The 2010 draft class added much needed depth at key positions. The depth it added will only get deeper as they gain NFL experience. Unlike recent years, I see all of our draft selections making the team.
First round picks Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati make the football world take our Oline seriously without playing their first NFL down. Big, aggressive and physical linemen, the two were hand selected by Trent Baalke and Mike Singletary. Probably neither of them will start at the beginning of the season. Certainly by the end of it they will.
Second round pick Taylor Mays brings that same physical play to the secondary. While he may not start this year, he will soon. The internet is full of his physically dominating hits. Schooled by Ronnie Lott since entering the draft Mays looks to be the starting safety alongside Goldson for many years.
Third round pick Navorro Bowman has been described as a "boom or bust pick". Mike Singletary, if anything, knows what it takes to be a linebacker. Bowman had some off-field issues that made his draft stock plummet to the third round. Singletary can motivate players. I say he'll be a boom.
Round six of the draft yielded three players. Anthony Dixon is a bruising running back who was described in college as a "one man offense". While he won't be that in the NFL he should bring Frank Gore some much needed rest without sacrificing performance.
WR Kyle Williams brings speed, speed and a little more speed to the receiving corps. With kick return skills he will serve as either our kick return specialist or a backup. His speed will force a safety to cover him deep and should open the middle up more for Davis and passes to the running backs and fullbacks ala the Jimmy Raye style.
TE Nate Byham makes the team because he is already on the same page as his OC. Last year in an interview, Jimmy Raye said he is looking for some guys to go in and bloody some noses. Nate Byham describes himself as a guy who likes to bloody noses. I rest my case. I wondered why we drafted Bear Pascoe last year and cut him. Bear is a receiving tight end and Raye is looking for more of a run blocking tight end. I think they found him.
Last but certainly not least is CB Phillip Adams. I think Phillip makes the team. He is from a small school but comes with high praises of being a physically dominating player with good skills. After he entered the draft he went to Texas to workout and improve his draft stock. I don't know where but I have my suspicions. When football practice starts at SC State I'm on that like a duck on a june bug. Possessing kick return skills himself, Phillip adds depth there too.
Two free agent acquisitions in the off-season will make immediate impact on the team's ability to win the division.
Ted Ginn was the first major free agent move giving us a kick return game and a speedy deep threat at the same time. I've read the comments as all of us have. Some say the Dolphins put him on the trading block because he's a first round bust. As a diehard Buckeye fan, all I know is when Ohio State needed a big play, it was usually Ginn that gave it to them.
Travis LaBoy gives the defense some depth as well. Coming off a season on IR it's hard to say what LaBoy will do. Being as he was released by the Cards I believe he will bring something extra to those two games. Since he is motivated to play for the Niners by being from Northern California he should be able to bring that to the rest of the games too.
Signing former first overall pick David Carr gives the 49ers some good depth at QB. Carr will be a good backup for Smith since he seems to flourish in the spread offense too. Carr took a good beating in Houston when they were a young expansion team. Like Smith extenuating circumstances may have tarnished the public's view of his talent level.
With ten more players added to the championship roster the team is now 98% complete. Who the 53rd player will be remains to be seen.