With day one of the draft on the books, the 49ers gave their fans a lot to be anxious about. I had a feeling they would end up drafting two offensive linemen and I’m pretty pleased with the players we got.
I’m sure we left a lot of people wondering why the cornerback/safety position was not addressed in the first round, but I can see the logic in what we did with one exception.
I don’t feel that it was necessary to trade up to get Anthony Davis, I think he would have been there at No. 13 regardless of costing us a fourth round pick in what has been touted as the draft with the most available talent since 1983.
However, what’s done is done and this is how it will shake down in a slide show of positives, negatives, opinions, and predictions.
The addition of Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati force competition and a top level of play at all times during the season from Joe Staley, Chilo Rachal, David Baas, and Adam Snyder, because they will be fighting for playing time and a starting job.
Assuming Davis and Iupati will start, as is ideal of all first round picks, this will especially ensure that Rachal and Baas have to really put in the time and effort to give themselves the best shot at securing the spot at starting Right Guard. I don’t see Staley or Heitmann being unseated. I see Davis unseating Snyder, and Iupati and Rachal winning out as the starting guards. This is an OL that I really feel good about.
At this point, I am not feeling too great about our secondary. I have a feeling that our 49th overall pick will be used on Taylor Mays, Nate Allen, or Morgan Burnett if any are available. As for a time frame for either of these guys relieving Michael Lewis at SS, or start at FS to allow Goldson to move to his more natural position of SS, time will tell.
This will enable the team to make a well-educated, all-bases-covered decision on what we do about a long-term franchise QB next year. It gives Alex Smith and David Carr a fighting chance to prove their worth.
Both of these guys throughout their careers have had problems with adequate protection throughout their early careers, especially Carr. The 49ers have invested a lot in Smith, and would definitely feel better about a decision to let him go if he doesn’t perform at a level that they feel good about. Case in point, compare Matt Cassel’s performances with the Patriots and then with the Chiefs.
Travis LaBoy may help, he may not, but I do think that it’s foolish to count on it. His career high season sack total would have tied for best on the team last year, but this guy was out of football for 2009.
As addressed on the previous Negative slide, I think that our 49th pick will be used for a safety. I hope that if there is a capable pass rusher available that we will take him instead. An intense pass rush will make your secondary better, especially Nate Clements because it compensates for his depleting speed.
The ball skills are definitely there as long as he doesn’t have to chase a 4.4 guy down the sidelines.
Our third-down conversion rate last year was awful in most games. I look for that to take an immediate turn this year because defenses will have to commit more people to stopping a short run.
Keep your eye on production from Glenn Coffee, Frank Gore, and Tedd Ginn Jr.
Glenn Coffee averaged 2.7 yards per carry last year during the regular season. Being an Alabama fan myself and having extensively watched this guy in college, I can tell you that he is dangerous when he gets past the line of scrimmage, and the 49ers were not giving him consistent opportunities to get there due to poor blocking.
Look up his highlights on YouTube. Many people forgot that this guy led the nation in TD runs over 40 yards his last year in college. He had an outstanding offensive line blocking for him in college, and now he will have a similar level of talent in the trenches.
Ted Ginn Jr. has electric speed, and we now have a solid enough OL to run him on reverses or find another way to get him the ball short with pulling guards and let him use his speed.
Remember when Frank Gore called for Moran Norris’s return to the team? While a high complement based on his stats while the FB was there, I think Gore slightly overlooked a more important reason for that success. There was a guy named Larry Allen on the line for that year who has gone down as one of the best guards ever to play professional football. Gore has to be stoked about Iupati.
Rest of the draft: There’s a couple players that I hope the 49ers consider bringing in. I think Javier Arenas from Alabama is a solid pick at 79 if he’s available. This is a guy who can contribute at any athlete position and is very difficult to tackle. He would be a good slot or nickel corner. Jason Worilds, Greg Hardy, or Eric Norwood are other viable options here. As for the seventh round, consult your dart boards with a blind fold.
Summary: I think it’s foolish to argue the fact that the 49ers are a team in the process of rebuilding. Nobody realistically expects them to win the Super Bowl this year. With Kurt Warner retired, I do have my eye on the NFC West crown, however that is not anticipated to be that high of an honor this year.
I applaud the 49ers for taking a solid step to shore up at offensive line and give them an ability to REALLY evaluate what Alex Smith, David Carr, and Glenn Coffee bring to the table and then make more informed decisions regarding their futures.