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Golden Nuggets: Junkies, Flunkies & Analyses of Draftees

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A daily compilation of 49ers news from around the net. Monday, April 9th, 2017 edition.

Carolina Panthers v San Francisco 49ers

The offseason at Niners Nation has been, without a doubt, my favorite part of the season for many years, even when I’ve had basically no material for the morning Nuggets. The relaxed attitude tends to bring out the best in many folks, with threads often meandering into personal hobbies and updates, which helps form the bonds that have kept this community such an engaging & interesting one - despite the natural ebb and flow of membership and popular topics. Sunday’s open thread was one of those great instances where folks let their guards down, and off-topic conversation ruled the day without a shred of animosity. Like a crowd of addicts, awaiting that next big story, the committed readers of this community are given an opportunity to let their proverbial hair down, and enjoy the company of one another as the headlines are spaced further and further apart. It’s encouraging to see folks being excellent to one another, while it lasts - because we’ll inevitably be at the throats of one another soon enough.

Anyway, the links from Sunday were few, but coincidentally painted quite the picture of the recent past, present, and possible futures of this organization. Former Niners Nation writer Dylan DeSimone put together a comprehensive piece on Arden Key, a highly talented, yet inconsistent, edge rusher from LSU. By all accounts, he possesses the tools to find success in the NFL, but may turn off many 49er fans due to some serious questions regarding his commitment to the game. The red flags surrounding Key may trigger uncomfortable memories of former 49ers edge rusher, Aaron Lynch (who recently reunited with Chicago Bears DC Vic “Lord” Fangio, whom he played for as a rookie in 2014), another highly talented player who had somewhat similar questions regarding commitment and weight problems. However, others might be reminded of former 49er pass-rush specialist Aldon Smith, whose undeniable talent was wasted due to poor prioritization. Smith was arrested for the 9th or 10th time yesterday, depending on whether you consider legal detainment as an arrest.

Matt Barrows of Sac Bee put together an overview of possible inside linebacker fits for the 49ers, which, to me, further compounds the previous discussion. While it’s not unlikely that the front office would have done their due diligence on highly rated linebacker prospects in the 2018 draft, it stands to reason that a fire has been lit under them to look harder, due to the ongoing legal issues surrounding 2017 first round linebacker, Reuben Foster. While virtually all of us hope that Foster figures it out (whether from the viewpoint of a humanitarian or sports fan), the issue remains that the team has been burned, repeatedly, through the drafting of players with (or who have developed) behavioral issues, and has clearly set us back.

As we dig further into the draft prognostication season, it becomes harder and harder for me to look at future prospects without thinking about what could have been with past prospects. Aldon Smith is only 28, and would be squarely in his prime. Aaron Lynch has moved on to a one-year contract elsewhere. Reuben Foster is virtually guaranteed to miss several games of the upcoming season. Is it worth going through the headache and heartache of a project like Key? What level of optimism/pessimism should be involved in prognostication of the LB corps, especially considering Foster’s off-field issues? Bottom line, it’s extremely unfortunate that availability concerns, not due to injury, have become such a glaring piece of the puzzle.


Is Arden Key a fit for the 49ers? | DeSimone, 4th & 9

Inside linebacker fits for the 49ers | Barrows, Sac Bee

Aldon Smith arrested for third time in two months | ESPN Staff | Wilson, CBS Sports