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Posts Tagged ‘NFL Draft’

49ers get playmaker, then look to next year

Posted by davefowkes on 04/25/2009

Day one treated the San Francisco 49ers at the draft. They were first surprised to see a play maker fall to them in the first round, then acquired a first round pick in next year’s draft. 49er brass sounds happy.

The 49ers and their fans were quite surprised to see WR Michael Crabtree fall to them in the #10 spot of the first round. Crabtree is recovering from a broken foot but he is a two time Biletnikoff winner for best college wide receiver at Texas Tech. When the Raiders past on him at #7 he just kept dropping. Despite quality at OT and DE still on the board the 49ers selected Crabtree.

He is a play maker. He has a lot of potential and could be a star wide receiver in the NFL. 49er fans should be happy to finally have a play maker in the fold. That said, all of the emails/texts/social webpage response was nearly identical: Great pick by the 49ers but who is going to throw to him? I was against the 49ers picking a wide receiver other than Crabtree because it seems clear the Mike Singletary approach is to run, run and then run some more. With Shawn Hill at quarterback I don’t expect a very wide open offense. But most receivers dont turn into stars year one. So 49er fans should be patient and hope that in year two or three when Crabtree is ready to be a star, they have a quarterback or offensive game plan that is ready to take advantage of his ability. For now, just be happy they have a play maker at wide receiver.

The 49ers next move was surprising. With pass rusher Everette Brown still on the board, they traded their second round pick to Carolina for a first round pick next year.

My initial response is that anytime you can turn a second round pick into a first round pick it is a great trade. That said, the 49ers need players now, not in the future. Brown is a pass rusher which is always a need position. And Brown was selected by Carolina. If he turns into a star, you can be sure this trade will be second guessed again and again. Next year’s draft should be fun, but will that improve their 7-9 record this year?

In day 2 the 49ers need to find a decent safety, a backup running back for Frank Gore, and add some depth on OL, DL and a late round sleeper quarterback would not hurt. How about Graham Harrel of Texas Tech?

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Signing Smith Changes Everything

Posted by davefowkes on 03/27/2009

Matt Maiocco is reporting that the San Francisco 49ers have officially signed Tackle Marvel Smith. The former ASU standout and long time Pittsburgh Steeler gets a two year deal. In a related move, the 49ers released tackle Jonas Jennings.

I look at this signing like they replaced one Jonas Jennings with another. I’ll keep the brief since I discussed it earlier in the week, but the 49ers big issue with their big free agent splash with Jennings was he could not stay on the field because of injury. So now they bring in Smith who has missed good portions of the last two seasons with a back injury! Now it sounds like the contract is a smart one, it reportedly pays Smith upt $10-million if he plays and reaches his potential but if his back flares up, it costs the 49ers little.

With the quality of tackle in the NFL draft I really thought the 49ers should use the 10th pick on a tackle and pair him with Joe Staley for the next 10 years. I guess that dream is over! So now as we turn our gaze toward next month’s draft, it seems pretty clear the 49ers will go in a different direction.

I am very hopeful they will NOT pull the trigger on a quarterback. They have already done that and with a stagnant offense ready to take the field, why waste the money at the position? So where do the 49ers go? They could hope one of the two wide receivers drop to them. Anyone looking for excitement would love to see Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin drop to the 49ers at #10. My hunch is they are both gone by the 49ers pick, but I’d like to see either with the 49ers next year.

More likely the 49ers will turn their attention to defense. They need help at safety but I don’t see a safety ready to go at #10.  So I am thinking that barring a trade, the 49ers end up going with a defensive lineman. Not a bad play. The 49ers certainly could use help there. It won’t be a flashy name but maybe it can be somebody to play opposite Justin Smith.

One wildcard for a former linebacker like Mike Singletary: How about drafting Ray Maualuga out of USC?  He could replace Takeo Spikes in a year or two and match with Patrick Willis for the next 10 years? It certainly sounds good. But as of today my money still goes to one of the many defensive linemen ranked high in the draft.

Marvel Smith is a nice player and if healthy it will turn into a good signing, but the health is a big question mark. I would have gone a different way, but now that Smith is a 49er, it is the 49ers who will be going a different direction. I hope it works out for them!

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49ers Should Pass On Smith, Draft A Tackle!

Posted by davefowkes on 03/25/2009

The 49ers should draft a right tackle in the first round of the NFL draft rather then spend a lot of money on Marvel Smith. Nothing against Smith who has been a good tackle for the Steelers, but does this signing not sound like replacing one Jonas Jennings with another?

Matt Maiocco is reporting that talks between Smith and the 49ers are heating up. Smith has put in some good service but he has played just 17

Marvel Smith

Marvel Smith

games the last two seasons because of a back injury. We are not talking about a pulled muscle, or twisted leg, we are talking about a back injury on a lineman! Does that say red flag to someone in Ninerland?

The 49ers first big free agent purchase in the Nolan/York era was a left tackle Jonas Jennings from Buffalo. When healthy he was adequate at best, but he was never healthy which eventually led to his undoing.

If there were no other options I would argue signing Smith is a good idea, but if you look to the NFL draft, the first round is heavy with solid tackle prospects. In fact many have Jason Smith out of Baylor going to Detroit with the number one overall pick. Michael Oher, Eugene Monroe and Andre Smith are all first round prospects the 49ers should be looking at with the #10 overall pick. The likelihood is that two of them could still be on the board. How would the line look with Joe Staley on the left side and one of these rookies on the right side for the next 10-years?

Joe Staley

Joe Staley

Bringing in the 31-year old Smith is just replacing one injury risk with another in my opinion. If healthy, Smith is a very good tackle that will help. But why take the chance when you have such potential for the first round pick?

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49ers Quarterback Situation

Posted by davefowkes on 03/10/2009

The 49ers officially restructured the contract of quarterback Alex Smith. The new deal is reported to be a two year contract at a much smaller number than the $10-million he was supposed to make. The return of the former number one overall pick mean the 49ers have three quarterbacks under contract for the upcoming mini-camp and then the NFL draft. Bringing Smith back was wise, but the 49ers should not be done!

Shaun Hill is finally the man! Okay so maybe not, but heading into camp he certainly has to be favored to be the starting quarterback opening day. The career third stringer has had a pretty good run as a quarterback in November and December. Unfortunately because the 49ers are always out of it, his next meaningful game will be his first. Hill appears solid but certainly not flashy. He just seems to get the job done in an unspectacular manner. Of course that could be perfect for the new 49er offense which will be anything if spectacular.

Alex Smith still brings that big “p” word with him: Potential! I know the Niner nation is down on him for being a bust and a waste. You won’t get too much argument from me on that. But remember, at the end of his second year with Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator Alex Smith actual won some games for the 49ers. Remember the road win in Seattle? The undoing of Smith came first at the hands  head coach Mike Nolan and then with injury. He really hasn’t had an opportunity the last couple of years. It has been all classroom work and maybe, just maybe, that is what Smith needed the entire time.

Smith is saying all the right things today. He is talking about how this is a fresh start, and how he felt he has unfinished business. That is all well and good but the reality is Smith has very little value on the open free agent market and in San Francisco there is far from an established quarterback to compete with. This deal makes perfect sense for both the 49ers and Alex Smith. And if he can stay healthy, I would be willing to bet that he ends up starting some games for San Francisco this year!

That brings us to the number 3 quarterback. As previously stated in my blog, I think having Damon Huard on the roster is a waste of space. I stand by that. Sure Huard bring experience and is a nice guy. But the 49ers need to upgrade their quarterbacks in the short term and long term. And that can happen in the draft. The 49ers are set with Hill and Smith. Sure, they are not barn burners by any means but at least they will get themthrough this season. Now they need to start drafting mid-round quarterbacks in the draft until either Smith proves he is the real deal, or they find the right draft pick that does work out for them.  There are plenty of good quarterbacks in the middle rounds. Just keep drafting one until he works out. They might get lucky this year, it might take them a couple of years. But they have to start trying. Having Huard on the roster makes it much more difficult for a youngster to break in on the squad.

If Smith gets injured before the season starts, there will always be other Damon Huards of the world to sign to back up Hill. So, with that 3rd quarterback position the 49ers must look to the future. Because while the current team will survive with Hill, and may get a boost for Smith, the future of the 49er quarterbacking situation is very unclear! It is never too early to address it, and that should happen at some point in the 3rd, 4th, 5th or even 6th rounds of this year’s draft! Not doing that would be a major mistake.

OTHER NOTES:

Here is a great little post by Kevin Curtis of the Chronicle remembering the days of Eddie Debartolo and Bill Walsh. It will bring a tear to the eye of us old timers who remember the greatness of years gone past!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ninerinsider/detail?blogid=45&entry_id=36668

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