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Niner Talk Bonus: Could 49ers Use LeBron James?

Posted Jun 26, 2014

Our latest bonus round of "Niner Talk" tackles numerous questions from the 49ers Faithful, even one about a superstar free agent from another sport.

We do our best here at 49ers.com to listen to the fans. We read your comments on our posts and we certainly see the replies on Twitter.

So in the case of this week's bonus round of "Niner Talk," I thought it would be fun to answer the ultimate hypothetical question: Could the San Francisco 49ers use LeBron James as a tight end.

Before I answer that, let's get to the numerous questions that didn't quite make the video version of the show.

It's really hard to say. However, I will say that Brandon Lloyd had a great offseason, one that was about as good as any other receiver on the team. Lloyd was there for all the practices and he developed nice chemistry with Colin Kaepernick. At 32, he also showed that he's not shy about learning more about the game. There were moments at minicamp when Lloyd picked the brain of teammate Anquan Boldin.

Both veteran receivers saw a lot of first-team reps in the mandatory camp and looked like a capable tandem if needed. San Francisco still has plenty of options at the position, Michael Crabtree has the same "burst" of 2012, according to Kaepernick. Plus, Stevie Johnson has plenty of game left in him. The list of wide receivers goes on. The good news for Lloyd is that the job will be won on the field and he has the ability to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. He'll need a strong training camp to get it done, but it doesn't seem like that is out of the question.

Will they? It's possible, but not likely.

Should they? I don't think so. I could be wrong, but the team used the offseason to evaluate its young cornerbacks. Two of the team's 12 draft picks - Dontae Johnson in the fourth round and Kenneth Acker in the fifth round - can add athleticism to the cornerback position. In addition, second-year cornerback Darryl Morris has made great strides as a nickel cornerback.

With Tramaine Brock slotted to be the team's starting left cornerback, it looks like Chris Cook and Chris Culliver will be competing to be the starting right cornerback. Perrish Cox is also in the mix for perimeter and slot defender roles.

In a nutshell, the team is younger and more athletic at the position than they were in 2013. They might be less experienced, but being faster to the ball could help.

Jim Harbaugh said at the end of minicamp that the team is scheduled to have three open practice dates at Levi's® Stadium.

The 49ers coach said his team is pumped about it, too.

"Everything about a new stadium will be exciting," Harbaugh said. "Especially all of the things for the first time, including practicing in the new stadium, public seeing our team in the new stadium, going into the locker room, families going into the family room. It’s going to add great excitement to the players, and that’s a good thing.”

Here's my short list:

-Justin Smith
-Joe Staley
-Quinton Patton

These are the kinds of questions I really like. Not the low-hanging fruit.

If Team USA needed one member of the 49ers to suit up in the World Cup, here are what my 49ers.com collegeagues suggested...

Scott Kegley: Michael Crabtree for the goal celebrations.
Eric Stark: Colin Kaepernick for the overall entertainment.
Andrew Pentis: Eric Reid because he grew up playing soccer.
My pick: Andy Lee because he wears soccer cleats already and he can kick the ball far.

Lawrence Okoye looks more comfortable out there, but he is also competing against a deep defensive line group. I think he's itching to show what he's learned when it's time for the pads come on. Okoye's one-on-one drills will be heavily watched by the media much like they were in 2013.

Ask me how he looks in training camp and I'll have a better idea of his progress by then.

I haven't heard any specifics just yet, but I know Michael Mina's Tailgate will be awesome. And if you're in the stadium, I heard there's soft serve ice cream.

Contact my boss, Robert Alberino.

Here we are, the question I'm sure you all skipped right down to.

LeBron James was a celebrated high school wide receiver. He also openly rooted for the 49ers last postseason. But does he have any visions of playing tight end for the 49ers? Nope. Do the 49ers want him as a free agent? C'mon man...

The fantasy of having the NBA's best player suddenly play a different sport would never happen. Oh wait, it did with Michael Jordan.

In regards to "King James," I don't see any way he would stop playing basketball. Sure it would be amazing to write about: LeBron Signs with the 49ers. But that won't happen with any NFL team. So thanks for the fun question LouieV, but let's focus on the tight ends on the current roster. LeBron won't be rocking the red and gold for the Niners.

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