When Michael Crabtree dropped into the laps of the San Francisco 49ers at the 2009 NFL Draft, the organization probably felt compelled to send gift baskets to the nine teams that passed on the talented receiver out of Texas Tech.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper labeled Crabtree as the best playmaker available in the draft. He is a big, physical wideout with sticky hands, much like the receiving brethren of Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson before him. But unlike his predecessors, Crabtree was not selected in first three overall picks.
The two-time Biletnikoff Award winner fell through the draft cracks to the 10th spot where the Niners gleefully prodded Commissioner Goodell to walk on the stage and call Crabtree’s name as the team’s first round selection.
A couple of factors may have attributed to Crabtree’s decline in draft stock. In late February it was reported that Crabtree had suffered a stress fracture to his left foot and would need surgery to repair the damage. The procedure kept him from showcasing his skills at the NFL Combine as well as the Texas Tech Pro Day.
Some NFL teams viewed Crabtree’s untested running abilities as a caution flag. The injury, coupled with the fact that some scouts didn’t recognize Crabtree as having great top-end speed, could have driven teams to explore other options. San Francisco fans may recall another receiver in 49ers history that slipped in the 1985 Draft because of a concern with speed. His name was Jerry Rice.
The Bleacher Report constructed a set of feature interview questions for Michael Crabtree after the completion of his first NFL training camp. This is what Niner Nation wants to know:
B/R: You rewrote NCAA, Big 12 and Texas Tech receiving record books during your two-year collegiate career, yet you played quarterback in high school. Did you ever expect to be such a great wide receiver?
B/R: What were your feelings after the other Bay Area team selected Darrius Heyward-Bey as the 7th overall pick even though you were projected as the No. 1 wide receiver on Draft Day?
B/R: The stress fracture in your left foot was a concern for teams heading into the NFL Draft, are you 100 percent healthy at this point?
B/R: Do you feel like separation speed is a necessity to be an elite receiver in the NFL?
B/R: After being selected by San Francisco you have already drawn comparisons to the immortalized Jerry Rice, how do you even begin to measure up to his legacy?
B/R: The 49ers haven’t been a dynamic offensive club since the days of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. Do you think that you can help the team can attain that aura once again?
B/R: You rank third all-time with 22 receiving touchdowns in a season at the FBS level, one score less than the NFL record held by Randy Moss (23). Do you think you can have the same production at the NFL level?
B/R: Are there differences in the complexity of a college playbook versus an NFL playbook, and if so, what are they?
B/R: You are transitioning from a pass-laden spread offense to a run-heavy NFL scheme, what learning obstacles have you encountered thus far?
B/R: How has your relationship with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye developed during training camp?
B/R: What expectations do you have for yourself heading into your rookie campaign and have you set any personal goals?
B/R: You were born and raised in Texas, how are you adjusting from the style of life in the South compared to the Bay Area that offers a greater social diversity?
B/R: You were recently sponsored by Subway restaurants; can we expect to see Michael Crabtree singing the $5 Footlong tune in the near future?