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Golden Nuggets: Defense Wins Championships

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A daily compilation of 49ers news from around the net. Monday, January 15th, 2018 edition.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The divisional round of the playoffs wrapped up on Sunday, and it sure was a weekend of must-watch football, obviously minus the Patriots routing the Titans. Between the late game Keenum-to-Diggs miracle go-ahead score as time expired and Pittsburgh’s failed rally against the Jacksonville Jaguars, this may have been as exciting a playoff weekend as many of us have seen in quite some time, especially with our team long since disqualified.

All four teams in the conference championship games this year boast a top-5 scoring defense, which seems to be the common theme. Besides the ageless Tom Brady, the other starting quarterbacks are a group of journeymen or borderline-busts, featuring Blake Bortles (who many have derided as “not the answer” or “good as gone”), as well as Nick Foles and Case Keenum, who battled it out in the ultimate exhibition of mediocre quarterbacking for the 2015 Rams. Both were recent additions to the second team of their young careers.

In 49ers-related news, the big story of the weekend was Reuben Foster’s arrest, which seems to display the character concerns that dropped him significantly in the draft. Sunday brought confirmation that if Foster is found to have violated the NFL drug abuse policy, he will lose the guarantees on the rest of his rookie contract. While it seems like he won’t be facing league-mandated suspension or be sent packing, the loss of that kind of financial security is something to take notice of for the young man. Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call, that he may avoid similar situations in the future.

Otherwise, the 49ers second round draft pick (acquired in a 2017 trade with the New Orleans Saints) is now set in stone with the horrendously amusing Vikings victory. The 49ers will be picking #59 overall in the second round, which obviously isn’t as good as #41/42, but still a valuable selection. Lastly, PFF released their year-end grades for the 49ers, and the 5 best 49ers are a varied, if not largely predictable group. Our top two 49ers were embattled rookie Reuben Foster, slightly edging out defensive star DeForest Buckner. Joe Staley, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jaquiski Tartt rounded out the top five. The numbers on Tartt suggest that there may be some serious decision making to do by the 49ers Front Office this offseason, regarding the futures of guys like Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward.

On to the good stuff-

49ers second round pick cemented with Saints loss | Barrows, Sac Bee

PFF’s 5 highest ranked 49ers | Biderman, Ninerswire

Reuben Foster’s contract complications from arrest | Biderman, Ninerswire | Branch, SF Gate