The San Francisco 49ers did well overall in the 2009 NFL draft this past weekend however the need of an offensive tackle and an edge pass rusher went unfulfilled. Finally GM Scot McCloughan tried to improve the wide receiver position selecting Michael Crabtree with the tenth pick who has potential to be a star and play-maker not seen since T.O. left the team. The 49er Faithfull have to give thanks to Bay Area rival Oakland Raiders as they selected WR Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh pick in the draft. Once the Jaguars didn’t select a receiver with the eighth pick it was an obvious given that either WR Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin would be available. But would the 49ers select either receiver? Even with the Raiders curious pick no one envisioned Crabtree, the best receiver in the draft, being available come the tenth pick. And when his name was announced a collective cheer could be heard across San Francisco. Do we finally have our heir apparent to Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Dwight Clark and Terrell Owens? Or will Crabtree fall under the bust category along with J.J. Stokes (was also selected 10th in 1995), Brandon Williams, Rashaun Woods and Brandon Lloyd? It will be awhile until we see Crabtree in action as he is still recovering from stress fracture surgery on his foot. The timetable has him fully ready by training camp. There are questions out there about Crabtree’s character and some have said he could either be along the lines of another T.O. or Deion Sanders who was a diva, demanded attention but was a great teammate in the locker room, which T.O. was not. I am more concerned about him recovering fully from his fractured foot and his speed than worrying about him being diva. If he is a diva that means he is doing something right on the 49ers which is more than we can say we have had at the position the last few years. Besides, Mike Singletary is the coach and if you have any doubts about how he handles a diva you only need to look at last season and how perennial 49ers diva Vernon Davis was handled.
The 49ers traded their second and fourth round picks to the Carolina Panthers for a first round pick next year. With exception to an offensive tackle or an edge pass rusher not being taken the 49ers solidified their roster for the next three to four years. Other than Crabtree every position selected will be in a back-up role next year but can develop into solid starters. Here are the rest of the picks:
Round 3, pick 10 overall 74: Glen Coffee RB (Junior) Alabama:
There is no doubt that the 49ers will be a run first minded offense next year. With selecting Coffee Frank Gore has a back-up whom the 49ers can rely on to do the dirty work and keep Gore’s body fresh throughout the season. Coffee who rushed for 1,383 yards last year does have the ability to run around defenders but the 6-2, 200 pounder is more of a bowling bowl type runner where he will just lower his body and take the defender head-on.
Round 5, pick 10, overall 146: Scott McKillop LB (Senior) Pittsburgh:
McKillop was 2008 Big East Defensive Player of the Year and ranked first in the nation in total tackles per game (12.58) and second in solo tackles per game (8.17) in 2007. He has great instincts and will back-up Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes. Along with learning from both of those veteran linebackers McKillop will certainly learn a thing or two from Singletary. Expect big plays from him on special teams next year.
Round 5, pick 35, overall 171: Nate Davis QB (Junior) Ball State:
There was no mystery that one of the positions the Niners would take was at quarterback. The bigger question was when would that pick happen? Many had the 49ers picking Mark Sanchez and I am a new Jets fan now because they decided to trade up and draft Sanchez making the temptation of drafting him not an option for McCloughan. With Davis the 49ers have a development project and he is not expected to compete for the starting job this year. But the 49ers don’t need him this year and if by next year Shaun Hill does not finish the season as a solid starter they might have to look to Davis. But with two picks in the first round next year and the rate of QB’s that are supposed to be available to be better than this year’s draft the 49ers have options. One of the reasons he is a project is he has a learning disorder along the lines of dyslexia that makes reading and writing difficult for him. Davis disclosed this to the 49ers when he made a visit to the team before the draft. He said it is a learning disability in terms of school and not football. Davis will be learning a whole new system and league so the disability will be a factor but the 49ers have time to see what they can develop him into.
Round 6, pick 11, overall 184: Bear Pascoe TE (Senior) Fresno State:
Pascoe is a solid blocker and receiver who had 40 receptions for 400 yards and four touchdowns last year. He will get a lot of playing time backing up Vernon Davis. The 49ers lost last year’s back-up Billy Bajema to free agency. Pascoe could give Davis a run for his money for the starting job in training camp which will hopefully motive Davis to finally have his break-out year in 2009.
Round 7, pick 10, overall 219: Curtis Taylor S (Senior) LSU:
Taylor has some issues with his footwork in order for him to become an impact player in the NFL. He will go for the big hit more often than taking the sure tackle leaving him out of position on plays. He has trouble reading the play-action which also leaves him out of position.
Round 7, pick 35, overall 244: Ricky Jean Francois DT (Junior) LSU:
Francois has great athletic ability and strength. It has been said that Francois did not produce as well as he should have while in college because he relies too much on his athletic ability and strength rather than combing that with fundamentals and commitment.
How would you rate the 49ers draft? Who was your favorite pick? Did the 49ers miss out on any players?