making any reactionary moves meant as a clear response to what the Rams have done. The temptation when a division rival adds talent the way the Rams have would be to mortgage the future in an effort to counter. Such an approach might offer a quick fix at the expense of consistency. But Shanahan is quick to remind that the Niners' goal is to compete with the Rams not only in 2018, but beyond.
“[Suh] is a good player, there’s a lot of good players in this league," Shanahan said. "I know one of the best is there, too, with [Aaron] Donald, so it’s gonna be a huge challenge. I [url=http://www.shopjaguarsnfljerseys.com/Paul-Posluszny-Jersey]http://www.shopjaguarsnfljerseys.com/Paul-Posluszny-Jersey[/url] was messing with [Rams coach] Sean [McVay] about it, but I’m sure they’re gonna draft some more good ones also. We plan on improving our team, which I think we’ve done, and I think it’s gonna be a challenge this year, and I think it's gonna be a challenge for years to come. And we look forward to it.”
Of course, before the Niners can compete with the Rams for a division crown, they must first climb out of the NFC West basement. Even after finishing last season with five consecutive wins, the 49ers still finished last in the division for the third straight year. There's plenty of optimism around the team based on that finish and on what Garoppolo could do with a full offseason to learn Shanahan's offense.
Still, the Niners' roster needs plenty of work, something general manager John Lynch and Shanahan have not lost sight of even as buzz around their team builds. Until proven otherwise, the Rams wear the crown and have earned the right to be division favorites. And while Seattle looks to rebuild around quarterback Russell Wilson and Arizona seeks a quarterback capable of taking a solid roster back into contention, Shanahan is
looking forward to the challenge that awaits as the NFC West reclaims its place as one of the NFL's toughest neighborhoods. “I think we've got four good teams in our division," Shanahan said. "I know Arizona and Seattle have been at it for a while, and I’m not gonna act like they’re not gonna be there every year also. There’s four good organizations, good coaches, good players. It’s a tough division to be in, but it makes it more fun also.”
how the starting two guys end up," Shanahan said. "They've got to be able to play both. We practice everybody at every spot. Once people do end up becoming the for-sure starter or the competition is over, then you'll leave them at one spot, but you're always mixing around because you can only dress a certain amount on game day and you've got to be very versatile."
If one were to look solely at the draft status of those three guards, the easy conclusion would be that the Niners are set at the position. The reality, however, is far different. Of that trio, only Garnett is an original draft pick of the Niners, taken No. 28 overall in 2016. Tomlinson came to the Niners in a trade just before the start of last season after entering the league as the No. 28 pick in the 2015 draft by the Detroit Lions.
But none of the three was drafted by the current regime of Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. Further, of the three, only Cooper profiles as a natural fit in Shanahan's outside-zone-heavy offense. That system requires guards to have the [url=http://www.officialchicagoblackhawks.com/Adidas-Brent-Seabrook-Jersey]Authentic Brent Seabrook Jersey[/url] speed and athleticism to get out in space and block [url=http://www.seahawksofficialsproshop.com/Sheldon-Richardson-Jersey]http://www.seahawksofficialsproshop.com/Sheldon-Richardson-Jersey[/url] at the second level. Last season, the 49ers allowed 43 sacks and averaged just 3.92 yards per carry between the tackles, 22nd in the league. All of which means that the Niners might not be out of the market for guard help when it comes to the NFL draft. And for as long of a shot as it might be that he falls, we can't rule out a match between San Francisco and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson should he tumble to No. 9.
Widely regarded as one of the top three-to-five players in the draft regardless of position, Nelson is projected to be off the board before then. But in Nelson's case, the positional caveat can be tossed aside because his position is very much a factor in how he'll be valued. Traditionally, the only offensive linemen to go in the top 10, let alone the top five, are tackles. Since 1988, only three guards -- including Cooper -- have gone in the top 10. Nelson will likely be No. 4 and for good reason.
A unanimous All-American as a junior, Nelson was the Fighting Irish's most valuable player in 2017. He started 36 games for [url=http://www.officialbengalsfootballstore.com/YOUTH+JEREMY+HILL+JERSEY]Authentic Jeremy Hill Jersey[/url] Notre Dame over the [url=http://www.officialauthenticredskinsstore.com/womens_kendall_fuller_jersey]Authentic Kendall Fuller Jersey[/url] past three seasons and earned a reputation for his strength, athleticism and nasty streak at 6-foot-5, 325 pounds. Nelson bench-pressed 225 pounds 35 times at the scouting combine, tied for second-most among offensive linemen. From the time Nelson was a child, he looked the part of a future professional football player. Before each season of Pop Warner football, Nelson would have to lose 20 pounds just to meet the weight requirement to play against kids two or three years older than him. To build toughness, Nelson often had to overcome his own family to achieve success in sports. With parents who were each the youngest of six kids, Nelson eventually became the youngest out of 39 nieces and nephews.
Nelson refined his athletic abilities on a basketball court, as a goalie in soccer and, of course, on the football field. His former strength coach once referred to Nelson as a "balletic grizzly bear" with a "bizarre blend of grace and power."
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