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49ers post-2014 NFL Draft Q&A: What happens to Frank Gore?

Carlos Hyde
Carlos Hyde
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I went to Twitter and asked for your questions on the 49ers now that the draft has been done. Here are my answers:

From @Ukidrake123: Which cornerback do you see stepping in and filling the No. 1 role opposite of [Tramaine Brock]? There are a lot of options.

You are very correct on that question with several CBs being added via the draft and free agency combined. Obviously first-round pick Jimmie Ward will be developed into the nickel CB role, while Kenneth Acker will be competing for time on special teams. The best bet right now to start is Chris Culliver, a cornerback whom the coaching staff has liked since his first arrival in 2011. Yes, he is coming off a torn ACL and legal troubles, but on the field he showed he can cover WRs well. His last game in Super Bowl XLVI was poor, but it's expected there will be a rebound season for him.

If Culliver struggles in camp or is in trouble, the 49ers would hope fourth-round draft pick Dontae Johnson becomes the starting CB. He has the mold of an NFL CB with a large frame and a physical attitude, but the coaching staff will need to develop him quickly if he wants to make an immediate impact.

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From @Jason_Galvin: What's the RB situation? [LaMichael James] on the block? [Frank Gore's] last year? [Marcus] Lattimore not recovering as expected? Kendall [Hunter] not extended?

In short, the addition of Carlos Hyde could spell the end of LaMichael James. The former second-round pick in 2012 has been disgruntled at his lack of playing time and has only seen a handful of snaps on offense in 2013. This also means it should be Frank Gore's last season (who just turned 31) in a 49ers uniform as his contract ends this year. Hyde brings a similar style of being a downhill runner and he will get to learn under the veteran running back himself.

As for Marcus Lattimore and Kendall Hunter, it's up in the air. However, I expect both players to make the team along with Gore and Hyde. Hunter's role on offense could be reduced if the team likes what they see in Lattimore and Hyde, but he will still be playing on special teams. It would not be surprising if 2014 is Hunter's last year with the 49ers as his contract ends like Gore. The 49ers have taken running back in each of the last six NFL Drafts and these picks appear to be long-term ones for 2015 and beyond.

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From @troy_vr: I would think contract talk with @Kaepernick7 has to be a topic. Any idea if that is gonna happen soon?

General Manager Trent Baalke said last March that he wants an extension for Colin Kaepernick by training camp, which would be the last week of July. The 49ers are still waiting for the investigation on the 'suspicious incident' in Miami to be completed, but a deal should get done before the season starts.

The best thing for the team is to give Kaepernick a short term extension of two or three years rather than splurge. It isn't because he hasn't proven anything, but he didn't take the next step to being the great quarterback they envisioned last year. The easiest thing for him to do is point out the team's win and loss record, but the passing game was lacking at times and the defense would carry the team from what I've seen.

It's highly doubtful that Kaepernick will "gamble on himself" like Joe Flacco did in his contract year in attempts to win a Super Bowl. If that happens, the 49ers will be paying top-5 money with their backs against the wall, which wouldn't be good in the long term financially even though they would win a Super Bowl.