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Monday, March 1, 2010
Mailbag: Rolle, McClain and the 49ers

By Mike Sando

Rolando from Clovis, Calif., says the 49ers should pursue Antrel Rolle in free agency, draft an offensive tackle and linebacker in the first round -- Alabama's Rolando McClain or Michigan's Brandon Graham were suggestions -- before using a second-round choice for Jahvid Best or Ryan Mathews. He says the 49ers could then field a top-three defense.

Mike Sando: Mathews is more of a power runner, so I might question the fit. Best has some concussion concerns that could be troubling.

Rolle is a good player, but I don't think he'll be appealing enough to the 49ers for them to depart from their stated intention, which is to cultivate their own talent. Rolle could have more value to the Cardinals than he has to another team. Remember, the 49ers found safety Dashon Goldson in the fourth round a few years ago and they seem pretty happy with his first season as a starting safety. This draft has some promising safeties. Perhaps the 49ers can draft one to pair with Goldson. Also, they might want more of a strong safety, although the distinction has become less important in general.

I'll need some convincing before thinking McClain would be a great investment for the 49ers in the first round. Yes, McClain appears to be a good fit as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. Yes, the 49ers could use another inside linebacker to pair with Patrick Willis (Takeo Spikes is winding down). But one of those inside linebackers is coming off the field on passing downs and it's not going to be Willis. Just something to consider when determining how much to value a player drafted in the first round.