Time To Take Action---2/2/99

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The 49ers are entering yet another new era. Under a new front office, there will be changes. Bill Walsh the clubs general manager is known for letting players go, right before they begin to slide and rebuilding through the draft. This may mean that some unpopular moves will be made. Letting go of veterans is almost imminent. The 49ers have seven free agents this season (Dave Fiore has already be re-signed), and only one is restricted. They are: Terrell Owens, J.J. Stokes, Chad Fann, Reggie Roby, Tim Hanshaw, Frank Pollack, and Brenston Buckner. The 49ers have plenty of holes to fill via the draft and free agency so here's a look at possible moves.

Terrell Owens is a must keep. He is the future of the 49ers receiving game. Owens has great ability, and is always a threat for the big play. JJ Stokes, the other 49er free agent wide out is some one the 9ers would like to keep, but there his price tag may be to high, and the 9ers may turn to the draft, where some one like Na Brown (6-0 186) of North Carolina may be available in the third round. Brown is a fast receiver with good hands. He has the chance to become a good NFL slot WR. Otherwise, Mark Harris, the teams back up would be suitable. The 49ers would like to keep their 3 receiver threat, but at worst will hope to keep the tandem of Owens and Rice together.

The rest of the free agents will probably be let go. Reggie Roby was not what the 9ers were looking for in a punter. Chad Fann, and Tim Hanshaw, will need to take significant pay cuts to keep their backup positions. Frank Pollack and Brenston Buckner are almost out the door already.

The 49ers are probably going to get rid of some other players too. Tight end Irv Smith will definately be released. Jamie Brown, will most likely be released, but possibly re-signed for the league minimums. The 49ers may also let go of Ken Norton Jr., in favour of Winfered Tubbs, their skills are almost interchangeable, but Tubbs is faster, and younger. The 49ers may also let go of Jim Drukenmiller, in favour of drafting a different sucessor to Steve Young. Tim McDonald is getting on in his years, and the 9ers like their backup talent at safety. McDonald and fellow safety Merton Hanks may be victims of age. The 49ers have already said good bye to Marqueze Pope, Terry Kirby and Chris Doleman who retired. All this means is that the 49ers could have openings in the following positions: safety, middle linebacker, defensive back, defensive tackle, back up running back, back up quarterback, and back up tight end.

If the 49ers are in need of a safety, they wont have to look far. Zack Bronson, and Lance Schulters are up and coming stars. The 9ers defensive backfield was weak all of last season, a change at safety may be the key to getting the 9ers to where they want to be. However regardless of the safety position, the 9ers will most likely be looking to the draft for a defensive back. Though Darnell Walker played well, and RW McQuarters has shown growth in every game, the 9ers will want a safety net here, especially with the loss of Pope and the eventual loss of Langham. The 49ers will probably reach to the draft for one or two defensive backs. Some possibilities are: Dre` Bly North Carolina 5-10 195. Bly is good DB, with natural instincts and could be the play maker the 9ers need in their secondary. Another possiblilty is Fernado Bryant Alabama 5-10 175. Bryant is quick and has good cover skills.

As far as middle linebackers go, the 9ers would like some one like Al Wilson Tennessee 6-0 226 if he is around by the time the 9ers need to fill this void. Wilson is quick to fill the hole and is fast enough to drop back in coverage. He could compliment Tubbs and Woodall really well. The only proble with drafting a middle linebacker, is he would be responsible for making the linebacker calls, unless he learns the quickly the 9ers would be forced to have either Woodall or Tubbs make the calls.

The 49ers definately need a new defensive end. They have already lossed Chris Doleman, and they were forced to play some of last year with Gabe Wilkins inside. The 9ers will probably look for a defensive end or tackle a possibility is Marcus Spriggs Troy State 6-4 310. Spriggs is quick and has good athletic ability. He would be an asset to the 9ers, especially because they could develop him to move into the defense.

As far as a back up tight end and running back go the 9ers will probably scrounge through the free agent market or try and convert backup fullback Fred Beasely. The 49ers largest concern is who will succeed Steve Young. The 9ers may choose to keep Drukenmiller. However if they don't the 49ers will have Bill Walsh picking their future QB. If history means anything this could only be a positive thing. Cade McNown UCLA 6-1 215 is a likely candidate. McNown is quick and has good football instincts. He lacks a great arm, but so did Montana and so does Young. McNown would likely fit well into the 49ers system and could be great given the time to develop.

. Talk about it in the 49ers forum

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