The three day mini-vacation from the All About Alex show has come and gone.
The 49ers added depth and competition with their five Day 3 draft picks and loaded up for next year’s draft, too. How Belichickian. But for this year, the draft comes down to the first two picks: wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and running back LaMichael James.
Both of these guys have the one thing you can’t teach — speed. And the one thing the 2011 offense lacked.
If this was last year, a lot of folks would be screaming for Trent Baalke’s hide. But, like quarterback Alex Smith, his performance last year has earned him the benefit of the doubt. For now. For Trent. For Alex, doubt is a forever kind of love.
Here’s the complete list of drafted players, for the anal fellows amongst us who keep those tidy little databases. Or for those of you who went on a weekend bender and are just now returning to life:
Round 1 (No. 30): WR A.J. Jenkins — Illinois
Round 2 (No. 61): RB LaMichael James — Oregon
Round 4 (No. 117): OL Joe Looney — Wake Forest
Round 5 (No. 165): LB Darius Fleming — Notre Dame
Round 6 (No. 180): S Trenton Robinson — Michigan State
Round 6 (No. 199): OL Jason Slowey — Western Oregon
Round 7 (No. 237): DE Cam Johnson — Virginia
Off the top, it appears Frank Gore’s days as a three down RB are over. As well as his 1,000 yard seasons. Third down duties will most likely be shared by Brandon Jacobs and James, and Kendall Hunter will get his time, too. The odd man out is Anthony Dixon, who will have to take his wild and crazy Do, as well as his lugggage, to some other NFL venue come cut down days.
Baalke used this draft also to acquire three extra picks in next year’s draft — a third, fifth, and sixth. For those needing instant gratification, this futuristic approach is not popular. But now that the team is locked into the bottom of draft rounds for the foreseeable future, the only way to continue to acquire the elite draft talents is to have enough extra picks to make trading up to get them a possibility.
We’ll get our first look at these new players at the May 10th rookie mini-camp. Not really a look, since nobody will be allowed to actually look, least of all Outsiders, but we’ll hear about them from people who do have first hand look privileges and can rave about how good they look even if they actually don’t look too good. That’s enough about look for the moment. (Rob says to remind everyone that look spelled backwards is kool.)
With the new FA and draft acquisitions, plus a full offseason program, the 49ers almost have to have a more complex and dangerous offense next season. One that will not require Alex Smith to lead six fourth quarter comebacks to save six games out of their fourteen victories that would otherwise have been lost. With or without the turnover differential, the defense will once again be an elite crew. If the offense becomes a top ten force, too, there is no team in the league that can say it is better than us. Nooobody.
And now back to our regular telecast. When last seen, Alex had led his team to the brink of the Super Bowl, only to see himself ignored by the wandering eyes of his boss that flirted openly with a perfect stranger before getting dumped. Wounded by this unseemly disregard, Alex the Noble nevertheless honored his vows and once again prepared for another season as The Man, while over his shoulder in the shadows lurked the ever present specter of this year’s The Other Man. Can Alex survive yet again? Stay tuned for the season premier in September of All About Alex, season eight of this wildly popular long running football soap opera.