San Francisco is about to label Aubrayo Franklin as their franchise player this off-season - a very good move considering the talent he brings to the middle of the defense. His ability to play above and beyond the call at nose-tackle is impressive to begin, and then he makes the big play.
Undisputed all-pro Patrick Willis and other members of the defense have had nothing but good things to say about Franklin and his ability to help the defense at a position not meant to produce glamorous stats.
Franklin made his biggest impression to me, however, on a Thursday Night against Chicago. Cody dropped back to shallow coverage and made one of the 49ers 5 interceptions of the night. Now, having played a little Nose-guard myself, I understand the rarity of this; it is not a position known for it's hands. Nevertheless, it sure can be helpful in red-zone situations, as we discovered that chilly night.
Now, that said, Franklin has the following knocks against: he is undersized, he is almost 30, he cost $7million a year, and he apparently can't be easily signed to a multi-year deal.
Enter Terrance Cody - I think I've mentioned him before. Over-sized, under-valued, and off-the-hook. Did I mention BCS National Champion? Likely second-round pick, possibly dropping to the third, lowering his starting salary to, well, a lot less than $7-million, that's certain. Cody could possibly be signed for 4-5 years, increasing pay annually. By the way, he also pretends to be a ridiculously big fullback around the red-zone in his spare time. Really, he's the closest thing anybody has seen to William Perry for quite some time.
Knocks on Cody? He's too big. He can't Jump rope for more than a few minutes, and thus won't be able to play every snap. He could, in all seriousness, eat his way out of a career in the NFL.
He could learn a thing or two from Aubrayo Franklin. He could play as mean and nasty as it takes to get ahead in the NFL. He could run hamstring hill until Mike Singletary gets tired. He could earn his eventual 'franchise-player' designation and make his own $7-8 million annually, have all-pro linebackers praising his contribution, and make plays worthy of a highlight reel from an unspectacular position.
My point is that Franklin and Cody are not mutually exclusive, and that SF can benefit from having both players on the roster (and potentially both on the field.)
Ideally, Franklin's tenacious work ethic rubs off on Cody and Cody progressively plays more snaps per game - but as long as I'm dreaming, ideally SF wins a sixth Superbowl soon.