Archive for the ‘NFL Draft’ Category

More thoughts on the NFC West day one draft picks

April 29, 2011

After all of the phone calls and emails from friends and family wondering about Aldon Smith and why the Niners took him, I have developed a three word response for any subsequent queries: Think Charles Haley!

While I admit to having a squeamish moment when the Niners were on the clock, the sight of Aldon Smith, and NOT Blaine Gabbert, on his phone, eased my anxiety.  I had Smith as the second best pure-pass rusher in the draft behind Von Miller.

While not as fast as Miller, Smith is taller, quicker in change of direction and has extremely long arms, all attributes of great pass rushers.  It was definitely a pick of need and if he pans out  (I think he will) our defensive backs will get a lot better.  I also think my colleague, Mark Naismith, will sleep a little better a night and might not be quite as grumpy.

The Cardinal’s grab of Patrick Peterson (sources have told me he was first on the Niners board) was more of a replacement for Antrel Rolle than as a lifer on the corner.  He will switch to safety by year three.

The Rams had to be disappointed in not getting Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones as a toy/target for Sam Bradford, but North Carolina defensive lineman, Robert Quinn, will be part of a stud Ram line for many years to come.

If you think the reaction to Aldon Smith was loud here in the Bay area, did you hear the clap of thunder in the Pacific North West when the Seahawks grabbed Alabama’s offensive tackle James Carpenter with their first pick?  Carpenter wasn’t in the top 10 offensive tackles on a majority of the draft sites across the board.  He could turn out to be terrific, but the point here is he could have been there much farther down the line.

As for rounds two and three today, here’s hoping the Niners are looking for a quarterback and corner back.  With the first pick in the second round, various sources are reporting that the Patriots are listening to offers for the pick, with the thought being someone wants to move up to get quarterback Andy Dalton of TCU.  Dalton is my top rated quarterback and it is known that Niner coach, Jim Harbaugh, is high on him.  Would the Niners swap #2’s, add one of their #4’s this year and maybe a #2 next year to get that pick and jump ahead of Cincinnati and Arizona?  Would YOU do that?  If not, the thought here is to go for a DB in round two and a running back in round three.  Quarterback T.J. Yates will be there on day two, and don’t forget, Alex Smith is visiting the Niners today, presumably to talk contract?

Enjoy day two!

MJ

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NFC West thoughts on day one of the 2011 Draft

April 29, 2011

Once Patrick Peterson didn’t make it to the Niners at pick number seven, which a number of folks thought he wouldn’t (yours truly included) I was hoping, hoping, hoping, that they would pick a pass rusher, and that’s what they did. There might indeed might have been some more well known names on the board than Missouri’s Aldon Smith, but he is  the new type of NFL coveted hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker who can get after the passer. We’ll see in the next couple of years if he was the right guy.

Going into today’s second round I like how the Arizona Cardinals are sitting. They have P.Peterson on his way to Phoenix after eschewing a quarterback pick, which they sorely need, and TCU’s Andy Dalton is still on the board. Carolina and Denver won’t be QB shopping, and Buffalo has more pressing needs given the fact their incumbent, Ryan Fitzpatrick from Harvard, is still a young guy and passed for 3000 yards and 23 TD’s last year despite being sacked 24 times. That puts the Bengals between the Cardinals and Dalton. I guess it all will get down to how the Carson Palmer thing is going, or not. It would seem that Palmer might be very happy with Cincy’s number one pick, A.J. Green of Georgia.  Dalton could turn out to be as good as any QB in this draft, and the ‘Nals could be the benefactor.

The Rams could have walked away with a great player to be in North Carolina’s Robert Quinn who did not participate in the 2010 college season after being dismissed by the Tarheels for accepting “improper benefits.”  Quinn is a complete stud by all accounts and if the Rams really vetted his character, he could be a real defensive force for the Rams joining young players like  Chris Long and James Laurinaitis.

The Seahawks made a pretty pedestrian pick in Alabama Offensive Tackle James Carpenter who many pundits thought was a second rounder. However, Carpenter paired with last year’s number one, Russell Okung, might well give the ‘Hawks a great pair of bookend tackles for the next decade or more.

On the day two.

MN

Hooked on the Niners 2011 Mock Draft

April 25, 2011

Everyone else has one, so why not us?  This mock draft was researched and put together by our resident draft expert Micth Juricich.  This dude is a student of the draft and has been ranking players and doing a mock draft for years.  Hopefully Mitch’s prognostication of the Niners getting LSU corner Patrick Peterson will come true. Peterson is a great athlete and by all accounts a can’t miss NFL prospect. It appears indeed be time to move Nate Clements to safety and present a much more formidable defensive backfield. If Paterson comes off the board before #7, it will be very interesting to see what the Niners do.  Many “pundits” have them selecting Nebraska corner Prince Amukamura. It certainly appears that a corner may be the number one priority of this team, but then again, who in the heck really knows except those guys in that mystical war room? The draft never goes like all the guessers and prognosticators think it will, so settle in for three fun days of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, at least on paper.

MN

1-Carolina: Cam Newton,QB,Auburn

2-Denver: Marcell Dareus,DL, Alabama

3-Buffalo: Von Miller,LB,Texas A&M

4-Cincinnati: A.J. Green,WR,Georgia

5-Arizona: Blaine Gabbert,QB,Missouri

6-Cleveland: J.J. Watt,DE,Wisconsin

7-S.F.: Patrick Peterson,CB,LSU

8-Tennessee: Nick Fairley,DL,Auburn

9-Dallas: Anthony Castonzo,OT,Boston College

10-Wash.: Julio Jones,WR,Alabama

11-Houston: Aldon Smith,OLB,Missouri

12-Minnesota: Christian Ballard,DE,Iowa

13-Detroit: Gabe Carimi,OT,Wisconsin

14-St. Louis: Prince Amukamura,CB,Nebraska

15-Miami: Phil Taylor,DT,Baylor

16-J’Ville: Da Quan Bowers,DE,Clemson

17-N.E.: Cameron Jordan,DE,California

18-San Diego: Ryan Kerrigan,DE,Purdue

19-N.Y. G’s: Justin Houston,OLB,Georgia

20-T.B.: Robert Quinn,DL,North Carolina

21-K.C.: Muhammad Wilkerson,DL,Temple

22-Indy: Derek Sherrod,OT,Miss. St

23-Phily: Tyron Smith,OT,USC

24-N.O.:  Akeem Ayers,LB,UCLA

25-Seattle : Jake Locker,QB,Washington

26-Balt.: Jimmy Smith,CB,Colorado

27-Atl.: Kyle Rudolph,TE,Notre Dame

28-N.E.: Mike Pouncey,OG,Florida

29-Chicago: Nate Solder,OT,Colorado

30-N.Y. J’s: Stephen Paea,DT,Oregon St.

31-Pittsburgh: Danny Watkins,OG,Baylor

32-Green Bay: Marcus Cannon,OG,TCU

Well…………one good thing “on paper”

October 26, 2010

The 2011 NFL Draft appears to be pretty quarterback rich. Three players are projected by many pundits to go in the first half dozen selections. Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Washington’s Jake Locker, and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett.  There are a number of other players at the position who also could have an NFL future, for example Christian Ponder of Florida State,  Nick Foles of Arizona, and Nathan Enderle of Idaho.  Unless the good fairy arrives in Santa Clara and sprinkles a whole lot of magic dust on the Niners, it sure looks like they are going to have a very high draft pick in their hands come next April. A quarterback will certainly be their number priority one would think?  But with this management team, who knows?  J.T. Sullivan is going to be a free agent.

MN

Niners and the 2010 Draft

November 11, 2009

The 2010 NFL Draft will be surely a pivotal one for the Niners. Purely and simply their last two drafts with the exceptions of Chilo Rachal, Michael Crabtree and maybe Josh Morgan, have been pretty much, stinkers. With two first round picks, and a lot of holes to fill, the 2010 draft looms very large for the Niners future. It may also loom large in the future of Scot McCloughan as the GM of the team. So, who might become future Niners in 2010? Of course, it’s never too early to look and speculate. An offensive tackle would arguably be the team’s number one priority. Just look at the last two NFL drafts and see how this position is valued by other NFL teams. There does not appear to be the depth of talent at OT that was there in 2008 and 2009, but two names to watch for in 2010 are Trent Williams from Oklahoma and Bryan Bulaga from Iowa. Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush……………..how many times do we need to say it?  This has been a Niner front four or front three weakness for way too many years.  An agile and quick  pass rushing DE like Carlos Dunlap from Florida or Greg Hardy from Ole Miss, could be the answer?  The big play ability of Niner safeties has been missing in action for way, way too long. In 2010 two absolutely stellar players are available. Tennessee’s Eric Berry, and USC’s Taylor Mays. Berry is a 4.4 guy with big time SEC experience and anyone who has seen Taylor Mays plays knows full well that this is a beast of a man who runs like a deer. Maybe he’s the closest thing the NFL has seen to Ronnie Lott in years?  Then there’s the Quarterback situation? Is Alex Smith or Nate Davis the guy that can really take the Niners to the next level? Certainly we could write pages on that hypothesis. 2010 is going to be a strong QB draft it seems with Sam Bradford from Oklahoma and Texas’ Colt McCoy on the board. But, two young guns may be even more attractive to NFL teams……………Jake Locker from Washington and Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame. It is widely thought that both will declare for the 2010 draft. Then there’s Tim Tebow of Florida. I can hear it now. That guy will never make it in the NFL and anyone taking him in the first round would be certifiably nuts. Ah……don’t be so sure on either count. Tebow is a special talent with a King Kong level of desire to succeed at what ever in placed in front of him. So, what have we learned here?  I guess it’s that the Niners have a whole lot of “ciphering” to do, as Jethro Bodine used to say on the Beverly Hillbillies………….

MN

What a difference a draft makes……..

October 5, 2009

The Niners have had some real bumps with their drafts in the last two years, after the spectacular Willis-Staley draft of 2007. Only one starter, Chilo Rachal, has emerged from the last two classes. As for number one picks, we all know about M. Crabtree, who will never be a Niner IMO, and last year’s number one, Kentwan Balmer, who I prognosticated would be a bust, generating some very direct comments like “how could I make such a comment for a guy who is just in his first year?” Well, how’s that pick looking now? Balmer is barely in the Niner defensive rotation, and when ever I watch him play, he seems to get handled easily. He plays straight up and just doesn’t appear to be able to get any leverage on the offensive player he’s across from.

This coming week’s opponent, the Falcons from Atlanta, had really hit rock bottom as a franchise after the Mike Vick thing.  Then in 2008, they had a draft that has made them an entirely different team, along with signing free agent RB Michael Turner. Four Falcon starters were drafted in 2008, Quarterback Matt Ryan from Boston College, Left Tackle Sam Baker from USC, Middle Linebacker Curtis Lofton from Oklahoma, and Free Safety Thomas DeCoud from Cal. The Falcons also picked Corner Chevis Jackson from LSU and Defensive End Kroy Biermann from Montana in their 2008 draft, both of whom are in the team’s defensive rotation. What was incredible to me about the Falcons’ 2008 draft was the “positions” that they filled. A QB, a Left Tackle, a Middle Linebacker and a Free Safety. Pretty nice to possibly be set for 10 years at those positions eh?

The Niners have really come together as a team in 2009 with very little help from their last two drafts with the aforementioned exception of  Chilo Rachal  in 2008, and Glenn Coffee in 2009. With two first rounders next year and hopefully an excellent return for Crabtree’s rights if he indeed passes on this season, the Niners are positioned to really help their ball club in 2010.

MN

Only Crabtree left…….

August 30, 2009

With Andre Smith’s signing with the Bengcriminals, the 49ers now have the distinction of having the only 2009 un-signed number one draft pick. That of course would be Michael “I was drafted tenth, but pay me number two or three money, because that’s where I was rated in mock drafts” Crabtree.  Hopefully someone will strike Crabtree on the side of the head with a 2X4 and tell him to “accept” the 20 million the Niners are offering and get the hell in camp.  It is becoming increasingly apparent why many teams passed on Crabtree.

The other two things that gave me pause for though watching the Niner ones play the Cowboy ones in their exhibition game were the “situations” at right tackle and at outside linebacker.  It seems the ’09 draft was influenced by the Niners feeling thier RT sitation was acceptable with Adam Snyder, and the signing of former Steeler Marvel Smith.  I guess they also thought that Manny Lawson was fully healthy and ready to rock at outside linebacker. He would be a formidable bookend to emerging pass rushing star Parys Haralson.  So even though the apparent “no-brainer” Crabtree pick was there, it may have not even entered the Niners’ brain trust minds to pick Ole Miss’ OT Michael Oher, who will likely start for the Ravens in ’09, and not trade with Carolina, and select Florida State’s DE/OLB Everette Brown.

Of course, everything is crystral clear after you have seen it happen, but with Crabtree MIA,  Marvel Smith unexpectedly retiring, Snyder being hurt again, and Lawson looking anything like the pass rushing machine he was projected to be, the Niners might have drawn the short straw again with their  draft strategy.  If that happens, on the heels of the Kentwan Balmer number one pick last year, I wouldn’t encourage Scot McCloughan to get too comfortable  in the Bay Area.

MN

NFL Draft 2009-My Way

May 3, 2009

With the NFL draft over a week old and fresh off a visit to the Niner Mini Camp, there has been some time to reflect on the recent draft and what it could have been for the Niners, at least in my opinion.

On a personal note, I have never been a, ”best athlete available” guy.  Do you seriously think the Niners would have taken Jeff George, the quarterback from Ilinois, with the first pick in the 1990 NFL draft  with Joe Montana, Steve Young and Steve Bono already on their roster?  My case is taking a nap.

With that in mind and given the fact the Niner’s two biggest needs appeared to be, to this untrained eye, offensive tackle and pass rusher, here is how I might have conducted the 2009 draft.

Round One:  Michael Oher-Offensive Tackle-Mississippi

Coupled with Joe Staley, the Niners now have bookend tackles for the next 10 years and very solid backups in Adam Snyder and Marvel Smith.  This makes the entire offensive line the most solid unit on the team in terms of talent and youth.

Round Two:  Everette Brown-Defensive End-Florida State

A speed rusher off the edge is a killer in the NFL and Brown now makes the defensive backs a little better.  Teamed with Parys Haralson in the 3-4 alignment on passing downs could make the Niners defense very formidable.  Having played with one of the best quarterback- killing defenses of all time, I’m sure a pass rusher was on coach Mike Singletary’s mind.

Round Three:  Ramses Barden-Wide Receiver -Cal Poly

Yes, I know he was under the radar and not in the same class as Michael Crabtree, but at 6-6 and 230 pounds with a 4.59 40 yard dash time, I think he is worth a flier.  And what better way to fight the big receivers in Arizona than with one of your own.  Crabtree is the sexier pick, but Barden is a bit more intriguing and he does not have a surgically repaired foot.

Round Four:  Andre Brown-Running Back-NC State

Glenn Coffee was a solid pick for the Niners, but round three is a tad too high for a back up.  Brown is thick and quick at 6-1, 224, 4.49.

 As for the remainder of the draft and free agent signings, there is no disagreement from this corner.  But in the first four rounds the Niners could have had a quarterback centric draft: They could have protected their own and given him some toys to play with, and they could have at least mounted a threat to opposing QB’s.

MJ

Pannel Egboh

April 28, 2009

Well, you gotta like the name. Egboh, the Stanford fifth year senior from Mesquite, TX was suprisingly not picked in the 2009 draft. The Niners quickly scooped him up and signed him to a free agent contract. At 6’6″, 275 lbs with more room to add bulk, Egboh certainly has the size to play on Sunday. Egboh had a stand out junior year on The Farm when he was clearly one of the best D-linemen in the Pac 10 Conference. His senior year was not as remarkable as he was consistently double teamed, but still made a whole lot of plays for the Cardinal defense.

I think this was a terrific pick up for the Niners. This guy has a big motor, played in a great conference, and like all Stanford players, has the smarts to be “coached up.”  And don’t the Niners still need help on the D-Line, especially on the outside?  Demetric Evans was signed from the Redskins as a DE and could vie for a starting position.  It appeared Ray McDonald would have a bit of a break though last year, but really did not. McDonald is a quick guy, and was a very good college player at Florida, but  is easily out sized in the NFL . It was suggested after last year’s draft that #1 pick Kentwan Balmer from North Carolina could play on the outside in the 3-4.  After a completely lack luster freshman campaign in the NFL, the jury is still way out on whether Balmer can be a productive player at all.  

It would appear that Pannel Egboh has a very good chance of making the Niners opening day roster.  Who knows, maybe he’ll be the next “Stanford surprise” for the Niners. The last?  Eric Heitmann who was picked in the 7th round of the 2002 NFL Draft, and has gone on to be a very productive offensive lineman for the Niners.

MN

Crabtree falls to the Niners, good or bad?

April 26, 2009

With the goofy, but completely Al Davis-esque pick of  Darrius Heyward-Bey by the Raiders at #7, and the somewhat surprising pick of Tyson Jackson at #3 by K.C., Texas Tech wide receiver Miachael Crabtree was there when the Niners picked at #10. I know there has already been a lot of spirited debate and dialogue about if this was the right pick for the Niners, or not. Obviously only time will tell. Picking a wide receiver at number one has always been risky business. In the 2008 draft, while a number of them were projected as #1’s, none were selected.  In 2006, only one wide out, Santonio Holmes, was a frist round pick.  However, in 2007 and 2005 a dozen wide receivers were taken in round one. They are: Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn Jr., Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis, Robert Meachem, and Anthony Gonzalez in ’07, and Braylon Edwards, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Matt Jones, Mark Clayton and Roddy White in ’05.  Now of course some of the WR’s were picked higher in those drafts, so expectations were higher. But all in all, if you look at the names, there are not a lot of them that leap off the page as true difference makers.  Hopefully the Niners pulled off a  coup here, and Crabtree will truly become a difference maker. When you look at his Big 12 highlights one can see the great talent. Great moves, quick on quick, and very good size.  But…………….and there always is one, he also played in the most wide open passing offense in the college game, has  had lingering injury problems, and apparently has a little bit of a “tude.”  All in all Crabtree was not a slam dunk pick to me. Niner GM Scot McCloughan certainly said he was though. Hopefully he’ll be right.

MN