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What about Lewis and Smith?
March 22nd 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The 49ers have lots of depth in the offensive backfield, and with the resent resigning of Fred Beasley and Garrison Hearst, the team has lots of dollars invested in area too. It forces the observation that at least one of Jonas Lewis and Paul Smith wont be on the roster at the start of next season. While neither appear to be all-pro talent, both are certainly good change of pace backs and both can certainly get the job done in a pinch.

Depth at every position is obviously something teams strive for, but could it be possible that in Hearst, Beasley, Barlow, Jackson, Smith and Lewis the 49ers have too much depth? Would the money and roster spots of one or both of Jackson and Smith be better used on a linemen or defensive back? Both players have made good use of the opportunities given to them, Smith has proven his versatility, playing at fullback and halfback while Lewis was once the front runner for the starting position last season. It's a heck of a lot of depth and depth is a good thing, but with some weaker areas particularly on the bench the 49ers may need to part way with one or both of the two in order to shore up other areas.

While neither is a particularly hot commodity, the thought of using them as trade bait in the draft seems logical. The 49ers are currently without a third round pick, (though there is speculation that they will receive a compensation pick - possibly a third, for their free agent losses last off-season) and certainly another pick or two would help them shore up other weaker areas particularly since the team is drafting from the 27th position.

Would other teams be interested in either of the two backs? Certainly someone would, not necessarily seeking a starter, but there must be teams looking for a chance of pace or back up running back with very good special teams skills. The 49ers should certainly pursue the notion of acquiring draft picks from these guys, because come cut down day their roster spot may be filled by another position anyway.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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