San Francisco 49ers

49ers mailbag: The best option for upgrading the edge?

UTSA defensive lineman Marcus Davenport runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Indianapolis.
UTSA defensive lineman Marcus Davenport runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Indianapolis. AP

James Guzikowski‏ @jguzikowski What are the best options out there to upgrade the 49ers pass rush? This has been a glaring hole since Aldon's disastrous tenure and there aren't many options in FA or elite rushers in the draft. Good pass rush masks bad secondary, I'd rather get the former first.

ANSW: John Lynch lamented the difficulty of finding pass rushers when he was in Indianapolis. They almost never become available in free agency, so the draft might be the best/only option to truly find a 10-plus sack kind of guy. My sense is that UT-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport is going to increasingly be mentioned as a Top 10 pick over the next two months and that he's definitely a possibility for the 49ers at No. 9. Watch some of his games. Yes, they're often against colleges that sound like fictional schools in an Adam Sandler movie -- Texas State? Really? -- but Davenport is violent and disruptive and looks the same against Baylor, Rice and more well-known schools. I can only imagine that violence appeals to Robert Saleh. My guess is that the 49ers rank the pass rushers: Bradley Chubb, Davenport, Arden Key/Harold Landry.

Brandon Wyatt

Do you see the niners drafting Edmunds to fill in for Foster while he's out and then possibly moving him to the LEO position?

ANSW: Tremaine Edmunds is the other player I see as a strong possibility for the 49ers because he's simply a good, young (he's only 19!) player who's a fit at multiple spots. But therein lies the rub. I would imagine that the 49ers would want him to concentrate on one position as a rookie. I don't think it's as simple as, 'Let him play strong-side linebacker until a Foster suspension begins, and then move him over to middle linebacker.' His best fit seems to be as the "Mike." If the 49ers drafted him, do they start him out at that spot even though that's where they want Foster to play? Do they have Edmunds play "Mike" and Foster "Will"? That would mean Malcolm Smith, who looked very good before his injury, would be on the bench. … As far as "Leo" -- sure, he could line up there. But I think that's the least-best fit for him.

Perry‏ @AnthonyPerry925 What do you feel are the odds that the 49’ers trade out of the 9th spot? It seems at that position there’s gonna be at least a guaranteed “elite” talent available at that spot, what could the plan be?

ANSW: The 49ers have a big gap between their first pick (No. 9) and their second pick (No. 59). So I'd think that Lynch and Kyle Shanahan definitely would consider a trade-down scenario that could perhaps help bridge that gap. There have been reports that Miami (at No. 11) might want a quarterback. Does a different team try to duck in ahead of the Dolphins for a passer?

Anthony‏ @a2low11 Niners gonna have interest in Allen Robinson? Guy is 25 and can be a no.1

ANSW: Yes. There will be interest. But I think they will be interested in several receivers. Sammy Watkins seems to me to be a better option (because, unlike Robinson, he's not coming off an ACL injury), with an added bonus of robbing a division rival of player and a double bonus of him already being familiar with the offensive system. But there are a lot of other receivers -- Paul Richardson, John Brown, Taylor Gabriel, etc. -- that will cost less. I don't know how aggressively they will go after any one guy.

Jason McCord‏ @jasondmccord Do you think Hyde's pass blocking ability weighs in the decision whether to keep him? Drafting a replacement doesn't leave a lot of experience to protect Garoppolo.

ANSW: It's a good question. Rookie runners are notoriously bad a pass protection and there are some in this class -- Rashaad Penny, for example -- who really need to work on that skill. Lynch and Kyle Shanahan made it clear that they have not closed the door on Hyde. Not counting Le'veon Bell, he's the best running back poised to hit the market and certainly the best every-down runner. But it's also clear -- considering talks have been ongoing for some time -- that Hyde and the 49ers are not close on money.

Erik Brekke‏ @ekbrekke When do you expect the 49ers to extend Trent Brown and what do you think the deal should look like?

ANSW: I'm a words guy, not a numbers guy, so I have no idea what a deal should look like. But I get the sense that the plan is to A.) See how Brown comes back from his labrum tear and B.) Look for better consistency in the first part of the season. If they like both, then they try to ink him to an extension at midseason. (Of course, if you wait too long, Brown might rather hit the open market).

Terry Lake‏ @tlake98 If all three are available when the 49ers pick which player would they select - CB Ward, G Nelson or LB Edmunds or Other?

ANSW: Nelson. My question to you guys is: Of the four non-QBs expected to be taken in the Top 10 -- Nelson, Chubb, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Saquon Barkley -- who's the most likely to drop to No. 9? (My guess is Nelson).

Rob Carter‏ @roberob916 Is there a contingency plan in place in case Witherspoon has the sophomore jinx? Is 12 games enough to anoint him as the CB of the future?

ANSW: My guess is that the 49ers will bring in a cornerback in free agency and take one in the early or middle rounds of the draft.

Christopher Cain‏ @C_Allan_Cain Preemptive mail bag question: chances Gore coaches?

ANSW: His superior skill may be as a talent evaluator. No one has better insight on which defenders are "dogs" and which are not.

Alex‏ @ADualThreatQB Which player from this draft class would you choose to represent you in a Trial by Combat?

ANSW: You mean, aside from Quenton Nelson?

Marcus Peck @barkuspeckers Any chance 49ers sign Alyn Robinnson?

ANSW: Put on the conical cap, Marcus, and sit in the corner for the rest of the afternoon.

San Francisco 49ers insider Matt Barrows talks about the players and positions the team must consider as the team heads into the NFL scouting combine beginning this month.

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