I'm browsing some sports sites like Yahoo Sports and NFL.com and decided to check on Heyward-Bey's Cross-The-Bay Rival, Michael Crabtree. The 49ers are very pleased with his work ethic and his NATURAL ability to run routes and catch the ball. Something that DHB was highly criticized about both in college and his rookie season. I know that Al Davis LOVES speed because it helps get separation from defensive backs. But so does great route running. Look at Jerry Rice. He was never the fastest guy, but he ran clean routes and could catch the ball and make plays. Thats what he did for San Fran and that what he did for us. Why wouldn't we want someone who mirrored those skill sets?
Trust me, I am NOT bashing DHB. As a matter of fact, I am very pleased to hear that he was been working so hard to improve his game. However, he is working hard to improve stuff that he should be natural for a WR at this point in his career. Of course he isn't and wont be perfect but, CATCHING the ball and RUNNING a route correctly should be kind of second nature to a wideout by now. It's not like he played basketball in college instead of football and is just learning his craft. Wait a minute, Antonio Gates did just that in college and is one of the premier TE's (receivers) in the NFL. I'm sure that he did'nt have as many problems catching and route running when he first played a down in the NFL.
I realize as well that both Tom Cable and Al Davis, wanted "high character" guys, and that Crabtree was deemed a bit of a primadonna coming out of college. The aftermath of his 5 game contract holdout didn't help his image either. But one could argue that his contract holdout was a little justified. If you're the best WR in the draft, why should you settle for alot less money just because the team that should have picked you, picked a "scrub" instead? I see both sides of that argument, but that's not really the point.
Lets talk about rookie WR production. Again, Crabtree missed the first 5 games of the regular season, not to mention all of training camp last year. However, through 11 games, he averaged 56.8 receiving yards, 3 catches per game and totalled 2 touchdowns, 48 Receptions and 625 Yards. If you multiply his average (56.8) by the 5 games he would have played, he would have gotten and extra 284 receiving yards and 15 more catches for a season total of 63 Catches for 909 Yards. I don't know about you but close to 1,000 yards in your rookie season is a hell a job.
Of course, DHB had JaMarcus throwing to him as opposed to Alex Smith, but still. If we had picked Crabtree (like everyone expected us to) he would have had a hell of a better season than DHB did. Micheal Crabtree and Louis Murphy would have been really hard to defend last year.
Analysis: We passed on a slightly slower, natural pass catching, play making, college standout with supposed primadonna tendencies for a fast, ball dropping, unpolished route runner with high character.
HHHHMMMM! I sure do hope it works out for us the best in the end. It seems to me like San Fran picked up Jerry Rice 2.0. If so, maybe after Crabtree helps them win a few Super Bowls, we can pick him up on the downside of his career and get him to take us to a Super Bowl and lose. (Just a little morning sarcasm)
What are your thoughts Raider Nation?