The 49ers: Building A Line, Avoiding The Pickle
The NFL Draft, in an effort to be ridiculous, now lasts three days. Tonight, the first round aired and had it's share of interesting developments.
In the mock drafts I saw, the Raiders were picked to do one of three things -- none of which they did:
- -- Draft Jimmy Clausen, and admit that JaMarcus Russell is not just a bust, he's the worst pick in NFL history.
- -- Draft someone 'off the board,' with huge athletic talent but suspect on-field play. This was typically someone like USC S Taylor Mays and Maryland OT Bruce Campbell. Neither were drafted in the first round by anyone.
- -- Draft to fill an obvious position of need in a deep draft -- such as at offensive line. Though only two tackles had been taken (Trent Williams and Russell Okung), they passed here as well.
So, that was weird. It's odd when the Raiders act like a professionally run NFL franchise.
The 49ers went into the first round looking to upgrade at offensive line and defensive back. In the last few weeks, the rumor mill had been that they would be thrilled if Clausen fell to them and he'd be hard to pass up. It's safe to say such rumors made me feel a bit queasy. But, as it turned out, they passed on him twice.
CB standout Joe Haden went where he should have all along, in the top ten (going to Cleveland), and while Earl Thomas was still on the board with their first pick, they chose to grab two offensive lineman, trading up two picks to ensure grabbing Rutgers OT Anthony Davis, and Idaho OG Mike Iupati. If both are good enough to start next season, the team all of a sudden has a decent offensive line.
49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco projects the starting offensive line next year to be:
I kind of like the look of that. It also means a few things, notably that the team is committed to Alex Smith, at least for the 2010 season. That's exactly the right approach - for 2010. It also suggests that the 49ers are going to find an offense that is a combination of smashmouth and spread. If Smith can take a step forward, and Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan do likewise, this team will move the ball on offense to go with their defense.
Some interesting names out there before the second round begins, where the 49ers have 17th pick (49th overall). Here are the names of players I saw on more than one list as first round picks:
Other guys, like Golden Tate and Jonathan Dwyer, are pegged as likely 2nd round picks, as I'm sure are a lot of other names out there I don't know. I'm sure whoever snares Clausen is going to feel pretty good, and I can't argue that he's not worth any second round pick. He just clearly wasn't worth a first rounder - to any team in the league.
If the 49ers can come out of tomorrow with a defensive back they are happy with, maybe even two, I'll definitely feel good about things, and I also expect them to try and grab a pass rusher if one is there. It's unclear with the acquisition of Ted Ginn whether they'll look to add another receiver, but I wouldn't object to it.
Overall, a nice start - if an unsexy one - to the NFL Draft.