Niners evalutating draft prospect

“Guys do make mistakes.” That says Niner GM Scot McCloughan regarding the team looking at Boston College Defensive Tackle B.J. Raji as a potential draft selection . Raji tested positively for drug use at the combine in February. Raji also wowed scouts at the combine with his speed and quickness, as he did at the Senior Bowl. His stock has soared, and most mock draft sites have him going in the top ten picks.  Raji is 6’1″ and 325 pounds, and made 42 solo tackles in his senior year at BC, 16 of them for losses.  I wonder how serious the Niners might be about picking Raji if he were to be available to them at #10? He clearly is an excellent NFL prospect, and hopefully the “drug thing” is, or can be, put behind him quickly.  But the Niners already have two nose guys, Isaac Sopoaga and Abrayo Franklin. Great players? No. Adequate as a one-two combination relative to their other draft needs? Yes. And then there’s last years number one pick, Kentwan Balmer. Where does he fit in? Is he a nose guy in the 3/4? Is he an outside guy in the 3/4? Or is he a guy that the Niners made a big mistake on, and going to a back-up? The Niners defensive line is really a mystery to me. Justin Smith is a very solid football player, but the rest of thr D-Line, including the future of Ray McDonald as a starter, is totally up in the air. This is a unit that “produced” 10 sacks in 2008, and 7 of them were from Mr. Smith.  Coming full circle would the Niners potentially add B.J. Raji to this mix? I’d be surpirsed, but it certainly could happen. Hopefully one of the true Defensive Ends like Brian Arakpo of Texas, Michael Johnson of Gerogia Tech, or Everette Brown of Florida State will be there at #10 to give the Niners some food for thought. Johnson, at 6’7″, 266 pounds might be just what the doctor ordered? By the way, we did a little 2008 NFL Mock Draft at Hooked on the Niners last year, and felt that with the same needs as the Niners have this year that Miami (Fl) Defensive End Calais Campbell (now of the Arizona Cardinals), or Clemson’s Phillip Merling (now of the Miami Dolphins) would be better choices than Balmer. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time. After round one, Campbell and Merling are ahead.

MN

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