• Akash Anavarathan

Anavarathan: Monday Mailbag, 49ers' free agency edition

After the first week of free agency, it's the perfect time to answer some questions from 49ers' fans regarding their team's signings and how it'll affect their draft plans moving forward.

I'm going to try and do a mailbag-type article at least once a month, where fans can ask any question that's related to the 49ers and I will give my opinion below. Follow me on Twitter (@akashanav) and stay tuned for when I post about the next #MondayMailbag.

@NickBosaTheGOAT: "Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb?"

Hi @NickBosaTheGOAT, I think that the between the two, I would personally rather have Alabama's Jerry Jeudy. I think Jeudy's the most polished route runner in this draft class and fit's Kyle Shanahan's offense very well.

I always think back to something Shanahan said about receivers: "Win early, so that you don't have to win late." More often than not, Jeudy gets good separation at the line of scrimmage, allowing him to win early in the route.

While Lamb's a good prospect as well, I still think Jeudy is slightly better than him.

@Roho_Khad: "Why [Arik] Armstead over [DeForest] Buckner?"

Hi @Roho_Khad, I don't think the choice is as black/white as Arik Armstead over DeForest Buckner.

As I outlined in an earlier article, the 49ers likely had two options when it came to handling Armstead and Buckner this offseason:

Option 1: Extend Buckner, place the franchise tag on Armstead and trade him for a Day-Two pick.

Option 2: Re-sign Armstead and trade away Buckner for a first-round pick.

Since Armstead was significantly cheaper (in terms of guaranteed dollars) than Buckner, it made more sense to re-sign Armstead, recoup a valuable draft asset and maintain cap flexibility.

@StevensBeavNVol: "If [Jerry] Jeudy and [CeeDee] Lamb are gone when the 49ers select at 13, do the 49ers take [Henry] Ruggs [III] or do they draft another receiver?

Hi @StevensBeavNVol, I keep going back and forth on who the No. 1 wide receiver on the 49ers' draft board is -- though I presume it's either Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III. Jeudy's route-running is head and shoulders above the rest of the class, but Ruggs' speed is an unteachable skill that opens up an entire offense.

San Francisco has been rumored to trade wideout Marquise Goodwin and has been linked to speedy receiver Phillip Dorsett. It seems like Shanahan's trying to add a vertical threat to stretch the field for George Kittle and Deebo Samuel underneath.

Given that, I think they take Henry Ruggs III at No. 13, because he is the guy they want.

@EllertNick: Where do the 49ers need veteran depth before training camp?

Hi @EllertNick, great question! I think the 49ers should be looking at adding veteran depth in a few spots. I think the weakest position groups on the team right now are CB, WR, TE and DL.

Richard Sherman's about to turn 32 in seven days and San Francisco can't consistently rely on Emmanuel Moseley and Akhello Witherspoon. I think they have to try adding veteran fliers, to push the competition at this position.

San Francisco has a lot of question marks at wideout beyond Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne. Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd will be returning from major -- MAJOR -- injuries, while Dante Pettis will be trying to recover from a sophomore slump. Adding a veteran presence would be vital.

I'm also a firm believer that having defensive line depth is key to slowing down an opposing offense. Having multiple pitches to throw at a quarterback and also having depth in case of injuries is important.

@Mr_UnPopOpinion: What do you think about adding [Ndamukong] Suh on a one-year deal to add to this defensive line rotation?

Hi @Mr_UnPopOpinion, unlike your Twitter handle -- I think the popular opinion is to avoid the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

Per Pro Football Focus, Suh's grade's have been steadily declining since his days as a Dolphin in 2017. I'm not sure how much he has left in the tank going into Year 11. Also, given his character issues during his days as a Lion and Dolphin -- not sure how he fits in this 49ers' locker room.

@Rlebel81: The team obviously has at least 13 players with a first-round grade. Everything points to wide receiver. What are your opinions on some sleeper picks that they might be targetting?

Hi @Rlebel81, I think there are a few position groups that San Francisco is primarily targetting -- wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line and corner back.

I think everyone knows the popular names at receiver, but I think there's a chance San Francisco pivots and adds depth in the trenches.

There are four consensus top offensive lineman: Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills and Tristan Wirfs. There's a chance one of them slips to No. 13 and the 49ers grab one as a Joe Staley replacement and filler at guard in 2020. Defensively, I think there's a chance they look at Javon Kinlaw -- who would be a fill-in replacement for DeForest Buckner.

The one oddball to watch would be center Cesar Ruiz from Michigan. 49ers' Weston Richburg went down with a major knee injury and San Francisco could use a lineman on the interior -- their weakest part of the offensive line.

@YacovoneRick: [Jerry] Jeudy just got drafted by the Raiders. [Henry] Ruggs, [Javon] Kinlaw, [CeeDee] Lamb and Andrew Thomas are all available. What do you do?

Hi @YacovoneRick, if the 49ers' No. 1 WR is still on the board -- I firmly believe they take that player. I don't think Kyle Shanahan goes into the season with Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne as his only reliable receivers.

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, considering the 49ers have met with Ruggs at the NFL Combine and their need for a vertical threat -- I think Ruggs is their guy. So if the Raiders take Jeudy, I think the 49ers run to the podium (virtually, probably!) and turn in the card for Henry Ruggs III.

Thank you for all the questions! Follow along @akashanav and I'll try to keep answering more in the future.


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