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Louis Riddick calls Buckner, Armstead most intriguing players on 49ers roster


In August, ESPN analyst — and now 49ers GM candidate — Louis Riddick joined KNBR 1050’s The Audible for an interview.

Riddick accurately predicted Blaine Gabbert would win the starting job but that he wouldn’t keep it all season.

But the more interesting question Riddick was asked: What do you see when you look at the young talent on the 49ers roster?

“I think those two twin towers are the most intriguing guys on that roster, when you’re talking about DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead,” said Riddick. “Because those guys, really, if you switched their numbers, and just kind of looked at them from behind, they’re almost carbon copies of one another. I think those are the kind of players that San Francisco just a few years ago — when coach (Jim) Harbaugh was there and he and Trent (Baalke) were building that thing into a powerhouse — those are the kind of players that they had, that they were known for. Those type of body types, those kind of athletic characteristics that those guys have.”

Buckner finished his rookie season with 73 tackles and 6 sacks. Arik Armstead was placed on IR in November, registering 15.5 sacks and 2.5 sacks while fighting through a nagging shoulder injury.

Should Riddick accept the job, he’ll be strapped with cash and the No. 2 overall pick. The most widely regarded prospects are front seven players Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) and Jonathan Allen (Alabama). It’s a position the 49ers have drafted in the first round the last two seasons.

Let’s not pigeonhole Riddick into one radio interview, but it sounds like he would lean defense at the top of the draft, should he be offered the job from Jed York. 

“Those are the kind of people they need to get more of,” Riddick said. “That they need to rebuild this organization on the shoulders of those types of players. And then, kind of spread out to the skill position players, get the quarterback situation squared away, get some more playmakers at the wide receiver position, revamp the secondary. But it’s all going to start in the trenches. That’s where they have kind of gone back to, to try and build it from the inside out. Look for those young players, Josh Garnett included on the offensive side, to really lead the way. If they hit on those guys and those guys become productive, San Francisco will rebuild it to where it used to be. 

If they don’t, there will be another front office and another coach for them.”

Ominous final words in that interview from Riddick. Earlier on Tuesday, he said on ESPN San Francisco has the most attractive job opening and he would take the job if offered. 

“Right now I think the most appealing job is the one where you’re going to be able to go in and start fresh with a GM and a head coach, and where they’re really gonna let you build it, and put in the foundation, and then let everything build and rise from there,” Riddick said. “Which to me, even though it’s a daunting task given the fact that personnel-wise this roster has been depleted, I like the situation that is coming to bear in San Francisco. I like what Jed York is trying to do as far as saying, hey look, I tried to piece-meal this thing together over the past three years.

“I think he will need to be patient, he already said he will be patient. He will give, whoever is given that position, the support and the time to get that done. So, I think in that way, when we come full circle with it, it winds up becoming a very attractive situation, as long as he makes good on everything he said he would.”

Riddick was put on the spot: Would he take the job?

“[Laugh]. Sure I would … There’s not a whole lot of impediments to the success there, provided that he makes good on everything that he says, and why wouldn’t you take him at this word?” Riddick said. “I think you see a guy who understands that, look, I’ve gotten some things wrong. I mean, really, what else do you want him to say. You want him to tear his shirt off and say, hey, what do you wanna do? You wanna mark me? What do you wanna do? I think he is kinda laying it out there, again, to be judged in the future if he doesn’t do what he says he’s gonna do. So, what more do you want.”


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