San Francisco 49ers

49ers Q&A: What happens if Kirk Cousins is off the trade block?

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talks with Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after an NFL preseason football game Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Landover, Md.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talks with Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after an NFL preseason football game Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Landover, Md. AP

You are my world‏ @ACC052 With rumors saying Cousins and WAS deal may get done. What does that mean for Shanahan? Do we draft or try trading for Cousins?

ANS: If Washington works out a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, it's hard to believe they then would trade him, although I suppose that scenario is not entirely out of the question. If Washington indeed gets a deal done -- and, remember, the team's been trying for years now -- the 49ers' attention then would turn to the draft. My guess after watching the Top 5 QB draft prospects is that Shanahan's order of preference would be: Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Mason Rudolph and Lamar Jackson.

NinerFann‏ @tonyuop Who starts the season opposite Rashard Robinson at cornerback?

ANS: It may be his body double, Ahkello Witherspoon. I heard he's been sprinkled into the first-string defense -- a handful of snaps -- this week. If that indeed is the starting duo, the 49ers would have two tall, long-armed press corners, i.e. the prototypes for this style of.

rkg115‏ @rkg115 u had said b4 they wanted Vic Fangio as DC, with this switch to 4-3, would Fangio still be a candidate next yr if the defense and Saleh suck?

ANS: Yes, I think that's a plausible scenario. Did you see the photo of Fangio's hole-in-one shot the Bears tweeted out last week? That looks like a Bay Area course. Which is to say, Fangio likes it here and this year will be in his contract year.

Zak Wallace‏ @bblackrice Who's more likely to make the team, Eli or Tank?

ANS: As of now, Tank Carradine is running with the first-string defense. But that probably is going to change when Solomon Thomas arrives and starts practicing every day. Eli Harold is the second-team SAM linebacker. His biggest competition might be Dekoda Watson, who plays that position and also is a special teams ace. Both Harold and Carradine would be well-served by excelling at a couple of different spots.

James Jones‏ @9ernewswriter Do you think Armstead will win the LEO?

ANS: When I asked John Lynch about the position a couple of weeks ago, he said they were looking at Armstead there on base downs. That makes me think it's a time share. It seems like the plan might be to use Elvis Dumervil on obvious passing downs, at which point Armstead either could pop inside or perhaps rush from the big-end position.

Mr. Wang‏ @bushwoodgc Why can't Smith, Foster or Bowman play SAM?

ANS: All three of those guys "can" play SAM or strong-side linebacker. But there's both a pass-rush component and a holding-the-edge component to the position that makes a 6-4, 260-plus pounder like Ahmad Brooks or Eli Harold better for the role. The SAM functions more as a fifth defensive lineman than as a linebacker.

Danny Tundra‏ @dannytundra583 How's DeAndre Smelter doing in OTA's?

ANS: Wow. I received two Smelter questions. (Danny's came first). Bear in mind that we reporters get to see only one practice a week. That said, I have not seen a Smelter highlight at any point, which was mostly the case last offseason as well.

Jessica McCloughan‏ @JessicaMcCloug1 What is your true opinion about ex GM Scot McCloughan?

ANS: First, congratulations on spelling his name correctly! That's a rarity on Twitter … My true opinion on Scot? Good guy, great evaluator, adored by his players, wish he had given me more scoops. Oddest thing about him: People seem to covet his old, sweaty hats. At two separate stops in his career, Scot McCloughan's ballcaps have been story lines. That's weird, right?

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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