49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

February 19, 2009
Ten questions as 49ers hit the combine

By day he's Jeff Matracia, mild-mannered high school teacher in Columbus, Ohio. After hours, he's MadDog49er, NFL draft guru extraordinaire. I found MadDog last year on the 49ers Web Zone and ever since he's proven to be just as perceptive and accurate as the so-called draft experts who get paid to yammer on about the draft. MadDog and I have compiled what we believe to be some of the most intriguing questions about the annual scouting combine, which begins today in Indianapolis. Most of the questions have a 49ers twist. And before you ask, no, that wasn't me who almost ran down Maiocco this morning. It was my twin brother.

1.) Receiver Michael Crabtree's camp already has said he will not run the 40. But two other receivers, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin, have plenty to gain with a blazing time. Maclin right now is on the bubble as far as being a top 10 pick; Harvin could slide into the first half of the draft with a great combine. Who will be this year's Chris Johnson? The receivers will run on Sunday.

2.) Which 3-4 will linebacker prospect will emerge as the top player on the draft board? The battle among Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown, and Aaron Maybin will be one of the highlights of the combine. Which guy will show in drills that he is athletic and smooth enough to drop back into coverage effectively? Keep an eye on how many times Orakpo hoists 225 pounds.

3.) Brown and Maybin's first test will be with the scale. Both were considered undersized last year in college, especially late in the season. Both need to be around 250 pounds to help their draft chances.

4.) Tennessee defensive end Robert "Don't call me William" Ayers was one of the most impressive players at last month's Senior Bowl. The question is whether he has the speed and agility to be a 3-4 linebacker. Keep an eye on Ayers' 40 and shuttle times.

5.) Which of the second-tier will linebackers will emerge as the best prospect? A host of players should have fun fighting for first-round consideration, with Michael Johnson, Clint Sintim, Larry English, Paul Kruger, Connor Barwin and Ayers all looking to capture the scouts' eyes. One or two of these guys should still be on the board when the 49ers pick in the second round.

6.) Who will emerge as the top left tackle in the draft? The Big Three: Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith could all end up the top pick in the draft as Jake Long was last year. Michael Oher is in the next tier down and needs to ace the interview portion. A strong Wonderlic score would help him as well.

7.) Will Malcolm Jenkins run in the mid-4.4's or lower in the 40? This could determine if he plays corner or safety in the NFL, and also moves him between the 4th-10th slot.

8.) Can safety William Moore stop his catastrophic draft free fall? Moore entered the season as a first-round prospect, but after a poor Senior Bowl he is probably a borderline 2-3 round player. He could fall completely outside the top 75 or even 100 picks if he looks stiff in drills and runs poorly. Moore has to stop the bleeding.

9.) Who will emerge as the top middle linebacker after the combine? Rey Maualuga may pass on the positional drills, and that could hurt his status on draft day. Meanwhile, James Laurinaitis seems like he has a gigantic chip on his shoulders. In a news broadcast this week in Columbus, Laurinaitis said he wants to shock scouts and coaches with his athleticism. He feels some people label him a smart player with limited upside.

10.) Will Kansas State's Josh Freeman steal the show in the quarterback group this week and emerge as a high first round draft choice? He's got tremendous size and arm strength, and could emerge as the talk of the combine by the end of the week.

-- Matt Barrows

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments
blog comments powered by Disqus


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


May 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Monthly Archives

Ask a question

Please use the form below to submit your question. Because there is a 100-word limit for questions, a word counter is located directly beneath the box where you enter the your question.


49ers Question:

Your letter contains of 100 words allowed.  Count words

Your IP Address has been recorded as and will be included with this submission.