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Golden Nuggets: Rookies Stepping Right In

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Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 edition of the Golden Nuggets, a daily compilation of San Francisco 49ers links from the Internet

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com-USA TODAY Sports

The Niners' rookies have been a blessing for the team. Aaron Lynch and Chris Borland have been receiving praise for their football abilities and it is easy to see why. It could have been easy for this defense to struggle considering all the injuries and issues with star players. But Trent Baalke picked players that are just simply football players. With a great pass rusher like Aldon Smith out to start the season and Ahmad Brooks starting off slow, Aaron Lynch flashed ability to get to the passer. His strength and speed allows him to shed blockers and apply pressure. With Aldon back in the lineup, it will be good to see how it helps Lynch.

Chris Borland is the talk of the NFL right now. With 2 of the best linebackers in the league out due to injury, Borland has taken the position as his own. He fell in the draft due to his size and speed not being ideal for his position. But the biggest thing you see watching him play is that he is always around the ball. He's a sure tackler and very instinctual. He doesn't seem to be affected much by size. He sheds blockers relatively well and seems to be quick to a ball carrier. In just 4 starts, he may have put himself in Defensive Rookie of the Year conversations. He already ranks #2 in Pro Football Focus' inside linebacker ratings. He's making the absence of Willis and Bowman less impactful.

In addition to those 2 rookies, a few other rookies have been contributing to the team. Carlos Hyde has made it easier for Niner fans to see life after Frank Gore leaves. We still hope he doesn't leave for a little while, but with Hyde, we see the same tough, hard nose running that Gore gave us all these years. Dontae Johnson did not have an interception on Sunday, but it was his deflection that led to Borland's 2nd interception of the day at the goal line. He also made the pick six that sealed the Niners' MNF win over St. Louis. Jimmie Ward's injury may have cost him this season, but he was playing well as the nickel CB. In all, this Niners' draft class has been a good class. There's quite a few players that could contribute to the team for years to come.

49ers Links

Things To Know Before Week 12 (Pentis)

Moving Onward With Ahmad (Alper)

Yes! Welcome back Bowman. I hope you are able to play sometime this year | NaVorro To Practice (Florio)

Need to find some depth with all the injuries in this group | Team Working Out CBs (Barrows)

They need to find a solution. These games coming up are all must wins | 4th Quarter And Red Zone Offense (Williams)

Week 12 Power Rankings (ESPN)

Kap's Heart Warriors (Price)

What a pick in the draft. He jumps out when you watch him play | Borland: The Exceptional Expection (Maiocco)

Roman On The Offense (49ers Radio)

Practice Window Open For 4 (Maiocco)

Film Review (Gin)

Borland's 1st INT (49ers Video)

Everyone gets a pick | All 5 INTs (Price)

Sign CB To Practice Squad (Maiocco)

Harbaugh On DEA Inspection (Gutierrez)

21 Day Window For Bowman (Gutierrez)

Sad to see the picture. It's really going away | Candlestick Seats Piling Up (NBC Bay Area Staff)

They will continue to climb. Only thing stopping them is their offense | No. 10 (Gutierrez)

They keep chugging along. Comes down to coaching and having good football players ready to step up | Nothing Slows The Defense Down (Corkran)

Players Answer Pain Killing Questions (Kroichick)

Reid: Borland "Elusive" (49ers Video)

Wilhoite Speaks Bowman, Borland (49ers Video)

He is in the conversation. He is a tackling machine | Borland: DROY? (Barrows)

This team seems to rise up when there is controversy | This Coach And Team Can Handle Drama (Kawakami)

Anthony Davis Mic'd Up (49ers Video)

Keep Gore a Niner. It would be sickening to see him somewhere else | Gore At A Crossroads (Hanzus)

Locker Room Observations (49ers Staff)

It's unbelievable to me that Charles Haley is not in the Hall of Fame. He was a winner. Plain and simple | 4 Former Niners Up For Hall Of Fame (Gin)