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Niner Talk Bonus: 49ers Backup RB Competition

Posted Apr 17, 2014

This week's bonus round of "Niner Talk," senior reporter Taylor Price touches on the 49ers running back depth, the latest news from Levi's® Stadium and the upcoming NFL Draft.

In this week's bonus round of "Niner Talk," we covered a number of topics that didn't quite make this week's show.

Our inquisitive fans are always sending me questions on Twitter (@TaylorPrice49) and I'm happy to answer them on the show or right here on 49ers.com.

Let's get right to it...

If you look at the latest mock draft projections from some of the top NFL scribes, you'll see a consistent line of thinking. Many seem the believe the 49ers will use the No. 30 overall pick to find a wide receiver or a cornerback. If that's the consensus first-round need for the 49ers, San Francisco would have to move up in the first half of the round to find a top-rated wideout or corner.

I do want to point out that this year's draft has often been called one of the deepest drafts in years. So, if the 49ers see several talented players worthy of bringing in, don't be surprised if they wait their turn and make the 30th pick.

If the draft is as deep as everyone says it is, this might be the year to stay where they're slotted. San Francisco also has six selections in the first three rounds and if you trade up, you risk the chance of finding six future contributors.

Drop @49ersTeamStore a line. They would know best.

It's way, way too early to tell. I know we all want to know the starting lineup and have the key roles identified ASAP, but let’s watch offseason practices first. Follow up with me in July and I'll have a better idea how to answer that question.

As it currently stands now, the 49ers have created competition at wide receiver with the signing of Brandon Lloyd. That's a very good thing.

There's been no announcemnt on Fan Fest just yet, but the team did release information on the second annual 49ers Draft Bash presented by Bud Light.


Lloyd has consistently been a downfield threat. He's averaged 14.8 yards per reception in 10 seasons in the NFL. Rice, too, has averaged exactly 14.8 yards per catch in his seven years in the league.

While they have the same yards per reception average, Lloyd has been doing it over a longer period of time. Granted, he didn't play in 2013, but when we last saw Lloyd in 2012, he produced a career-high 190 receiving yards against the 49ers. San Francisco reportedly had previous interest in Lloyd so the signing makes sense.

If Jim Harbaugh really wants more production from a No. 3 wideout, adding a veteran to spice up the competition should help that goal.

I always say take the best player available. You can never have enough studs on offense or defense. If you force a need, you probably won't help your team in the long run.

If you subscribe to the "49ers need a wide receiver or cornerback theory" that I previously mentioned, perhaps the team is more likely to look for a cornerback with the recent Lloyd signing.

We'll have to wait and see.

Yes, of course. Stay tuned.

For now, here's a preview of what's going on across the street.

I'm not really sure, but the draft seems like an event I’d rather watch from home. I'd much rather be comfy on the couch, logged on to 49ers.com/Draft where I can get all my 49ers coverage.

Yes, always.

My pick: Team USA.

As I currently write my answer (Thursday, April 17), the smart money is on Kendall Hunter. He knows the offense. He's had success, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

Marcus Lattimore is working his way back to 100 percent. We can't rush his return to the field and pencil him in as Frank Gore's backup just yet. Preseason football will have a big say in who wins the job behind Gore.

Oh, and it's important to note that Hunter and Lattimore must excel in blitz pickups. If they can't master that, Gore will never come off the field.


See this story, 15 facts about new stadium grass:

Fact No. 10. Bermuda Bandera is also known for its fast recovery rate after a lineman creates a divot and its ability to stay green deeper into the season. The latter advantage is a side effect of WCT over-seeding the sod with perennial rye grass last November.


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