The first significant full squad OTAs will begin next Monday. This is very good news, since the blogosphere lately has been slower than the thought processes in Flyingv68’s brain. I mean virtually dead. Comatose.
With nothing much going on to twist out of proportion, I’ll continue with last week’s retrospective on prior draft classes, which talked about the draft class of 2008 coming into its Grade Year in 2010. Today, I’ll hand out the grades for our 2007 class, which finished its three year judgment cycle in 2009.
The 2007 Draft would turn out to be Mike Nolan’s last year as the “Trigger Man” in the Draft Room, and ironically it was the best of his draft’s, and arguably the top draft of the whole decade, netting three starters and a pro bowl player, and at least two valuable contributors. A superb haul by any measure. Even die hard Nolan Haters like Rob_ can’t spit on this draft.
The first two picks, Patrick Willis and Joe Staley, have been starters from day one, with Willis being a Pro Bowler and Staley likely to become one also.
In the third round, the 49ers picked the enigmatic Jason Hill and Ray McDonald. Hill has never quite made it, though he’s provided a few glimpses of his talent and acquired a niche, mostly in the Grumbler crowd, as the “Why Don’t We Play This Guy More” fellow. Even non-grumblers scratch their heads over his career here. Apparently, he has battled injuries and attitude, and then last year an offense that doesn’t much feature three wideouts, let alone four. This is probably his last year with the 49ers. McDonald had to overcome some knee injuries from college and has never been a star, but does provide value to our pass rush Dline. This coming year might be his first injury-free, all-healthy-now season, so we will probably at last see what his ceiling is.
The 4th round selections were Jay Moore, Dashon Goldson, and Joe Cohen. One home run starter and two whiffs. Goldson emerged as a potential star in 2009 and seems to have a bright future ahead of him as a standout, hard-hitting FS. Neither Moore nor Cohen could stay healthy, both landing on IR more than once, and both are now out of the league.
Tarrell Bown was the pick in the 5th, and is currently the nickel back, with starter potential still in his realm of possibility. That would push the starters from this draft to four.
The final pick, in the 6th, was Thomas Clayton. Clayton almost single-handedly established the Pre Season Wunderkind Award, starring in those games for two years, but never getting off the Practice Squad and onto the roster. Last year, he tore an ACL and might be finished. His replacement as the Pre-Season Wunderkind was a battle between Kory Sheets and Nate Davis. Sheets was claimed off our PS by Miami and we’ll see if he amounts to anything this coming year and becomes a member of the “We Blew It With This Guy” ex-49er team. In his absence, Davis has firmly cemented his hold on the Wunderkind award, and will probably add to his non-achieved legend in this year’s pre-season. You can be sure TOP_CAT_TIM, who posts his anti-Alex Smith rants virtually non-stop on every single Bay Area blog day after day, year after year, will be groveling around in Nate’s cleat tracks, taking videos to gush over endlessly this coming year, while reciting his mantra: “Please Nate, please beat out Alex Smith or I’ll be laughed off the blogosphere YET AGAIN!”
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the 2006 draft class. Unless some actual news breaks out and wakes up the dozing blogosphere.