This 2010 Draft is the most intriguing 49ers draft in many years. Three guys were drafted with the initial and specific task of converting short yardage 3rd & 4th down plays. One guy was drafted who can take the opposing tight end out of the game. And three guys were picked up (via trade, draft, and UDFA) with burning speed and ST return ability.
While these players will certainly improve the overall quality of the team in the future, it’s still true that most draft picks do not make a significant impact in their first year. However, at least five of our pick ups seem destined to make just such an impact.
Mike Singletary’s oft repeated desire to “run the ball even if the other team knows it’s coming” has acquired a mythic status among the grumbler/hyper-critic crowd and been perverted into a scoffing “smash mouth football” mantra. But “3rd and 1” is precisely a down that the other team knows you’re going to run, you know you’re going to run, the crowd knows, the announcers know, your six year old kid knows, and the ghosts of every football god not named Weanie Butt absolutely demand that you run that effing ball and SUCCEED.
And that is the point. If we could have done that last year, at the very least, we would have closed out the Vikings game and the Seahawks game and made the playoffs.
One stinking yard. If your team can’t pick that up as easy as calories from a box of doughnuts, then your team sucks in the manhood department. And usually the success department, as well.
If Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis and Anthony Dixon do not start for us this year, they can at least come into the game on “3rd and 1” or “3rd and Goal” with only one task to achieve – getting that stinking one yard.
On the other side of the ball’s efforts to prevent 3rd down conversions, Taylor Mays has the speed and size to accomplish the specific task of eliminating the opposing team’s tight end from their short yardage package. We already have the ability to stuff the other team’s running game.
And finally, we added three guys (Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, and LeRoy Vann), at least one of whom will vastly improve our Special Teams field position game. And maybe alter a game or two by taking a punt or a kick off all the way home.
We showed last year that we have a solid .500 team. It only takes two more victories to become a playoff team. The two victories that many “insiders” will tell you represent the hardest step for an up and coming team to take.
Alex Smith throwing bombs to Michael Crabtree may make a fan wet his/her britches the most, but the simple ability to convert short yardage downs, which the 49ers sucked at last year, is the most direct and specific way for the team to win more games.
And this draft will help us do that. Now. This year.