haloti Ngata contract. Now Joe Flacco's contract and Ed Reed's departure should even it out a bit. That's the long answer. The short answer is, it really depends on the team.

Our front office has shown the ability to think rationally and without letting emotion get in the way. Cap cuts are a part of the landscape of the NFL. If there's one person on the 49ers who I would deem untouchable, it's Frank Gore. He is the heart and soul of the offense and showed last season he could still carry the load, to the tune of 1,214 yards and 8 touchdowns. Factor in his postseason, games of 119, 90, and 110 yards and 4 touchdowns over the 3 contests, and there's every indication he still has 'it'. So, no, I doubt the 49ers would touch his contract at this point. However, the first season that his production slows down, we could see a reworking, or worse. There is no loyalty in this league.

Short questions require short answers. NO. While we finished in the middle of the pack in the sack race, it was obvious at the end of the season and in the postseason that we lacked pressure on the quarterback. It has come out in the last few days that Aldon Smith suffered a torn labrum down the stretch. This explains a lot, as it was clear to us all that he was not the same pass rusher toward the end of the season. Aldon will, once again, be expected to be our primary source of pressure, but, as 2012 showed, we're one, or two, injuries away from having zero pass rush. Glenn Dorsey was brought in on the line, but he is a run stopper, having 4 career sacks. I'd love to add more pass rushers to our front seven's rotation, allow the starters more snaps off, and keep the guys fresher for the home stretch. The New York Giants in their recent championship years had a great model.

Where the Honey Badger, aka Tyrann Mathieu, will go in the draft is one of the biggest mysteries heading in. So many people are in love with his skill set and, following his recent comments that he'd love for the 49ers to draft him, a lot of 49ers fans are wanting the 49ers to use one of their mid to late picks on him. He's small, at 5'9", and has had character issues in the past, but his playmaking skills at both cornerback and kick returner are an exciting proposal. I don't think he fits into our plans at DB, but if the team thinks he can help out in the return game, and don't have faith in the current people enlisted to do the job, we may nab him. Some people say he'll go as high as the third round. Others see him lasting until the end. Along with Star Lotulelei and his accompanying heart issue, Mathieu's slotting in the draft will garner the most debate. As for the second part of the question, the Anquan Boldin acquisition makes me think we're not drafting a WR early (see Trevor's response to the Tavon Austin question).

That's it. Thanks to all those who participated. We'll be doing it every Friday, 2pm Pacific Standard Time. Submit your questions with #channel49 attached. Even if you can't participate in the session, we'll try to answer all questions and include your tweet in the weekly post.

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