The NFL stirs back to life this week with the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. We’ll be hearing about wingspan, 40 yard dash times, bench presses, Wonderlic scores, and a variety of other goofy measurements and drills — all designed to nudge NFL prospects up or down the draft pecking order.
There will also be coaches looking for work, this year or next year after they get fired this year. And this is the official unofficial tampering period where teams can cook up deals with free agent players that will magically be announced two seconds after the beginning of the new league year on March 11 at 4:00 pm EST.
The 49ers don’t figure to be all that active in the tampering game, if you can believe the local scuttlebutt that they are more focused on re-signing their own free agents and free agents to be than they are in filching somebody else’s free agent. That doesn’t make for a very exciting pre-draft offseason for the local fans.
As for the Draft, the 49ers have 11 picks and will be selecting 30th. Most people think the team should draft either a WR or a DB in the first round. In the past nine years, the team has drafted ten WRs (Quinton Patton, A.J. Jenkins, Ronald Johnson, Kyle Williams, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, Brandon Williams, Rasheed Marshall, and Marcus Maxwell). Only Crabtree and Patton are still on the team. Two have had modest success elsewhere, two are hanging on for dear life in Kansas City, and the rest are either out of the league or so far below the radar that only their moms know where they are. Not a sterling record of WR drafting.
The NFL managed to get through almost an entire week before OFF FIELD ISSUES made their annual appearance. The first to show up was the 144 page report on the Jonathon Martin/Richie Incognito mess in Miami. The Dolphins either have the most dysfunctional locker room in the NFL or, if closer to the norm than Roger Goodell would like you to know about, then just one more reason for parents to dissuade their boys from playing football.
But the strange and terrible saga of NFL Good Guy award winner Darren Sharper’s descent into serial rapist is off the charts bizarre. Arrested in Los Angeles on two counts, and wanted in Arizona, New Orleans, and Las Vegas on five other counts.
Word squeezed out of 49er HQ over the weekend that the team was close to re-signing Anquan Boldin. Boldin will be 33 this year, which is getting up there for a WR, but Boldin doesn’t have to fear losing his speed in the next few years since he never had any wheels to begin with. Donte Whitner and Phil Dawson would be the next guys we would expect to see re-signed before the March 11 deadline. After that, the fate of the other 49er free agents gets a little murky.