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Draft review: San Francisco 49ers

Eric Reid AP

After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The San Francisco 49ers.

What they needed: Safety, nose tackle, tight end, running back, cornerback.

Who they got:
Round 1: Eric Reid, S, LSU
Round 2: Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State; Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
Round 3: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
Round 4: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech; Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Round 5: Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama
Round 6: Nick Moody, OLB, Florida State
Round 7: B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida; Carter Bykowski, T, Iowa State; Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers

Where they hit: The 49ers had one major pressing need to fill heading into the draft at the safety position and got the player they wanted with their first selection. San Francisco traded up to select LSU safety Eric Reid to replace the departed Dashon Goldson. A replacement for Delanie Walker was also a necessity and the 49ers traded up again (one spot in front of division rival Seattle) to select Rice right end Vance McDonald. Depth along the defensive line was also needed and the 49ers expended three of their 11 selections on the defensive front.

Where they missed: We felt the 49ers also needed to find a bigger body to replace Isaac Sopoaga at the nose tackle position. Lamar Divens is the only tackle on the roster with the size usually expected of a nose tackle in a 3-4 front. The selections of “Tank” Carradine and Corey Lemonier could give the 49ers flexibility to move others inside. Quinton Dial could get an opportunity there as well. San Francisco also could have chosen to add to the cornerback position earlier than the seventh round.

Impact rookies: Reid should be expected to start from day one alongside Donte Whitner. McDonald should work into the 49ers two tight end sets alongside Vernon Davis. Carradine and receiver Quinton Patton could get opportunities to contribute as well. With most players returning from a Super Bowl appearance last season, there won’t be many chances for the rookie class to find ways onto the field.

Long-term prospects: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was a selection with an eye to the future for San Francisco. Frank Gore turns 30 next month and running backs have a history of falling of a cliff when they reach that age. With Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon on the roster as well, the 49ers can stash Lattimore to allow him the time to fully recover from the horrific knee injury suffered last year. They don’t need him to be a factor this year but could be the long-term replacement for Gore. His talent is undeniable. Whether he can fully recover from a second major knee injury is the question.

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Darian Stewart will go to the Pro Bowl

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots has a reception for a first down and is hit by free safety Darian Stewart #26  and strong safety T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 18, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos secondary will be well represented at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.

The Broncos announced on Tuesday that safety Darian Stewart has been named to the game as a replacement for Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Stewart will join cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris on the AFC roster, leaving safety T.J. Ward as the only regular member of the starting lineup who has not gotten the nod. Linebacker Von Miller is also on the team.

It will be the first Pro Bowl appearance for Stewart, who finished his second season with the Broncos after five seasons with the Rams and Ravens. He had 68 tackles, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while starting all 16 games.

Stewart’s stay in Denver will continue beyond this season as he signed a four-year extension with the team during the season.

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Zach Zenner will spend his offseason doing medical research

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Zach Zenner #34 of the Detroit Lions looks for yards during a run against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 23, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan Detroit won the game 20-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Lions running back Zach Zenner was at South Dakota State, people told him he wouldn’t make it in the NFL, and so he majored in biology with a plan to start medical school when his college career ended.

But Zenner, who said when he was in college that he just hoped to make an NFL practice squad before becoming a surgeon, is now playing well enough for the Lions that he expects to have a long NFL career ahead of him.

Still, Zenner has decided to keep his medical options open. With the idea that he might still become a doctor some day, Zenner is working on a medical research project, studying ultrasounds of rat arteries, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit.

“I think it’s important to [do these kind of projects], not only for the career aspect of it — kind of building the resume — but also, mentally, for the brain,” Zenner told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a totally different type of mental exercise than preparing for a defense. You can make similarities between the two in just the fact that football isn’t just a running straight, ramming your head against brick wall over and over. [There are] a lot of mental aspects to football, as well, but it’s just totally different from that.”

Zenner now says he isn’t sure whether he’ll go to medical school. It’s entirely possible that by the time he retires from football he’ll have enough money that he doesn’t have to work again, and that he’ll be pretty old to just be starting in a field that requires several years of schooling. But with his offseason work, he’s keeping his options open.

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Report: Clyde Simmons joining Browns coaching staff

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 22:  Defensive end Clyde Simmons #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles rushes the passer of the Arizona Cardinals in Sun Devil Stadium on December 22, 1990 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Eagels won 23-21.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns brought Gregg Williams in from the Rams to be their defensive coordinator and one of Williams’ assistants in Los Angeles will reportedly be making the trip with him.

Alex Marvez of Sporting News reports that Clyde Simmons will be joining the Browns coaching staff. Simmons spent the last five years as the assistant defensive line coach in the Rams.

Marvez reports that he will be coaching that position group with the Browns as well, although neither defensive line coach Robert Nunn nor assistant defensive line coach Ken Delgado were among the four defensive coaches relieved of their duties earlier this month.

The Rams job was Simmons’ first position on an NFL staff. He spent 15 years as an NFL player for the Eagles, Cardinals, Jaguars, Bengals and Bears and ranks 20th in NFL history with 121.5 sacks.

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Martavis Bryant applies for reinstatement

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 09:  Martavis Bryant #10 of the Pittsburg Steelers runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Benglas at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers have one receiver in a bit of hot water with his coach, but they have another one who is trying to work his way back into the good graces.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, suspended Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant has applied to the league for reinstatement. The process can take some time for the league to process (see Aldon Smith), so this simply sets the stage for a potential return next season.

Bryant was suspended for a year for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Steelers made their disappointment with Bryant clear, so it’s not automatic that they’re going to want to bother with him.

They’re not overburdened with depth without him, but they’re also proving by still being on the field in January that his absence didn’t kill their chances.

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Steelers expect James Harrison to be limited in practice

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Outside linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off of the field with a Sunday Night Football game ball following the Steelers victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) Getty Images

The big headline from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference will be about his response to wide receiver Antonio Brown’s decision to film the scene inside the team’s locker room after they beat the Chiefs, but there was also information about the health of some of the team’s players.

Tomlin said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that linebacker James Harrison is expected to be limited this week because of shoulder and triceps injuries. The veteran has been playing well in the first two weeks of the postseason and has 2.5 sacks to go with the crucial holding penalty he drew against Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher on a fourth quarter two-point conversion.

Tomlin also said that safety Sean Davis continues to be bothered by a shoulder injury, but it didn’t stop him from practicing in full last week or playing against the Chiefs. The rookie moved into the starting lineup down the stretch and has helped push the defense to a better place it was early in the year.

The final update was more of a reaffirmation of the status quo as Tomlin confirmed tight end Ladarius Green remains in the concussion protocol.

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Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl stepping down

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Carolina Panthers offensive assistant Ricky Proehl watches the action from the sidelines during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Panthers defeated the Jaguars 16-10.  (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl has informed the team that he plans to resign.

Per the Panthers’ official website, Proehl is stepping down for family reasons. He has two sons who will be playing college football next fall.

Proehl spent six years with the Panthers, the last four as wide receivers coach. He had a 17-year career as a player and played three seasons with the Panthers.

Proehl caught 669 passes and 54 touchdowns passes in his career while playing for the Cardinals, Seahawks, Bears, Panthers, Rams and Colts.

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Broncos add Marcus Robertson as defensive backs coach

NASHVILLE, TN - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Marcus Robertson of the Tennessee Titans poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s not a head coaching job or a coordinator post, but Marcus Robertson just walked into a pretty good gig.

According to Mike Klis of KUSA, Robertson will be named the Broncos defensive backs coach, as part of their makeover on that side of the ball under new coach Vance Joseph.

Robertson has been with the Raiders the last three seasons, and has also coached with the Lions and Titans. New Broncos coordinator Joe Woods brought him on staff in Oakland, so there’s familiarity there.

Robertson also had a 12-year career as a player, with the Oilers/Titans and the Seahawks.

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Mike Tomlin: I regret my language, will discipline Antonio Brown

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 25:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers shakes hands with head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers during warmups before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is sorry he called the Patriots “a–holes” and sorry that Steelers receiver Antonio Brown chose to film Tomlin saying it and broadcast it for the world.

Commenting for the first time on Brown’s bizarre decision to broadcast the Steeler’s postgame locker room on Facebook Live on Sunday night, Tomlin said today that he is sorry for the language he uses, and wishes he hadn’t been shown that way in his role as the leader of the Steelers.

“The language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”

Tomlin also said the Steelers will issue an internal punishment to Brown, and he indicated he thinks the league may punish Brown as well.

“It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy and league policy,” Tomlin said. “He’s a great player, respected in the locker room, but incidents such as this don’t help him in that regard.”

Tomlin said he hasn’t yet spoken to Brown about the matter, but will deal with it and then move on to preparing for the Patriots.

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Jordy Nelson’s chance to play this week is very small

Jordy Nelson AP

The Packers were hoping to keep playing long enough to get Jordy Nelson back on the field. It appears they’re going to have to get to the Super Bowl to do that.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, a source said Nelson’s chance to return for the NFC Championship Game exists, but was a very small one.

Nelson suffered broken ribs in the Wild Card win over the Giants, and was inactive last week. There was some suggestion that he might try to practice last Saturday, but the Packers shut him down on Friday.

He apparently has no internal injuries, but it’s an obviously painful injury which has kept him from doing anything beyond the rehab work with the team’s athletic training staff.

Nelson led the Packers with 97 catches for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns, and they obviously miss him. But their receiving corps and tight end Jared Cook were able to take up the slack.

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Philip Rivers isn’t trying to get out of L.A. move

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01:   Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers heads down the tunnel to warm up ahead of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs before a game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 1, 2017 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Two years ago, there were reports suggesting that Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers didn’t want to move his ever-growing family to Los Angeles. Then, after weeks of rumors regarding a potential trade to Tennessee, which would have put him not far from his Alabama hometown, Rivers signed a four-year, $83.25 million contract, extending his commitment to the team through 2019.

The contract was signed at a time when he knew a move to L.A. was very possible, if not likely. Which is more than enough proof to show he’s all in with the relocation.

If that wasn’t enough, his interview from last week with XTRA 1360 in San Diego should be.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s this: A source with knowledge of the situation says that a new report that he’s not interested in moving to L.A. and that the 49ers are interested in securing his services is not true. (Really, how could the 49ers be interested in Rivers when they currently don’t have a coach or a General Manager?)

Unless Rivers belongs in L.A. to pursue a career in acting, his comments from last week came off as honest and genuine and effusive about playing in Los Angeles for the balance of his career, whatever it may be.

“I’m not gonna be there for 13 years but I’m gonna give ’em all I’ve got in the short time I have left,” Rivers said.

He has 35 million reasons to do that — along with $13.5 million in previously-paid bonus money.

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Jaguars interviewing Mike Nolan for position coach gig

mike-nolan-jpg_1012772c Getty Images

As it turns out, Chip Kelly’s not the only former 49ers head coach interviewing with the Jaguars.

According to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News, Mike Nolan has talked to the Jaguars about a linebackers coach job.

Nolan, 57, coached linebackers for the Chargers last year, after a three-year stint as defensive coordinator for the Falcons.

He had an 18-37 record with the 49ers and was fired midway through the 2008 season. That’s still better than the 2-14 Kelly put on the board last year in his one year in San Francisco. He has interviewed for the Jacksonville offensive coordinator job.

The Jaguars are also adding former Clemson assistant coach Marion Hobby to work with their defensive line, but he never coached the 49ers.

So if anyone knows where Jim Tomsula is at the moment, let us know.

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Report: Bills to interview Greg Olson Thursday, Brad Childress not likely for OC

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 30:   Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (L), #7 Chad Henne, and Assistant coach Greg Olson talk during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at EverBank Field on August 30, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

A report over the weekend pegged Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Brad Childress and former Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson as candidates to take the offensive coordinator job on new Bills head coach Sean McDermott’s staff.

Things appear to be moving forward with Olson. Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports that Olson will interview with the team on Thursday.

If Olson were to get hired by the Bills, it would be his sixth tour of duty as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. The most recent stint ended before the end of his second season in Jacksonville when the Jaguars fired him in October as the unit in general and quarterback Blake Bortles failed to build on the growth they showed in 2015.

A bid for Childress may not get off the ground. Carucci reports that it appears the former Vikings head coach is “out of the picture” for a gig in Buffalo.

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Jerry Jones: I “really believe” Tony Romo will be in a Super Bowl

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 06:  (2ndL-R) Dallas Cowboys Owner / President / General Manager Jerry Jones, NFL player Tony Romo, and AXS TV Chairman, CEO, and President Mark Cuban attend the DirecTV Super Saturday Night co-hosted by Mark Cuban's AXS TV at Pier 70 on February 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for DirecTV) Getty Images

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t ready to say goodbye to Tony Romo or anything else about how things will play out for the quarterback over the course of the offseason, but he’s not wavering from one of his longest-held convictions about the quarterback.

During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, Jones reiterated his postgame comments about it not being the time to really delve into questions about what’s next for Romo. He was willing to discuss his belief that “Romo is capable of doing” what Aaron Rodgers did against the Cowboys on Sunday and that Romo’s future includes a trip to the Super Bowl.

“I really believe that Tony Romo will play in a Super Bowl,” Jones said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Now try that one on. I know that if he’s healthy enough, he’ll be in a Super Bowl. I strongly believe that.”

The questions of where Romo will get the chance to prove Jones correct and how he’ll get there remain unanswered and Jones was firm about them remaining unanswered until he’s ready to make “my decision” about the quarterback’s future.

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Roger Goodell continues to avoid New England

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stands on the field prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahwaks at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attended Saturday’s game in Atlanta, so with the two conference championship games set for Atlanta and New England on Sunday, it would make sense for Goodell to go to Gillette Stadium to visit another league franchise.

But Goodell won’t be in New England. He will attend the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta, the league confirmed to Mike Reiss of ESPN. Goodell still hasn’t attended a game in New England since the playoffs after the 2014 season, when he went to both the divisional round and AFC Championship games at Gillette Stadium.

The obvious reason is that Goodell would face a frosty reception from the Patriots and their fans. After suspending Tom Brady and docking the Patriots’ first-round draft pick this year for Deflategate, Goodell is Public Enemy No. 1 in New England. He would be booed mercilessly by Patriots fans if he showed his face in New England.

And so if we’re going to see a face-to-face meeting between Goodell and Brady, it will only come in Houston, if the Patriots win the Super Bowl and Goodell is there on the podium to congratulate the winners after the game. That would be an awkward moment for Goodell, and a moment of vindication for the Patriots.

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Texans don’t want to lose Romeo Crennel

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22:  Defensive coordinator Romeo Crenne of the Houston Texans waits in the bench area during their game against the Denver Broncos at  NRG Stadium on August 22, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans allowed the least yards of any team in the NFL during the regular season, which was the main reason why they were able to win the AFC South and a playoff game despite shoddy quarterback play and the 28th-most points in the league.

It’s also the easy explanation for why they’d prefer not to make a change at defensive coordinator heading into the 2017 season. Romeo Crennel agreed to a three-year deal with the team in 2014, which means he could make a move if he so desired. Coach Bill O’Brien hopes that’s not the case.

“I think Romeo has done a great job,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I know we would love to have him back. I can tell you Romeo is a great coach and just means a lot to me personally. We would love to have Romeo back here.”

The Texans defense thrived this season despite playing without defensive end J.J. Watt for almost the entire year and other injuries meant the team did a lot of mixing and matching on their way to the postseason. Plugging those players back into the unit along with Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and the other players who were the core of this year’s unit provides reason to believe the unit can be among the best in the league again next year.

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