The first of two weeks of OTAs concluded last Friday without this reporter seeing so much as one play. I did, however, get a barrage of Tweets from Maiocco, Barrows, and Barber. Lynch does not appear to have a Twitter account and it’s uncertain whether he attends practices or just gets a few blog tidbits from a homeless drunk sleeping one off in a tree top alongside the practice fields. Maybe the homeless guy IS Lynch. Who knows?
Watching the Tweets roll by (good title for … something), this poster is able to draw many conclusions about what is going on and also get a few laughs when the three musketweeters occasionally identify three different players making the same catch or tackle. This probably indicates that there was a bombshell babe meandering along the sidelines during that particular play.
The 49ers may have drafted Taylor Mays to take over for Michael Lewis at SS, but last year’s 7th round pick, Curtis Taylor, is the guy who kept popping up on the Tweet wire breaking up passes and performing very well. This kid can play. HOF former defensive back Rod Woodson attended one of the practices and had glowing words for Mays, but he also used the dreaded “in two or three years” phrase, indicating that it is likely the low round Taylor would be the one called into action this year if Lewis were to harm himself enough to be wobbled off the field. Further enhancing this notion is the fact that Mays was mostly running with the 3rd stringers, while Curtis was starring with the 2nd teamers. Look for Mays to spend this year being a superstar special teams player. His speed and hitting ability should give ST coach Kurt Schottenheimer a terrific weapon.
This could make the season opening game against the Seattle Seahawks a bit tough for Mays, who wants to prove that his old coach at USC, the infamous, thoroughly degraded, disgusting cheater, and gutless sneak out of towner Pete Carroll, now coaching the Seattle team, was wrong in selecting safety Earl Thomas in the first round of the 2010 draft, instead of Mays, who then fell many, many nickels-worth of draft slots all the way into the second round, where the 49ers grabbed him. Thomas stands a good chance of being the opening day starting safety for Seattle, while Mays will not be that for the 49ers. Grrrrr. Salvation for Mays, however, could come if the 49ers manage to torch Thomas for a couple of TDs.
Another player pushing himself into the mix is Ricky Jean Francois, who was also a 7th round pick in the 2009 draft. RJF and Curtis Taylor both made the 53 man roster last year, which is remarkable for 7th rounders, who usually land on the Practice Squad or back home in their parents’ house pondering what sort of life-after-football career to pursue. RJF entered the off season as a 295lb defensive end and is now a 315lb nose tackle making a strong case to be Abrayo Franklin’s primary backup this coming season. And, who knows, a potential replacement for Franklin should he leave via free agency at the end of the year.
This backup nose position has been mostly attributed to starting left defensive end Isaac Sopoagna up to now, even though he has yet to actually appear in a game in that role. He played the position two years ago in a rotation with Franklin and Ron Fields. Fields is gone, so Soap is the only one left with nose experience (some bloggers will now make a juvenile allusion to boogers, no doubt – speaking of which, excuse me for a moment).
What’s intriguing should RJF succeed in bootstrapping his way into a future bona fide nose tackle is the impact it will have on two current players — Franklin and Soap. Franklin, of course, would lose leverage with the 49ers for wedging out a super duper contract extension and Soap would lose value as a two position Dlineman. With many eager eyes poised for a season long bust-or-not evaluation of 2008 first rounder Kentwan Balmer, who plays Soap’s LDE position, there should be lots of drama along the Dline this coming year.
At any rate, should RJF and Curtis Taylor both become solid players for the 49ers, it might make the 2009 7th round draft the best one in team history.