There are 3 starters, plus a Pro Bowler, from this draft, which should make it a pretty solid effort. But what makes this draft rated lower is that the players selected were so slow to achieve their potential, and with one exception, the starters selected are good, but not great.
Vernon Davis is the star of this draft, but he did not become a star until his 4th year. He was pure gold, however, as a blog whipping boy – for his attitude, outrageous antics, and less than stellar ability to fetch the ball out of the air and hold onto it. His career made a miraculous transformation after Singletary took over the 49ers and got his mind right, to the point now that he is a team captain and franchise poster boy. In addition to becoming probably the best all around TE in the NFL and a major weapon for the 49er offense.
Manny Lawson was also enlisted in the first round of this draft. He was a starter in his first year, missed his second, and has been a very good strong side OLB for the past two years, but a bit of a disappointment as a pass rusher. This lack of standout performance is less than what one hopes for in a first round pick, although it doesn’t deserve the incessant harping of Sophrosyne that he is a bust. That girl’s flippant off-with-his-head attitude is a scary prospect for any poor fellow who might consider clowning down the aisle with her some day. Watch your back, buddy. Those fingernails are very sharp.
The 49er 3rd round pick stands alone among the past five drafts as a bona fide, no doubt about it, bustola. Brandon Williams. A WR drafted mainly to be a KO/PR, this smallish fellow puked in fear from the get go and was cut a few games into his rookie year. A complete whiff on him. No argument from any faction of the blogosphere.
Michael Robinson was the 4th round choice, a jack of all trades, master of none kind of guy who has been a locker room leader and special teams captain from the moment he first donned the uniform. He also draws a ton of flack every year from bloggers who don’t have much value for chemistry role players and resent his taking up a roster spot after pretty much flubbing as a backup running back and Wildcat/Taser back. We have yet to see what kind of emergency QB he could be, but it might be worth noting that in 2007, after all 3 of our QBs went down, Nolan signed a turkey off the street rather than inserting M-Rob for the final game of the season.
Parys Haralson was the 5th round pick. He rose quietly up the roster in his first two years and emerged as the weak side, pass rushing OLB in 2008. While this is pretty good value for a 5th round guy, the blogging jury is not sold on his production at this vital position. 2010 shapes up as a critical year for Parys, if he wants to hold off Ahmad Brooks and keep his starting job.
Delanie Walker was the gem of the 6th round, with Marcus Hudson providing a few years of depth and ST value, also. If everybody’s favorite player is the backup QB, then Walker has been everybody’s favorite TE. His actual production has never matched his allure to the fans, but he caught the ball better than Vernon and drew a sizeable corps of backers during Vernon’s growing up years. 2009 marked the first year that Walker was a bona fide part of the offense, as a 2nd tight end/match up problem for the defense, which Jimmy Raye favored – if not a lot of bloggers who would have preferred more 3 WR sets. Walker’s role this coming year might be shrinking again, with the addition of slot receiver candidates Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams. Then again, this is the birthplace of the SCO, so we shall see how much that slot receiver gets on the field in 2010.
Melvin Oliver was another 6th round pick with Vickiel Vaughn in the 7th. Oliver saw some time in the Dline rotation his first year, then got hurt and disappeared. Vaughn never appeared long enough to qualify as disappearing.
All in all, a serviceable draft.
As for the Brian Cushing steroids hullabaloo currently rumbling through the blogosphere, 49er Outsider pauses for a hearty and strenuous yawn.