Solid Day One for San Francisco
April 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM
By Matt Faust
When the 49ers entered the day, they had eight draft picks and a lot of question marks. After day one of the NFL draft, San Francisco came away with four players with huge potential and two additional picks for day two. So as the sun sets on the bay, general manager Terry Donahue and his staff can sit back and look at a day one well done.
First round maneuvering - which suspiciously had a Bill Walsh feel to it - left San Francisco with additional fourth and second round picks as well as a #1 receiver they coveted, Oklahoma State's Rashaun Woods. The Oklahoma City native broke every school and Big 12 Conference and career records for receiving was a steal for Donahue at 31 and put the 49ers on the path towards replacing the losses of Terrell Owens and Tai Streets.
Woods is 6'2", 202 pounds and has been a starter since his freshman year at Oklahoma State. He is a two-time All-American who established a collegiate record of seven touchdown catches in 2003 against Southern Methodist. Rashaun caught 293 passes for 4,414 yards and 42 touchdowns in his career as a Cowboy. He also became the eighth player in NCAA Division 1-A to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in a season three times in a career. Only two other receivers in the history of college football have had more touchdowns than Rashaun.
Woods is an excellent route runner with strong hands and possesses good quickness in and out of his breaks. Rashaun ran a 4.47 40 time and has a 39 inch vertical jump. Woods also possesses good separation speed and has a good mental makeup to become an elite receiver in the NFL.
San Francisco used their first second round pick on guard Justin Smiley from Alabama. Smiley was projected as a later first round pick on some draft boards and the 49ers were lucky to snag him in the middle of the second round. Erickson and Donahue indicated before the draft they may try to find a starting guard somewhere in the draft and Smiley will compete with Kyle Kosier for a starting spot on the line. Smiley started 36 games for the Crimson Tide and has never allowed a quarterback sack in his college career. Smiley is 6'3"and weighs in at 301 pounds and possesses good quickness and agility while also being able to drive the pile. Smiley also plays with a mean streak and could remind the 49ers of past Pro Bowl guard Kevin Gogan.
With their next pick the 49ers grabbed Pittsburgh cornerback Shawntae Spencer. The former Panther has good size at 6'0" but could be a little undersized at 176 pounds. Spencer ran a 4.48 40-yard dash and has good quickness. Shawntae set an all-time record at Pittsburgh deflecting 53 passes while also totaling 203 tackles. He is an aggressive player and has good quickness to the ball and will fill a void in the secondary following the loss of Jason Webster to the Atlanta Falcons during free agency.
By picking up Spencer the 49ers can let Dwaine Carpenter focus on free safety. The move could also mean the end of Zack Bronson's 49ers' career. Erickson indicated after the selection of Spencer that Bronson's status with the team will be a June 1st decision.
With their final selection of day one the 49ers again looked at wide receiver again and selected Derrick Hamilton from Clemson. The 6'3, 203 pound receiver from Dillon, South Carolina finished fourth on the school's all-time record list with 2,312 yards receiving during his career. He is third in school history with 16 career touchdown receptions and is the school's all-time leader in kickoff return yards with 1,552. Hamilton has good speed, running a 4.54 40-yard dash. Derrick has the ability to make defenders miss and is a good blocker. Hamilton is one of the best athletes in the draft and is considered by many as a major sleeper in the draft.
After a difficult off-season that saw the 49ers lose seven starters as well as their starting quarterback, running back and top receiver, San Francisco bounced back with a solid first day in the draft. With six more picks left on day two, the 49ers should be able to fill a lot of holes on the defensive line and add depth to their aging roster.
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