49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 28, 2010
McShay: Guard Iupati might be a first-round reach for Niners

Mike Iupati has been one of the stars of Senior Bowl practice this week. One of the things I've been wondering is whether Iupati, a guard at Idaho, is good enough to edge out some of the tackle prospects in the draft and end up with the 49ers with one of their mid first-round picks. I asked ESPN's Todd McShay that question today on a conference call.

Todd McShay: "It's hard because I'm struggling to decipher whether he can actually play tackle in the NFL. Here's the thing: I think he can be an absolutely dominant guard, and they moved him out to left tackle in one point in practice. From the right side to the left side and going from inside (the offensive line) to outside, you're asking the guy to make two moves in terms of footwork and the side of the ball and being asked to be on the perimeter. He struggled in that aspect of it. But every other thing he did this week - I think he was arguably the most dominant lineman here. And I do think he could step in right away and start at guard in the NFL and be perennial Pro Bowl player. I just don't know whether he's going to be a great fit at tackle. That's the reason I would hesitate to say he's definitely in the middle of the first, but I could definitely see him 22-32 - somewhere in that range. And if you're only looking for a tackle, then you've got to make that decision if you feel strongly about it. But I would say right tackle would probably be as far as I would go."

Alex Smith - quarterback, announcer? As a warm-up to the 49ers-Denver game in London on Halloween, the BBC will have Smith as a studio guest analyst on Super Bowl Sunday. Smith will both break down the game between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts as well as discuss the October match-up at Wembley Stadium. He will also conduct a media tour in London in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

"I'm definitely excited to go over to London and not only represent the 49ers, but the NFL as well," Smith in a release. "I think it will be a fun opportunity to do a little broadcasting work for the Super Bowl, while also having a chance to build anticipation for our game next year against the Broncos. I know our team is excited for the opportunity to play in front of our fans overseas."

-- Matt Barrows

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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.

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