Saturday Niners Thoughts

Briggs

Pro Football Weekly’s Mike Wilkening has an interesting article discussing the relationship between Mike Nolan and Scott McCloughan. As Wilkening mentions in the article, the Niners have some very talented players (Gore, Vernon, Lawson, Willis) but lack the depth that all the playoff teams normally possess. The Giants got to the Super Bowl in part because of the productivity they received from seven rookies, many of whom were taken on Day Two of the Draft.

The Niners need to hit on almost all their picks in the upcoming draft if they want to make drastic improvements next season…

In the Pro Football Weekly “Whispers” column, here is what Nolan had to say about new offensive line coach Chris Foerster:

“It makes sense to have two coaches for a position that always has five players on the field. We’re very fortunate to get Chris. He is an outstanding coach in this league. He was just coming to Baltimore when I left, but going against him, I’ve always had the greatest respect for the job he did. We were lucky to have an opportunity to hire him.”

In other Whispers news, PFW reports that their sources tell them linebacker Jeff Ulbrich will remain with the team. The Niners value his work ethic and leadership too much to make him a salary cap casualty…

Additionally, Whispers reports that Brandon Moore will probably replace departed linebacker Derek Smith and that the Niners will target a linebacker in the second or third round of the April draft…

In his most recent mock draft on CNNSI.com, Don Banks projects USC linebacker Keith Rivers as their pick. Now this is more like it. Rivers is a proven productive player from a competitive team and conference and fills a need for the Niners. Build up that defense. Here is what Banks had to say about his projection:

“The 49ers could be tempted by LSU receiver Early Doucet, USC offensive tackle Sam Baker or Boston College offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, all of whom would fill huge needs. But Rivers is likely to be the highest-rated player left on their board, and outside linebacker is another need if they don’t get into the Lance Briggs sweepstakes.”

Niner Insider Kevin Lynch warns that the Niners might have to overpay for Justin Smith if they want him. Smith is the leading pass rusher on the market, and since many teams around the league are in need of an additional pass rusher.

The Niners already gave a huge contract to Nate Clements and if they’re serious about pursuing linebacker Lance Briggs, how much more money can they give?…

Lynch says that an incentive-laden contract for Jevon Kearse might be a better option…

Lynch did state that the Niners have a great amount of interest in Briggs, but are not interested in Randy Moss. He also wrote that the Niners will probably go after a tackle or cornerback in the first round, due to the considerable depth at each position. Pass rushers, wide receivers and cornerbacks (if one is not picked in the first round) will be the primary concerns for the Niners during the remainder of the draft…

Finally, in what will be an issue constantly updated here on 49ersgab.com, Yahoo Sports is reporting that the NFL is investigating tampering charges against the Niners concerning their interest in Briggs.

Yahoo’s sources state that the charges date back to last year. If the Niners are found guilty, they could be fined or lose a draft choice.

According to Yahoo’s report, the Niners claim they contacted Briggs’ agent Drew Rosenhaus AFTER contacting the Bears and even then it was only to determine if Briggs would sign a new contract. More on this in the coming days…

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