The San Francisco 49ers have already lost eight games this season. They're not mathematically eliminated yet, but it's time to start thinking about the 2011 offseason.
The 2010 season is embarrassing, and change is coming to San Francisco. Here are some of my thoughts on college players, 49ers players, and other NFL players.
Don't worry. This is the only slide where I'll even mention any of these three. To start, none of them are the future at quarterback.
Alex Smith is bad on third downs and causes crucial turnovers. I think they should let him walk.
Troy Smith can be good, but he's inconsistent with his accuracy. If he's willing to accept that role, they should keep Troy as a backup or maybe a placeholder for a rookie quarterback.
David Carr handed the Panthers their only win, and they need to cut ties with him despite the remaining year on his contract.
Many people consider Andrew Luck the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. That is why the Carolina Panthers are expected to take him with the first overall pick, which they will likely get, but that's not a given. The Panthers could easily pass on Luck for a guy like AJ Green or DaQuan Bowers.
If the 49ers lose the last four games they could have a top-five selection with a 4-12 record. That's perfect position to take advantage if the Panthers pass on Luck.
DaQuan Bowers is a defensive end for Clemson who is expected to be a top-five, possibly top-10 pick in the draft, probably because he leads the NCAA with 15.5 sacks. He would be a monster upgrade over Isaac Sopoaga if they decide to take him.
Also, in the video I posted, he lines up mostly at left end, some right end and even some tackle. I think that versatility would help him adjust to the 3-4 the Niners run.
Taylor Mays is 6'3", 230 pounds. To put that in perspective, Patrick Willis is 6'1", 240. Mays is also blazing fast. There were questions before the draft of whether he would play linebacker or safety in the NFL. I think the 49ers should take advantage of this and become a little more creative on defense.
Mays could essentially play his own position and do some of everything. He could drop back into coverage or rush the edge. The whole point of the 3-4 defense is so the offense doesn't know where the pressure is coming from, and throwing Taylor Mays into that would be a great idea.
There's no way a 300-pound lineman can stop Mays—who recorded an unofficial 4.24—around the edge when he's not expecting it.
Drew Stanton is a quarterback for the Detroit Lions who sits behind Matt Stafford and Shaun Hill on the depth chart. He caught my eye last year when he led some great drives coming off the bench for the underperforming Daunte Culpepper against Arizona in Week 15 last year.
Just last week he almost led the Lions to a win over the Bears, but lost 24-20. He's a free agent after this year, and he's better than a third-stringer, no matter how many times the Lions let their quarterbacks get hurt.
If the 49ers need a decent backup quarterback this offseason, they should give Stanton a call.
Locker plays quarterback for Washington, and he was projected to be the top pick in the 2011 draft before his struggles in his senior season.
Locker has a decent arm, good accuracy, and is said to run about a 4.3 or 4.4. He also has fumbling and consistency issues.
He's got potential, but he isn't NFL-ready. That means that he might not be a fit with San Francisco, but they shouldn't rule him out.
I think some teams are attracted to Ryan Mallet's monster arm, enough to warrant a first-round choice, but I think the 49ers should completely avoid him.
In 2009 he was arrested for public intoxication. That's a red flag.
On the field he needs time and a pocket to play well, and he reached double digits in picks for the year in only 12 games.
Something needs to happen with Michael Crabtree. He's not producing, regardless of whatever quarterback issues there are.
I've seen, more than any other receiver, balls bounce off Crabtree into the air, and then a defender's hands. Some of those were just badly placed passes, but with the one against the Cardinals, he got two palms on it. That's unacceptable.
I think next season he needs to work harder and participate in the preseason.
The Bay Area would probably have some issues with Michael Vick's past, so I'm only going to discuss the other Philadelphia quarterback. Kevin Kolb is a decent NFL quarterback, but the Eagles are asking for a second- and fourth-rounder, I've heard, and that's a little steep.
If there really aren't any other options, they should pursue Kolb and negotiate the price down.
Frank Gore is a beast, but he will be 28 next season when he comes back from his injury. With the beating he takes every season he won't last much longer. If there's any time to cut down on his workload, 2011 is it.
They should maybe go after DeAngelo Williams if Carolina lets him walk. Williams would be a great back for Gore to split work with because he's another elite back in his late 20s who won't be able to take all the carries in 2011.
It would make the 49ers fun to watch again.