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Niners’ Michael Crabtree, Jim Harbaugh convinced refs blew call on critical fourth-and-goal pass 02.04.13 at 10:16 am ET
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The 49ers mounted a furious comeback in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night, but they fell just short in losing to the Ravens, 34-31. There also was some controversy, as a fourth-and-goal pass fell incomplete after what might have been a hold on Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.

“It was a missed call,” stated the intended receiver, Michael Crabtree. “[The referee] missed two or three in the game, but that was it right there, the Super Bowl was right there.

“I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t know, man. What do you think? I thought it was holding.”

Should the Ravens have been called for holding on the 49ers' critical fourth-and-goal pass late in Sunday's Super Bowl?

  • Yes, it was holding (68%, 1,674 Votes)
  • Technically it might have been holding, but the refs were right to let it go in that situation (25%, 623 Votes)
  • No, it was not holding (7%, 184 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,477

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Added 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: “You know, I really want to handle this with class and grace, and we had several opportunities in this game. We didn’t play our best game, and the Ravens made a lot of plays and battled back. They competed to win. But there’s no question in my mind that it was a pass interference and hold on Crabtree on the last one.”

Niners running back Frank Gore isn’t convinced the best team won.

“They got away with one,” Gore said. “We showed we were the better team. It was just a couple plays here, a couple plays there.”

Read More: Frank Gore, Jim Harbaugh, Jimmy Smith, Michael Crabtree
Post-combine mock draft 03.07.11 at 4:50 am ET
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After getting back from the combine last week with a plenty of impressions and takes on this year’s crop, it’s time we revisit the mock draft. As could probably expected, things are drastically different, including a big slide for Nick Fairley and the removal of Ryan Mallett.

The top pick remains the same (barely), but seven of the top 10 picks are different from what they were in the pre-combine mock draft.

1. Carolina (2-14) Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson If there’s one thing I came out of the combine thinking, it’s that this draft doesn’t have a sure-fire first overall pick – yet – and that the widely assumed 1 and 1a of Da’Quan Bowers and Fairley (in no particular order) will not necessarily represent this draft’s first two picks. As a result, I really wrestled at length in this spot between Bowers and UNC’s Robert Quinn. It will remain Bowers for now, or until he works out at his Pro Day, but Quinn was very impressive at the combine and despite not playing last season due to a suspension may be the best pass-rusher in this draft. The coolest thing about the possibility of Quinn going in the top slot? If he becomes the guy, the last two first overall picks (Sam Bradford, 2010) will have combined for just three games in their draft years.

LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson impressed at the combine. (AP)

2. Denver (4-12) Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Another thing I learned (or became convinced of after initially suspecting it), is that there is a clear-cut best player in this draft, and by a decent margin. That player is Patrick Peterson. Broncos fans have long been treated to having an elite corner in Champ Bailey, and Peterson is the best cornerback prospect to come out in years. He absolutely crushed it at the combine, running a 4.34 40 and looking fantastic in positional drills. I repeat: Patrick Peterson is the best player in this draft.

3. Buffalo (4-12) Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Miller is the real deal and would give the Bills the help at outside linebacker they so desperately need after two seasons of confirmation that Aaron Maybin is not the answer to their pass-rush woes. An experienced outside linebacker, he holds a real edge over tweeners for teams looking for more of a sure thing. His 4.53 40-yard dash time was second only to Dontay Moch for the best among the outside linebacker prospects.

4. Cincinnati (4-12) ) Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri Boy, that Carson Palmer sure doesn’t like the Bengals, huh? Palmer hasn’t spoken on the record since demanding a trade from the organization, and the recent news that he’s banked $80 million and is ready to retire might mean the Bengals should start looking for their next quarterback. This might be a little high for Gabbert, but he’s the best signal-caller in this draft and is far less of a project than Cam Newton.

5. Arizona (5-11) Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina He came off as intelligent and – to a degree – accountable for his actions (accepting jewelry from an agent) that led to his season-long suspension, and that realistically is the only thing that could have kept Quinn from being considered a top prospect in this draft. Though he hasn’t played since his 11-sack sophomore season, he shouldn’t fall out of the top five as he continues to help teams cross out character concerns.

6. Cleveland (5-11) Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn This might not be the farthest Fairley ends up falling. He showed up at the combine shorter and slimmer than many had him as being, so 3-4 teams won’t have a place for the 6-foot-3, 291-pound defensive lineman. He would, however, be perfect for a team like the Browns, who are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Fairley made a good impression on the media folk, but there are still big questions about his motor.

7. San Francisco (6-10) Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama Dareus is the best five-technique prospect in the draft, and he did nothing to make anyone think otherwise at the combine. He’s experienced in Nick Saban’s 3-4, so if he’s available, the 49ers would be wise to snatch him up. They have a couple of questions on their defensive line, and this would answer one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Aaron Williams, Akeem Ayers, Aldon Smith
If the Pats keep drafting cornerbacks the way they do, Miami’s Brandon Harris fits the mold 02.27.11 at 11:52 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Would the Patriots spend another pick on a cornerback?

Brandon Harris doesn't mind being considered undersized. (WEEI.com photo)

Despite having already drafted Devin McCourty (first round, 2010), Darius Butler (second round, 2009) and Terrence Wheatley (second round, 2008; released last season), it isn’t far-fetched that the Pats could spend one of their first four picks, all of which are in the first two rounds, on a corner. With Leigh Bodden returning from shoulder surgery and Butler taking a step backwards in his development as a second-year player, the argument could be made that the Pats could stand to add an impact player at the position.

This year’s cornerback class boasts top 10 talents in LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara, but there is a solid group of corners that follow those two, including Miami’s Brandon Harris. Despite declaring for the draft after his junior season, he is very experienced, having been a three-year starter.

“Being able to be a three-year starter, it gives me a whole lot of confidence,” Harris said Sunday. “I came into Miami as a freshman and was able to earn a starting spot in playing there an getting a lot of experience playing against a lot of big-time college players. Every year my confidence rose. I’m at the point right now that my confidence is so high and I believe in myself a ton.

“I would definitely consider myself a shutdown corner,” he added when asked.

Depending on how he performs at the scouting combine, Harris could go anywhere from the middle of the first round to somewhere in the second round. He doesn’t have the size of the other second-tier cornerbacks like Colorado’s Jimmy Smith, but he’s confident in his abilities.

“Me being what they consider a smaller cornerback, I think it helps me to come from a system like Miami, where I was able to still be aggressive and be physical with some of the bigger receivers,” he said.

“A lot of them don’t expect guys of my six to be able to do [that]. I’m very quick in coverage, and I can run with the best of them, but when I’m able to use my footwork at the line and put my hands on guys, that’s something that a lot of guys are impressed by when they see me do that, being that I’m not 6-foot or 6-foot-1, or anything like that.”

Harris was measured at 5-foot-9 and 193 pounds. While that might strike some as undersized, it should be noted that none of the three cornerbacks the Pats drafted in the first two rounds over the last three years have been taller than 5-foot-10. As it stands, Bodden (6-foot-1) is the only cornerback on the roster that stands taller than 5-foot-11.

So for the speedy Harris, he just may fit the mold for the Patriots. He also spoke about the versatility he brings to the cornerback position, something that would make him more attractive were he to start out by contributing as a nickel.

“I’m able to do a lot of things on the football field. They played me in the slot a lot, and they also played me outside at corner, so I was able to move around and make a lot of plays,” Harris said. “Being able to blitz from the outside and also cover guys man-to-man in the slot. I was able to do a lot of things that they wanted me to do.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Brandon Harris, Darius Butler, Devin McCourty
Easy like Sunday morning at the NFL scouting combine at 10:13 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — We are back for a final day of media availability here at the NFL scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. While the skill position guys — quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs — work out on the field, the focus today for the media will be defensive backs, and we will do our level best to chase down as many DBs as possible, including Colorado’s Jimmy Smith, Miami’s Brandon Harris and Texas’ Aaron Williams. We will also have the details of the Sunday morning press conference of Boston College’s Mark Herzlich, who talked to the media earlier this morning.

Read More: Aaron Williams, Brandon Harris, Jimmy Smith, Mark Herzlich
An incomplete list of guys to keep an eye on in Indianapolis 02.23.11 at 9:21 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS – Finally, the combine has arrived. The groups are flying into Indianapolis, and Thursday we’ll get access to the offensive linemen, tight ends, and special teamers. Of course, that’s just part of the process, as all positions will work out and undergo major scrutiny over the weekend and into next week.

Both Ryan Williams and Brandon Harris have opportunities to stand out in their respective positions. (AP)

Make no mistake: Everybody invited is worth keeping an eye on, and everybody has something to prove. For that reason, it is impossible to really get a sense of who is worth keeping an eye on, and for that reason we’ll be posting content on as many players as possible from Lucas Oil Stadium.

Still, if you’re wondering which guys will be interesting to watch and who might have a little more to gain (or lose), here’s an incomplete list:

The other top cornerbacks: Ras I Dowling, Jimmy Smith, Aaron Williams, Brandon Harris

Quick: Who is the third-best cornerback in this draft? Everybody knows that Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara should go in the first 10 or so picks, but there are lots of other teams that may seek a corner in the first round, and the talented bunch that follows Peterson and Amukamara doesn’t have a clear-cut leader at this point. Harris should impress in the 40-yard-dash, but if Smith posts even a modest one, would his size/speed combo make him more draftable? Dowling, who could have potentially been ahead of these guys if his senior season not been derailed by injuries, just needs to prove his health.

Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

Many draftniks see Williams as the second-best back in this draft and someone capable of going in the first round. What teams might be seeing is somebody who was good as a freshman. What he hasn’t been able to produce on the field he will have to make up for in the 40-yard-dash if he wants to separate himself from the rest of the quarterbacks in the second-to-third round range.

The offensive tackles

There isn’t a consensus top offensive tackle in this draft, and the reigning Outland Trophy winner (Gabe Carimi) could go as late as the late first or early second round. That means lots of guys have the opportunity to stand out. Nate Solder’s got the size and Tyron Smith has the athleticism. Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo has the benefit of a long line of Eagle linemen before him that have found success in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Aaron Williams, Anthony Castonzo, Brandon Harris
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