The 49ers are only six games into the Chip Kelly era and it’s already abundantly clear that the season is doomed by a roster that has gaping holes due to years of poor drafting and talent evaluation on the part of GM Trent Baalke. The current 49ers are a complete personnel disaster.
The current 49ers’ roster has zero great (All-Pro Caliber) players on it. Who’s the best player on the current roster? Carlos Hyde? Aaron Lynch? Jimmie Ward? Phil Dawson?
The 49ers are a team with a wide array of personnel issues. They didn’t run it successfully in Buffalo (3.4ypc). They can’t pass (5.2 yds per pass attempts). They don’t stop the run (Buffalo avg 7.1ypc). The 49ers are also consistently losing on the money down, 3rd down. The Bills converted 61 percent of their attempts on 3rd down, while SF converted only 23 percent of theirs.
How can the 49ers improve their roster fast? Free agency doesn’t begin until next March and the 2017 draft is still six months away, but the 49ers can’t wait until then to take steps to improve. The 49ers should aggressively pursue other teams’ best practice squad players in an attempt to improve the back end of their roster. A team can take any player off of another team’s practice squad if they put the player on their active roster.
Here are 10 moves I’d make today to improve the 49ers for 2017 and beyond.
The WR corps is filled with cast offs, retreads, and failed draft picks. I’d keep Torrey Smith and Jeremy Kerley, but I’d jettison Aaron Burbridge, Rod Streater, Keyshawn Martin, and Quinton Patton. The 49ers need big, athletic, young WR prospects that can be coached into future starting roles. I’d sign Geronimo Allison (GB), Tre McBride (Ten), Keyarris Garrett (Car), and Paul McRoberts (LA), 4 big bodied WRs that have starter potential but still need developing.
Eli Harold has been a disaster at OLB. He is without a strength. He can’t rush the passer and has been a liability versus the run. He has poor instincts and thus he needs to go right now. I’d sign either James Cowser (Oak) or Victor Ochi (NYJ) to take his spot. Harold is the superior athlete, but Ochi and Cowser are vastly superior football players.
The ILB position was manned by Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and Chris Borland. Today It consists of Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite, Shayne Skov, and Nick Bellore. I’d dump Skov and Bellore and sign Luke Rhodes (TB) and Scooby Wright (CLE). Rhodes and Wright have physical limitations too but are stronger versus the inside run at the point of attack.
Three other moves I’d make today: I’d cut journeyman CB-JaCorey Shepherd and sign Harlan Miller (AZ). Miller is 6-foot CB who could emerge as a starter next summer in camp. There is no need for another long limbed 5-technique DE who doesn’t stop the inside run, so I’d cut Taylor Hart and sign Matt Ioannidis (Wash). Ioannidis is a far stronger run defender. Marcus Martin is a bust. He’s only still on the roster to protect Baalke’s ego. He was a waste of a third round pick. I’d cut him and sign Center Jack Allen (NO). Allen was team captain at Michigan State. He lacks size but he is tough, smart, dependable and a clear upgrade on Martin.
These moves won’t make the 49ers a playoff team this year, but they will give them personnel momentum as they embark on their offseason roster rebuild. I hope you like my ideas, and remember that I’m just trying to be a part of the solution. Go Niners!