AN OPPOSING SCOUT'S VIEW
I don't know if I'd play Alex Smith early. He's a special kid, but I don't think it's smart to play a rookie quarterback behind a suspect line--which is what they have. If he takes too much of a pounding, it could rock his confidence.... The guy who has to play big for them up front is Jonas Jennings. They overpaid for him, but he's probably among the top 15 tackles in the league.... I don't know if Kevan Barlow will ever be a great running back. He has a lot of talent, but he's too immature.... There really isn't much at receiver. Arnaz Battle will probably start, but he's more of a third or fourth receiver.... I can see Andre Carter really struggling in the 3--4 defense. It will be very hard for him to adjust to standing up after putting his hand on the ground his entire life. He's not that kind of athlete.... Bryant Young should be a valuable player for them. He's not the inside pass-rushing threat he used to be, but he still plays hard. He'll be able to keep blockers off those linebackers.... Time will tell how Mike Rumph handles free safety. After getting torched at cornerback for the last three years, he has to show that he can recognize formations and get people into the right places.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2004 statistics
2004 RECORD: 2--14
NFL RANK (rush/pass/total): OFFENSE 30/20/26 DEFENSE 20/19/24
COACH: Mike Nolan; first season with San Francisco (0--0 in NFL)