With my team (San Francisco 49ers) just about out of playoff contention, I'm saying what the best of fans say in the worst of times: Just you wait 'till next year. And in football this means looking forward to the late-mid-April lull-breaker known affectionately throughout Middle-Class America as the NFL Draft.
At the tail end of a hard season, football fans dream that their teams general managers and coaching staff are carefully plotting the right moves to make the next year far, far better than the last.
With two (Count'em) first round picks - possibly both in the top 10 - my Niners have options, and some room to maneuver. So brace yourselves because here comes a series of absurd draft strategies, proposed by a rabid member of the 49er faithful.
1 - Draft up to No. 1 - Select Ndamukong Suh
We don't know which team will finish dead last this year, but assuming it's not division rival St. Louis (and this is quite an assumption - you should never do business with a division rival) A suffering team may take several picks in exchange for the big number one. Suh is a sure thing - worth number 1 money. He can strengthen the defensive front against the run, rush the passer and solidify goal line stands. Terrence Cody is another monster DT coming in this year to be aware of as well.
2 - Improve from the inside-out - Buy Oklahoma Beef
Assuming the idea of getting Suh is as far-fetched as, well, making the playoffs this year, there are plenty risks to take and lots of talent to drool about. Offenses can play smash-mouth football and pass the ball at the same time. The two actions are not mutually exclusive. And taking the top 2 tackles in the class - Russell Okung out of Oklahoma State and Trent Williams out of Oklahoma University - would be a big statement. about 700 Lbs of statement.
3 - Find 'Sweetness - part 2' - Spiller (or Best) Could be Next Walter Payton.
Lets say the Current O-line keeps getting better. Maybe Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Alex Smith and the rest of the merry men run hamstring-hill until they are carved out of wood. Nobody disputed Frank Gores ability, work ethic or personality. There's not a 49ers fan out there (if there are -are they really fans?) who would want to see the departure of our prize Bull from the backfield. But passing on talented young RBs is a no-no. Spiller is lightning. And Javid Best is a high flying end zone detector. I like to throw in the Idea that the team could perhaps (big perhaps) trade for Reggie Bush - Alex Smith's high-school teammate - who also has a knack for producing spectacular plays to find the end zone. A finesse back of this stock could compliment Gore's power rushing very, very nicely.
4 - D-Fense! The Taylor Mays and Brandon Spikes scenario
Lets falesly assume the offense needs no help. Yes, a fun exercise I'm sure. But where could the 49ers turn to make a pretty darn good defense even better? How about a safety out of USC? I can think of a few times in history that has been successful. Maybe a LB from Florida? I'd bet he's got a tiny bit of speed and NFL potential. I don't want to play around in this area too much - this is Mike Singletary territory!
5 - Swing for the fences - Tim Tebow could be a Legend in the making.
In spite of his awful record this year as a starter (Alex Smith is what and what?) the 49ers have figured out that they do in fact already have a QB. Not the best, but very functional. Now lets imagine adding a stronger, tougher, left-handed apprentice to serve as a slash-back. Someone whose attitude is something to the extent of 'never surrender, never give up' and who 'will work harder than you're ever known possible.'
You could do a lot with a player like that. The presence of such an athlete in the locker room does a lot for a team. And best of all, it might not even cost a top 20 pick. Hand it off. Direct snap. Double pass. Pick your poison.
Of course the truth is there are many ways the first round could go. Chances are none of my suggestions will be used. But it's not too early to start dreaming.