Blueprint For Success: Rebuilding The San Francisco 49ers into Champions
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It is time, once again, for San Francisco 49er fans to try and look forward but it is so hard to do because there is so much drama to look back upon during the York family tenure as owners.
49er fans have ridden a virtual coaching carousel with four different coaches in eight years—Steve Mariucci, Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary.
49er fans have bought front row seats to see first-round draft picks go bust in the likes of Kentwan Balmer and, most notably, Alex Smith. Imagine, some lucky 49er fans are invited to an NFL Draft Day party at 49er headquarters in Santa Clara to actually watch this unfold!
49er fans have been subjected to a major holdout by the next “Prime Time” player in Michael Crabtree —only to be disappointed in his performance in his first two years (regular season performances only of course, as we all know that Michael Crabtree does not partake in preseason ceremonies).
49er fans have waved goodbye to their most recent GM Scott McCloughan upon his sudden departure for “personal reasons”—only to see him emerge for a key executive position with the Seattle Seahawks, their division rivals.
49er fans watched the wooing of a future Hall of Famer and Super Bowl quarterback Kurt Warner from afar—only to have Warner say “no thanks” and retire one year later. Imagine if, if only for a year and a bundle of money, the 49ers had actually managed to land him!
Most recently, we were all invited to a circus side show headlined by Mike Singletary—so funny with one-liner jokes that he was parodied on the Late Show with David Letterman routinely. Thanks for the laughs Mike. You and Peyton Manning both have careers in Hollywood as comedians when you are ready!
But—that was the past and the future awaits us.
So without further adieu, let’s unroll the "Blueprint for 2011 Free Agency and Draft Day Success for the 49ers."
Note 1: I am only focusing on the first three rounds of the draft and one free agent signing.
Note 2: When it comes to the NFL Draft, a Mel Kiper I am not and a want-to-be junior Bill Parcells GM I am not. These are merely the opinions of one fan—nothing more.
Free Agency: We Need a Quarterback System Anchored By a Veteran
A Veteran Quarterback Must Be Signed in the Off-Season
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I emphasize "system" when I say we need a quarterback—meaning we need a veteran and two young future quarterbacks. We need a veteran who knows the ins-and-outs of quarterbacking in the NFL to either start, or back-up and help coach a young rookie.
Everyone is talking about Kyle Orton, but no new head coach in his right mind would let Kyle Orton go and put his coaching career on the line with only Tim Tebow.
Others mention Donovan McNabb, but the Redskins have signed him to an extension.
More than likely, the 49ers would have to trade for Orton or McNabb. I would hate to see the 49ers give up precious high draft choices, but if they can land McNabb or Orton for a middle round pick, they should go for it.
Hasselbeck may be tagged with the franchise tag in Seattle but I believe he will just be let go in the off-season. Hasselbeck knows the NFC West defenses and could be an immediate starter for San Francisco—or a backup to a young QB.
Further, Hasselbeck would actually have something to prove in San Francisco by showing Seattle they made a mistake in letting him go.
Pick No. 1: We Need To Draft The Quarterback Of The Future In Jake Locker
We need a tough, young quarterback - not another Alex Smith
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Andrew Luck is the current darling of the draft prognosticators this year and people love to bundle him with Jim Harbaugh. But Luck is young and raw and flourished in a system under Jim Harbaugh at the college level. Time will tell if he develops into another John Elway out of Stanford.
Personally, I like the size and toughness of Jake Locker, and he may even slip to the late first round or early second round—doubtful but possible.
As such, he may be a "bargain" considering Mel Kiper once predicted him as a top three pick in the 2010 and even 2011 draft.
The last time the 49ers passed on a question mark at quarterback that slipped into the late first round, Green Bay was able to pick up Aaron Rodgers. We all know how that turned out for Green Bay.
I think the dream of Harbaugh and Luck is just that—a dream (and a pipe dream at that).
I like Jake Locker as the potential QB of the future for the Niners.
Pick No. 2: We Need a Dominating Defensive End Who Can Pressure The Quarterback
We need a Big Dominating Defensive End Pass Rush Specialist
Projected in the middle to later part of the first round, the 49ers will likely need to trade up to get him, but my recommendation is Cal's Cameron Jordan.
The 49ers have passed (too many times) on local Cal and Stanford talent—and in doing so, they have missed out on Jahvid Best and Desean Jackson.
The 49ers have not been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks for years. Everyone talks about the secondary, but an effective and dominating pass rush makes any secondary look better.
A pass rush specialist please with pick No. 2.
Pick No. 3: We Need a Safety Who Can Be Our Center Fielder Behind Patrick Willis
We need a Safety to Succeed
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I have no idea who the best safety is out there in the draft, but with Willis jamming the middle of the field, we need a fleet safety to come up, make punishing hits and drop into coverage when needed.
This has been a missing component of the 49ers defense for some time now.
In fact, I am not sure I would select another offensive player in the draft other than another running back. Defense, Defense, Defense in the middle to late rounds is what I say.
The 49ers have offensive talent on the line, at wide receiver, tight end and running back. If they can find a free-agent quarterback, the offense can click—but we need an even more dominating defense to win the turnover battle week in and week out.