06 May Interview with Alex Rollins of Niners Nation
Throughout last season, I found this channel on YouTube that posted fantastic NFL breakdowns. Immediately I subscribed — I’m all for adding as much high quality 49ers content into my life! After a few weeks of sharing new videos on Twitter, I happened to run across a name on my timeline that sounded very familiar: Alex Rollins. Now where have I heard that name before? After clicking on his profile, I was surprised to find out this was the same guy whose videos I had been watching and sharing the last couple of weeks, and he’s a contributor of Niners Nation!
I was able to catch up with Alex after the 2020 NFL Draft to get his thoughts on the 49ers’ haul. Check out our interview below, and be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel! You don’t want to miss his videos, trust me!
First & foremost, what did you think of the 49ers draft?
I was jumping up and down for Jeudy when the 49ers came on the board, I thought he was the perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and thought he was the perfect complement to Deebo Samuel.
A lot of people are mad they passed up on Lamb & Jeudy to take Kinlaw. Do you think they made the right choice?
Even though I was hoping for Jeudy, I really like the Kinlaw pick. I think if you look at position scarcity and positional draft value, there are way less Javon-Kinlaw-lookin guys than wide receivers in general. The 49ers (at least not yet) aren’t a spread you out, throw the ball 40 times a game team. So the investment in a DT made sense — especially with their draft classes the last several years.
What traits does Brandon Aiyuk have that drives an offensive-minded head coach like Kyle to trade up to ensure they snag him?
Yes, I was definitely surprised that Shanahan valued Brandon Aiyuk and CeeDee Lamb about even, and over both Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. I feel like Aiyuk is already so similar to Deebo, that it wasn’t the most conventional way to build an offense. However, Shanahan has an unconventional offense — and it’s clear he wants versatile, do-it-all type guys. He knows how to get Aiyuk the ball in space, and that’s his bread and butter. I think the WR screen, jet sweep and those fake counter, X end-around plays where Deebo was getting the handoffs will now be even deadlier with another threat like Aiyuk out on the field.
Is the goal for Aiyuk to complement Deebo, or to eventually surpass him as the #1 WR? How do their draft spots and politics come into play?
I don’t think the 49ers as an organization are too worried about draft position, especially when it’s that close. I think we see that more with teams with flimsier ownership and less stability at GM/Coach, but with the long term deals and success that Shanahan and Lynch have, I’m confident the better talent will ultimately win out.
Sherman has talked about being open to move to safety when the time is right, do you think that happens while he is with SF?
The zone style and specific technique Sherman plays does allow him to hold his CB position for longer than other players. His physicality and length isn’t going away, his technique calls for him to stand in during the wide receiver’s release, then get hands on him. If he was a Darrelle-Revis-type island cornerback, I’d expect the move to happen earlier since that type of position calls for more quick twitch and speed abilities.
The offensive line would’ve taken a big hit with the loss of Joe Staley. However, with the addition of Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams, do you think the OL gets better/stays the same/takes a step back? Is there concern there with how long Williams has been off the field?
I’m always concerned when a player misses that much time, the NFL is just such an ultra competitive league. We’ve seen time and time again, a player just can’t replicate the speed and intensity during a year away from the game. However, Trent Williams is old enough where I feel more comfortable with him adapting to that time off. Plus the fact that he is familiar with Shanahan’s offensive system from their time together in Washington definitely helps.
Last question — when can we expect your next video, & can you give us any hints at what to expect?
This week’s episode will be on Todd Gurley, I’m looking to find out what happened, how much was his fault and can he still play? For my next 49ers videos, I’m looking forward to doing a Kinlaw episode. That dude’s a monster! I want to find out just how bad of a man this guy really is.