San Francisco 49ers' End of Season Grades: Defense

DannyBoy SportsTalkCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2009

Welcome back, 'Niners Faithful, for the second installment of First Annual DannyBoy SportsTalk End of Season Grades for the San Francisco 49ers, or as I like to call it for short, FADBSTEOSGFTSF4. I still can't think of a better name.

Suggestions? Leave them in the comments.

You can find Part One 49ers-2008-end-of-season-grades-offense" target="_blank" title="here.">here.

Part Three will be coming out next week, as Special Teams and coaching grades will be handed out.


Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride...








Justin Smith



Many media types groaned about the 49ers overpaying him. I guarantee no one in the organization thinks the same way. He dominated!


Ray McDonald



"Jumpy", as Matt Barrows of the Sac Bee has called him, tallied six encroachment or offside penalties to go along with only one sack.


Kentwan Balmer



Defensive Lineman in their rookie years always have difficulty. (see: Williams, Mario).






Aubrayo Franklin



Anytime a DT in 3-4 is known for making plays, it means he isn't filling gaps like he is supposed to.


Ronald Fields



Though he didn’t get many tackles, holding the point for Willis was much more important.


Isaac Sopoaga



A fancy new $20 million contract for 41 tackles and a sack? How long can "potential" sustain this strong man?






Patrick Willis



The only reason an A+ wasn't awarded for this Pro-Bowler was the drop in stats. Even that can be explained by the Martz Offense.


Takeo Spikes



The free agent was well worth the investment, and even asked to come back. Now that isn't something you have heard from potential escapees the past few seasons.


Jeff Ulbrich



The man went from starter to bench warmer without a peep. Then went out and reigned immortal on Special Teams.


Ahmad Brooks



When you are released by a 4-11 team, either you don't have what it takes, or there was some politicking. Either way, he made no impact for the 'Niners.






Manny Lawson



Manny being Manny is a whole new meaning with this man. He was rounding into shape after the knee injury. Lawson finished with 45 tackles and three sacks.


Parys Haralson



Someone give this man a pay raise! He led the team in sacks with 8.5, 3.5 of which came in the last five games of the season.


Roderick Green



Pass Rushing is his specialty, and he didn't even do that well. The Nolan holdover may not make it to training camp.


Tully Banta-Cain



This $4 million a year man probably wont be back. Haralson was destined for the Weakside spot, and someone had to go. The overpaid are generally the most expendable.


Jay Moore



The second year in a row his season was lost. The 49ers have no idea what to expect from this guy. 2009 might be make-or-break it time for Moore.






Nate Clements



Except for the Dallasgame, his season was excellent. 63 tackles is nothing to laugh at from a cornerback.


Walt Harris



Walt is starting to lose a step. None-the-less, he finished with three interceptions and 54 tackles. What more could you want?


Shawntae Spencer



His season was lost to a knee injury, and it helped bring around some younger players. Unless he has an awesome camp next year, he might be gone.


Tarell Brown



Brown came up big in Week Three, and ended the season with 30 tackles and 2 picks. He has the ball-hawking the Niners need.


Reggie Smith



He only recorded 3 tackles this season, but the 3rd round pick will see more playing time in his sophomore season.


Marcus Hudson



Hudson was more of an insurance policy this season. His seven tackles were nothing to get excited about.


Donald Strickland



The 49ers love this guy for intensity and drive. He might overtake Spencer for the nickelback role in 2009.


Allen Rossum



Although listed at CB, Rossum is a return man/arena-style offensive specialist. His grade is for his impact on the return game this season.






Michael Lewis



This linebacker in the secondary did everything asked of him, even placing second in tackles on the team with 96. Of course, a couple interceptions would be nice.


Mark Roman



A center fielder really should make more plays than Roman. He is reliable, not so much flashy. Look for the Niners to upgrade via the draft if Taylor Mays is available.


Keith Lewis



Another ST stalwart, Lewis is known for hard hits. In my book, if you scare your opponent, then you did your job. Lewis definitely did his.


Dashon Goldson



Look for Goldson to start at FS next season. His grade is this low because he didn't take advantage of the Roman situation, even though the job was his to take.

Do you think a player received a bad grade? Leave your comments in the section below, or contact DannyBoy at!