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49ers mailbag: What are the chances Jalen Hurd is on the field Week 1?

Plus draft talk and potential trades

San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Happy draft week, everyone. Let’s not waste any time and get right into this week’s mailbag.

I wonder why there is so much talk about Niners using a mid- or high-round draft pick on a TE to help take the pressure off of Kittle when I think that Dwelley played well in very limited stints last season. Am I just a lot higher on Dwelley than everyone else? -Jake

My high school basketball coach had the perfect analogy for this situation. “We’re not taking you out; we’re putting him in.” Dwelley was fine, but the 49ers can improve on that. You should never let the bare minimum performance prevent you from upgrading at a position. It’s nothing that Dwelley did wrong. It’s more about what the likes of an Evan Engram or more athletic tight end can do that Dwelley can’t make plays after the catch and create on his own.

Jeudy, Lamb, Ruggs. Who makes the biggest impact on the 49ers roster, and explain how? -Splnk

Kyle Shanahan one described that he wants his wide receivers to be like a “starting five in basketball,” where each receiver complements each other. It’s a perfect analogy, and each of the three receivers listed all complement what is currently on the 49ers roster.

Ruggs has the most questions, so I’d say he would make the least impact. You’re not drafting a complementary receiver at 13. I’ve seen people cite how Ruggs can take the top off a defense, and that threat will open up things underneath for everyone else. In a sense, that’s true, but why wouldn’t you take the guy that can be a true No. 1 and use Travis Benjamin to keep defenses honest if that’s your plan?

Lamb and Jeudy are both awesome. There’s no way around that. In San Francisco, both would have significant impacts in different ways. Jeudy is more dependable on third downs, while Lamb is a player that you can trust down the field, near the goal line, and with the ball in his hands. There is no wrong answer here, and if the 49ers come away with one of these two, hashtag quest for six.

Will the 49ers trade Pettis or Breida during the draft, and what could they possibly get for them? -YP

His best game of the season came against the Rams, and 21 of those 45 yards came on a route where Pettis was wide open over the middle. League spies say that the team tried to move Pettis earlier in the offseason, but the other team wasn’t willing to part ways. At this point, Pettis will be on the roster next year. Hopefully, he can contribute.

Breida has more of a market, and that’s reflected by the 49ers placing a second-round tender on Breida, who will have potential suitors this weekend during the draft. I wouldn’t get your hopes up if you’re expecting anything higher than a fifth-round pick, though. Running backs usually have a soft market, even with the big-play ability Breida possesses.

What are the chances Jalen Hurd is on the field game 1? -Nick

This is a great question that can only be answered with pure speculation. Not having any offseason team activities doesn’t help, but perhaps rest is what’s best for Hurd. Ideally, Hurd makes a full recovery and is brought along slowly while he’s able to continue to get mental reps and learn the playbook. The answer also depends on Hurd having any setbacks. If healthy, we can expect to see Hurd lined up all over the field.

OJ Howard is reportedly on the trading block. SF has been trying to sign a 2nd TE. Do you see SF trading for OJ Howard? -Irfanzo

The 25-year-old tight end has yet to put together a season of more than 570 yards receiving. How much of that is on him, and the offense is what teams will have to figure out. That, and if Howard is better than any tight end in this class. Howard would be a welcomed addition, but he’ll likely cost a second or third-round selection. As he enters the final season of his rookie contract, that would be a hard pass for me, knowing I’d have to pay Howard and give up a Day 2 pick. The point of trading down from No. 31 was to add assets that are cheap.

Would we be interested in Marquis Lee? What would be a feasible way to get him financially. Would be great over the middle, big body at WR. California guy. -Chuck

There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. The last time Lee was productive in the NFL was 2017. He missed all of ‘18 and had three targets in 2019. I wouldn’t trade for Marquise Goodwin, let alone Lee. Too many injury concerns and those have been consistent throughout his career. Lee also has two seasons left on a contract where his cap number would be $8.2 million in 2020. No thanks to Lee. Not with this draft class.

What’s your take on getting Kinlaw at 13 - JT

The goal in the draft is to add good football players. Javon Kinlaw is one of the 13 best football players in this draft, so I’d have zero issues taking him with the 13th pick. Right now, he’d be able to give the 49ers precisely what they need to replace DeForest Buckner and wouldn’t have to rely on other players “playing out of their mind” in order to replace DeFo’s production. It won’t be popular, but Kinlaw is a top talent and has the potential to be the next Chris Jones from the Chiefs. He’s that good.

Lots of talk about drafting an OT or promoting Brunskill. What about Shon Coleman? Was highly touted before the injury - Simon

The 49ers brought back Coleman to compete to be their swing tackle on a one-year deal with a base salary of $825,000. That tells you what the team thinks of Coleman, who has been a swing-tackle and a spot starter since he’s been in the league. Highly-touted is too rich. Coleman is a serviceable player you feel comfortable within the event your starter goes down, but he’s not a player you want to build around, which is why the Niners will likely draft a tackle.

What are the chances that Goodwin and Brieda are 49ers on Monday after the draft? - Rob

I’ll say Goodwin has a 77% chance. There are teams looking for veteran wide receivers, but Goodwin has to be willing to take a pay cut, and that alone may not be worth it for an opposing team. It’ll be difficult to move Marquise with his contract. In total, Goodwin is due $4.5 million. For a rotational deep threat, why would you trade for him?

I’ll give Breida a 22% chance, for the reasons listed above. I’d feel comfortable placing money on Breida being on a different team a week from today.