On the bright side: San Francisco 49ers

January, 21, 2011
1/21/11
12:02
PM ET
The premise: We spend much of the offseason focusing on teams' problems. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. and I discussed some of those Friday during a wide-ranging conversation on the NFC West, but there were also some positives. I'm breaking out one for each team, continuing here with the San Francisco 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers

Matt Williamson: I really like their defense. Vic Fangio will have a lot to work with. They should be very good against that division. There are a lot of pieces in place. Any coordinator should be excited to take that job. I do not know enough about Fangio to break him down, but by all accounts, he is very good. He has a background with the Baltimore Ravens. If he takes a Ravens approach, I am all for it. That is promising.

Mike Sando: What about the 49ers' outside linebackers? Has that position become an area for concern?

Matt Williamson: I am higher on their outside linebackers than most are. I think Ahmad Brooks can be a player. Manny Lawson had a good year. You mix in Parys Haralson and you are good enough there. I wouldn't object if you used that first-round pick for the outside linebacker that Arizona really needs. If the 49ers did that, then all those other guys become great No. 2s at outside linebacker. But I do not see massive needs.

Mike Sando: Mel Kiper's first 2011 mock draft had the 49ers taking an outside linebacker type with the seventh overall choice. Sounds like you might go in a different direction.

Matt Williamson: I would rather take a corner than an outside linebacker if everything was equal. And I would rather go quarterback if they liked one enough. But I do not think they have tons and tons of needs. They should re-sign Aubrayo Franklin. Patrick Willis is as good as ever. Takeo Spikes had a good year. They drafted NaVorro Bowman; maybe he emerges. I think the defense is a Top 10 group.

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