The ESPN rankings where they polled NFL execs and coaches about players is always going to be subjective. Even in the case of Trent Williams, I wouldn’t say he was the best offensive tackle in the game last season.
Don’t get me wrong, Williams is an absolute stud, especially when you factor what he went through the previous year. But, these rankings are more name-driven than anything.
The 49ers drafted Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell in the sixth round with the 194th overall pick. He ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash on his pro day and rushed for 3,267 yards and 41 touchdowns during his four-year career with the Ragin’ Cajuns. While the team hopes to get healthy before the start of the season and remain healthy, injuries may lift the young running back up the depth chart, much like Davis.
The running back depth chart for the 49ers is one of the team’s strengths. It also drafted Ohio State running back Trey Sermon with the 88th overall pick. He suffered a shoulder injury during the first drive of the National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Other key injured running backs are: Starting running back Raheem Mostert, who is tending to a minor knee injury; Jeff Wilson, who is expected to miss four to six months with a knee injury of his own; and Jamycal Hasty, who broke his collarbone in a Week 10 loss against the New Orleans Saints last season.
Outside of the injuries, the biggest issue with Garoppolo is that there has been no improvement in his play during his time in San Francisco.
Losing most of two seasons and the lack of improvement has led the 49ers front office to look for a replacement. Despite publicly expressing their belief in Garoppolo, the 49ers flirted with the idea of trading for Matthew Stafford before losing out to the Los Angeles Rams, and made plays in free agency for Andy Dalton, Mitchell Trubisky, and Joe Flacco before ultimately deciding to utilize three first round draft picks and a third-round pick to acquire a new quarterback.
Going into Soldier Field the 49ers were 3-8 coming off consecutive losses to the Seahawks and Cardinals. It wasn’t even cold in Chicago that day. I would’ve gone to Chicago in hopes of needing to weather impossibly cold elements. It was 50 degrees that day with a light breeze. That’s downright pleasant.
I watched from home as Gabbert connected with Torrey Smith for a 71-yard touchdown on the 49ers’ first possession in overtime. That’s all I remember of the game I was hellbent on going to for half the season.
A quick look back through the box score helps illustrate how ridiculous the contest was.
Jimmie Ward had a pick-6, the only one of his career to tie the game at 6-6 in the first quarter. Phil Dawson missed the extra point.
Yet that’s where Juszczyk can get that improvement.
Juszczyk essentially fills a role as a No. 2 pass-catching tight end behind the All-Pro, George Kittle. Few NFL defenses are properly equipped to defend against two legitimate receiving tight ends, and there have been more than enough instances where Juszczyk has been left uncovered or has simply beaten his man in coverage.
The NFL has lost one of the most innovative assistant coaches of his time, with the Denver Broncos announcing Monday that longtime offensive line coach Alex Gibbs has died due to complications from a stroke. Gibbs, 80, had not coached in the NFL since 2013, but spent 27 seasons at the professional level, serving eight different teams after nearly two decades in college football. He’s perhaps best known as the man behind the Broncos’ innovative zone-blocking scheme, which helped propel Denver to two Super Bowl championships in the 1990s.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Alex Gibbs, who had a profound impact on the Denver Broncos and the National Football League as an offensive line coach,” the Broncos said in a statement. “During his 14 years with the Broncos, Coach Gibbs left a lasting legacy on this league with his innovative blocking schemes and outstanding teaching ability. He helped the Broncos to Super Bowls during three different decades — including back-to-back world championships — while forging a reputation as one of the greatest assistant coaches in NFL history.”