Notes from the 49er Draft Party
April 29, 2006 at 2:48 PM
The 49ers threw a draft day party at the Santa Clara Convention center today for some of the 49er faithful. Yours truly attended the 49ers’ soiree and these are my impressions or tidbits of info garnered from the 5-hour draft convention.
-The event was set up well. Upon entering there were rows of cheerleaders on each site waving their glittering pom-poms in the air. It certainly set the mood for the day.
-There was a Lombardi Trophy for photo ops, as well as a mock up of the locker room with shoulder pads, helmets, jerseys, socks and shoes.
-ESPN’s coverage of the Draft was playing on two big projection screens at the front of the room. To the left of the screens were tents for vendors. To the right of the screens were the autograph table/tent, the Lombardi Trophy and the locker room mock up.
-Of course, there were several marketers scattered across the floor to help you sign up for credit cards you don’t need or offer you stuff you will never use.
-There was an autograph table. Some of the players that took the time to sign autographs: Jesse Sapolu, Steve Bono, Bryant Young, Anthony Adams, Jonas Jennings, Billy Bajema, and Joe Nedney
-Before the first pick Gary Plummer and Joe Starkey came on stage and applauded Scott McCloughan for his work on the draft and in free agency. He stated his desire that the 49ers draft Vernon Davis and said that he would add some excitement to the team.
-Then Plummer and Starkey both took jabs at departed receiver Brandon Lloyd and said that he made some spectacular catches, but was too small and could not go over the middle. Plummer also said that Lloyd made “enemies” in the locker room.
-We also got a look at the new rendition of Sourdough Sam. No longer do we have a chubby looking old school miner. The new mascot looks like a fit, chiseled pretty boy with a cowboy hat. To be honest with you, the new Sourdough Sam kind of looks like a caricature of Alex Smith.
-When Green Bay selected A.J. Hawk with the 5th pick, the crowd (of about 1,000) erupted since that pretty much sealed the deal that the 49ers would select Vernon Davis.
-When the 49ers did finally make their selection, the crowd exploded with cheers of joy. The fans certainly approved of the pick.
-After the pick, Mike Nolan made an appearance and discussed the selection. He said that Vernon Davis would be wearing #85 this year. He said that Davis is definitely a “character guy” and that he would fit in nicely
-When asked about Davis’ reaction Nolan said, “Those better have been tears of joy.”
-Nolan also mentioned that he thought “The Duke” was not only the best tight end in the draft, he thought Davis was the best receiver in the draft as well.
-Maybe this means we will be seeing some of Vernon Davis split out at wide receiver next year.
-He said that he was looking forward to the pick at #22. He said that the 49ers were targeting 6 or 7 players at that spot. He was sure not all of them would be there, but they would select the best player available, regardless of position, when they were on the clock.
-A little more insight into the draft strategy: Nolan said that on day one the team needed starters. He said depth type players were supposed to be drafted on day 2. They were looking for starters that were “character guys.”
-After the 6th pick, the crowd thinned out a bit. When the 49ers selected Manny Lawson at #22, the remaining crowd cheered just as loud as they did when Davis was selected at #6. The fans were certainly on board with the picks, unlike previous years.
-After the 22nd pick, the “party” was over and everyone cleared out.
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