What if Vernon Davis is Gone?
April 28, 2006 at 9:42 AM
By Brett Pahler
I am sitting at my desk trembling at the prospect of Vernon Davis being snatched up before us. If Vernon's gone, I would assume that we would select A.J. Hawk. Hawk is a pretty good pick, but where does that leave us with our 22nd pick? After Mario Williams, there are no other first round caliber traditional defensive ends. I could see the argument for Santonio Holmes, but I can't help but wonder if he's the beneficiary of a terrible crop of receivers. Besides, at some point, we need to give Hamilton and Maxwell some time to develop. We're reasonably stable along the offensive line. When our line is good, our running backs are good. We have three hefty defensive tackles. We have four cornerbacks that are no worse than number three corners, and two prospects that we're high on. Picking a safety is a decent option, but 22nd is way too high. If we were going that route, we shouldn't have made the trade with Denver.
So, there's only one position left that makes any sense. If we pick A.J. Hawk with our 6th pick, I would still take a rush-linebacker (preferably Manny Lawson) with the 22nd pick. Hear me out. The 49ers pass rush was terrible last year, and we've lost Julian Peterson and Andre Carter, leaving Brandon Moore and Bryant Young as the only guys on the roster that are capable of generating more than 3 sacks a year. If we draft Hawk, he'll be good for 5 sacks a year, but sending him one-on-one against a left tackle 70% of the time would be a waste of his talents, and an ineffective waste at that. He's built to play a traditional linebacker role, and his instincts and nose for the ball make him effective when he blitzes, but he's not a pass-rush specialist.
Which would leave us with what? Brandon Moore would have to rush the majority of the snaps. But again, like Hawk, Moore's value stems from the fact that he's a great rusher for a middle linebacker, not because he's an elite sack artist. Adding a sack specialist like Lawson or Bobby Carpenter would let us bring some serious hardwood to the table. Remember those days under Erickson when we would load up and rush eight guys and still come nowhere close to the quarterback? That would never be a problem with these guys.
If we got Hawk and Lawson, our offense would still be terrible, but our defense would be both faster and tougher than last year. We could certainly use some young blood at the defensive end position, but if Ben Emmanuel can play free safety, we would have eleven pretty decent guys out there. I'm still hoping for Vernon Davis and Lawson, but if Eric Johnson can play a full year, this scenario wouldn't be the end of the world. Michael Huff and DeAngelo Williams would be.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
- No Comments