Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 Offseason Projections (Offense)


The 49ers head into the 2013 offseason as NFC Champions and only a few key areas as question marks.  This is part 1 of 2, and let's start by taking a position by position review of how the roster looks as of today and how it may change before opening day on the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback

Colin Kaepernick
Alex Smith
Scott Tolzien

The story here is what the future holds for Alex Smith.  The 49er brass has gone on record that they will not release Smith, leaving only the option of retaining or trading him.  I have already gone on record as stating that Smith will return as the backup for 2013, and like a captain will go down with the ship.

Should Smith be dealt  I would look for them to bring in a veteran to compete for the backup position, Matt Moore would be my top choice.  In addition look for them to either select a QB through the draft or bring in an undrafted free agent.  Some names that have been brought up from the college ranks that could be had on Day 3 are Arizona's Matt Scott, Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Kansas State's Colin Klein, and Duke's Sean Renfree.

Running Back / Fullback

Frank Gore
Kendall Hunter
LaMichael James
Anthony Dixon
Jewel Hampton

Bruce Miller
Will Tukuafu

This group figures to be pretty set heading into 2013.  The only possible shake up could be with Anthony Dixon.  The 49res brough in Brandon Jacobs in 2012 to challenge Dixon for the role of short yardage back and Dixon responded.  He had perhaps the biggest run of the 49ers season in the NFC Championship Game when he picked up a 3rd and Short to keep what would end up being the game winning drive alive.

I would expect to see them push Dixon again with a late round selection or free agent acquisition.

Wide Receiver

Michael Crabtree
Randy Moss (FA)
Mario Manningham
Kyle Williams
AJ Jenkins
Ted Ginn (FA)
Chad Hall
Ricardo Lockette (PS)

There is no question who the number 1 receiver is for the 49ers after Michael Crabtree put up career high numbers and became the first receiver to go over 1,000 yards receiving in a single season since Terrell Owens.

Like last year this group heads into the offseason with question marks.  Randy Moss and Ted Ginn will be free agents, while Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are continuing to rehab from knee injuries, and 2012 first round pick AJ Jenkins did not record a reception.

I look for them to select a receiver on day 2, and bring in a couple of others through free agency or as undrafted free agents.  Expect it to be someone who can stretch the field vertically opposite Crabtree.  West Virginia wideout Stedman Bailey, and potential free agents Miles Austin, Brandon Lloyd and Brandon Gibson seem to fit the bill here.

Tight End

Vernon Davis
Delanie Walker (FA)
Garrett Celek
Demarcus Dobbs

This is the key position to making the 49ers offense go, and the 49ers head into the offseason with free agency of Delanie Walker as a big question mark.  While many will point to the large number of drops Walker had this season as reason not to worry should he walk, I point to a couple other areas as to why he may be the most important re-signing this offseason.

For starters, with all of the money on the table during the 49ers postseason run Walker came up with some big receptions and did had no drops.  In addition, his role in making the run game go cannot be overlooked.  His versatility allows him to be moved around formations in a variety of ways, and his speed makes him a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators.

Should he move on it might open the door for the 49ers to finally select a Stanford tight end at the end of the first round.  Last season there was a lot of chatter regarding Coby Fleener, but Zach Ertz may prove to be even better.

Offensive Line

Joe Staley
Mike Iupati
Jonathan Goodwin
Alex Boone
Anthony Davis
Daniel Kilgore
Joe Looney
Leonard Davis (FA)
Al Netter (PS)
Kenny Wiggins (PS)

This group was arguably the best in the entire league in 2012, and the entire unit is signed through 2013.  The only possible shake up to this group might be moving on from Goodwin, as it may be worth revisiting his contract and whether his production warrents the pay.  Both Kilgore and Looney could be possible replacements.

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