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On Tuesday, March 22nd, 49erswebzone.com and 49ersparadise.com held a chat session with draft guru Colin Lindsay of Great Blue North Draft Report. Attendees were able to ask Colin questions regarding the NFL Draft from a 49ers fan's perspective. Colin had some interesting takes on the NFL Draft. Below are some key points that Colin hit during the chat session. They have been slightly edited to make more sense outside of a chat room environment. These questions were asked by 49ers fans from the two fan sites.
Who are we taking at #1? I'd love your opinion on A. Rodgers.
Colin: Certainly the buzz around the NFL these days is that Rodgers is the 49ers' guy. I like him as a player, but there has to be a real question whether he's worth the #1 pick. Overall, last year he probably would not have been more than the 4th or 5th QB selected. Rodgers is close to Rivers in many regards but is awfully short and as you say, lacks the real arm strength. What he has though is terrific football instincts and a very accurate arm. If it were up to me, I might take Smith who I see as having a bigger upside that Rodgers. He is a better athlete and has a stronger arm. Rodgers though has the intangibles and the experience.
Doesn't Rodgers have a better arm than Smith?
Colin: No. Smith has the stronger arm. But Rodgers probably has the quicker release and is more accurate. They are awfully close in terms of skill though. Rodgers has a terrific football mind, gets rid of the ball quickly, and is super accurate.
Does Rodgers compare to Eli Manning?
Colin: Personally, I think Rodgers compares to JP Losman last year. That is just my opinion. I refer to his grade not necessarily style.
Why wouldn't Rodgers grade out better than Rivers? Doesn't he have better arm and better throwing motion?
Colin: It's really tough grading QBs. I don't believe people feel that Rodgers has a particularly strong arm at all, but it's strong enough given the other intangibles he has. Rivers was a hard guy to evaluate because of the odd mechanics, but once everyone figured that wasn't going to be a problem, he graded out very high because he had the quickest release and most accurate arm a lot of people had seen in a long while.
Who are some QBs that we can't pass on in round 2 or 3? Frye, Campbell, Adrian M.?
Colin: If I am the 49ers and I passed on a QB in round 1, I'd certainly pass again later in this draft and wait until next year for Leinart or a free agent. This is not a real strong QB class.
Who do 'You' think the Niners should take?
Colin: I am not sure I'd be taking either Smith or Rodgers because I am not sold on them as top elite prospects. The 49ers have lots of holes and I'd be tempted to take one of the WRs and get my QB another way down the road. This is a major rebuilding job the 49ers have and I wouldn't want to force things.
Think we move the pick and take Merriman or D.J. in the 1st and Frye 2nd round?
That would be interesting, but I doubt that it happens because there are just no players in this draft worth moving up to the #1 spot for. The 49ers I suspect would love to trade the pick but it's unlikely they'll find anyone to take it off their hands.
Do you see Braylon Edwards as a smokescreen for the Niners to possibly move out of the top pick?
Colin: If the 49ers were to move the pick it would be because someone wanted either Edwards or Williams. But I just don't see anyone moving up to get them at #1.
Do you think Shaun Cody will be available at the #33 pick?
Colin: No. He looks like a 15-20 type player.
How do the receivers rate next to last years crop?
Colin: I think they'd be closer [than the QBs]. Fitzgerald and Williams would still have been 1 and 2. But Edwards might have been a close 3rd and Mike Williams 4th. They would have been top 10'ers last year. I really don't think either of the QBs would have been.
Is it true that after the combine, a lot of players' stocks rose?
Colin: A lot of players stocks did, but there really still is a very poorly defined top 10 this year. This draft does have is plenty of depth at positions like CB, WR and DE. I don't this year's draft is quite as strong as last year's, but last year's was exceptional.
iLL49er then commented that those were exactly the positions that the 49ers needed. So that was more reason to take a QB at #1. Colin replied as follows:
Colin: iLL...that's a perfectly legitimate option. The thing about next year is that other than Leinart and maybe Omar Jacobs of BowlingGreen, it could be an even worse year at QB.
Who is the best player in this draft?
Colin: There really isn't a clear #1.
Could he comment on any of the RB's in this draft? Specifically Alvin Pearman and Ryan moats.
Colin: RB is another strong position in this year's draft. I'm not a huge fan of either guy...at least as a top pick. Moats is smallish without a whole lot of power. Pearman will be a useful pro as a backup and return guy but isn't super fast.
Who do you think will have a better career in the pro? Cedrick Benson or Ronnie Brown?
Colin: Brown; Benson is another head case who is going to drive his coaches crazy. Brown has a chance to be a very good pro. He is big, tough, and very physical. Plus a great receiver who goes hard all the time!
What about us trading Julian Peterson and picking up Derrick Johnson
Colin: Might be an idea but nobody else wants the #1 pick. DJ is one of our favorite players but I am not sure you want to pay him top 5 type money. If I went D, it would be for a guy who can rush the passer like Merriman.
What do you think of Marion Barber? Many people don't realize that he is bigger than Cedric Benson. He tested out real well. Might he slip into the first round?
Colin: Yeah we like Barber a lot; Although, not quite that much [as Benson]. Good back with some return skills but he's not overly agile or quick. Would be a nice player if he was still there early in the third.
Kahliff Barnes...do you see him maybe being this years Levi Jones?
Interesting comparison. Certainly is possible. We watched a lot of KB at the Senior Bowl. He was one of the most athletic OL there and would dominate at times. But then he would just lose his guy. Very inconsistent. But certainly the athletic talent is there. Overall, it's not a good year for OTs. There are some decent OGs though.
Is this the worst safety class you've seen in a few years?
Colin: It's the worst safety class I've ever seen period! Still, you can always find a player or two, even in bad years.
Vincent Jackson...real deal or no? Is Vincent Jackson a possibility for the Niners?
Colin: We really like VJ. He has great size and pretty good athleticism. But he is very raw. Certainly worth a long look if he was there at #65. You'd be adding another inexperienced player to an already very inexperienced WR group.
What pick in the top 5/10 do you think could shock people?
Colin: Merriman! I think someone may take a shot at him earlier than say, 10 or 11, where he's now projected to go.
Do you think the 49ers will sign Boston? Does that impact their draft?
Colin: Boston strikes me as a real short term answer and I wouldn't be changing my draft strategy too much if they did sign him.
Can Fabian Washington be a great corner in the NFL? Or is he over hyped due to his workout?
Colin: Based on very good frosh and soph seasons (he struggled a bit in 2004), I think he could be the real deal.
What are your thoughts on the Niners draft LAST year?
Colin: The 49ers 2004 draft had to be a tad disappointing. Spencer was a steal. And I believe Sopoaga will eventually be a good player. But they really didn't get much help from a great draft.
Special thanks goes to Colin Lindsay of Great Blue North Draft Report for taking the time out of his busy schedule to attend this chat session. Thanks to Bryan Hersh of 49ersparadise.com for keeping the chat session organized. The entire chat transcript can be found here.