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On Saturday, March 24, 49erswebzone.com and 49ersparadise.com held a chat session with draft guru Drew Boylhard of The Huddle Report. Attendees were able to ask Drew questions regarding the NFL Draft from a 49ers fan's perspective. Below are some key points that Drew hit during the chat session. These questions were asked by 49ers fans from the two fan sites.
If USC WR Dwayne Jarrett runs poorly at his pro day, is it possible for him to slip to the second round and conversely, if he does perform well, may that move Tennessee WR Robert Meachem into the second round?
Drew: Jarrett will probably stay in the 1st round. If he runs a 4.3-4.4, he'll probably go in the top 15. Meacham will be top 15 pick also, regardless of Jarrett's performance.
Do you see Ole Miss LB Patrick Willis being as successful in the 3-4 scheme as he can be in the 4-3?
Drew: Willis will be more successful in a 3-4 than a 4-3 because he's not that good in the passing game and can be covered up in a 3-4.
What are your thoughts on Washington State WR Jason Hill becoming a Niner?
Drew: Hill as a Niner...he'd be good for a lot of teams -- good size, speed and hands. I imagine a lot of teams will want Jason Hill. Hill could impact in a WCO in 2 years.
What are the chances of Patrick Willis being a top ten pick?
Drew: Willis in the top 10...it's hard to say. There are a lot of good players in the top 10. I know that the 49er's are very high on Willis because the coach feels he has a lot of the same attributes as Ray Lewis. I feel he'll go right below the top 10 -- 11-15. Watch's Rob's value board on The Huddle Report to keep a close watch on him.
Is Michigan DT Alan Branch really dropping that much, or is a lot of it over exaggerated? How do you see him fitting as a 3-4 DE?
Drew: Branch...right now, it's a lot of exaggeration. As we get closer to the draft, the real way to see if he's dropping is to watch Rob's board. He will be successful in either defense -- 3-4 or 4-3.
Branch appears to have more physical talent and potential, but Nebraska’s Adam Carriker seems to have a better work ethic and attitude. If the Niners have their choice between the two, who would be the better pick?
Drew: I think Carriker is the better pick for the 49er's. You already have Sopoaga, so Carriker would be a better fit in my opinion.
What are the chances that the Niners move down and take Bowe in the first round?
Drew: If the Niners want Bowe, they better pick him right where they are. The Rams, Bills, Panthers and Steelers all like him; therefore, they shouldn't risk moving down to get him.
Who are your top 5 3-4 DE’s and why?
Drew: Top 5 3-4 DE's: Branch, Carriker, Anderson, Spencer and Harrell. They can all play either defensive schemes as tackles or DE's.
What are the chances the Niners will make a reach at a WR at the 11 spot? If they did, who would the pick be?
Drew: If they reached at 11, it will be [Ohio State WR Ted] Ginn. If he can workout, it wouldn't surprise me to see the 49er's take him. He'll add speed to the WR position as well as be a big contributor on special teams.
What other first day defensive linemen could play 3-4 DE?
Drew: Other 3-4 DE's on the first day: Ray McDonald (Florida), Tim Crowder (Texas), Charles Johnson (Georgia). There are a few more, but will probably be taken later than 1st day.
If you are the Niners and want to draft a nose tackle, whom would you draft and in what round given that we now have Aubrayo Franklin?
Drew: I would draft Paul Soliai in the 3rd round (Utah). In the 6th round, you could take Louis Leonard (Fresno State).
What are your thoughts on safety Marvin White? Do you think he could be good in coverage? What round do you see him going in?
Drew: Marvin White (TCU)...he's a solid safety -- probably go in the 2nd day of the draft. Would be a fit for a team that plays 2-deep zone.
Can Louisville DT Amobi Okoye be successful in a 3-4 defense?
Drew: No, Okoye is strictly a 4-3 defensive tackle in a 1-gap system. He really doesn't have the run techniques, he's not strong enough and his size limits him. Personally, I think he's a little overrated.
How much of an impact (if any) do you think the trade between the Falcons and Texans will have on the 11th pick?
Drew: None; no significant difference.
How much stock do GMs put in Combine numbers? It seems before the combine, Willis was rated a first rounder but Carriker wasn’t. After the Combine, Carriker’s stock shot up. I don’t get how or why if what we should base things on is game film.
Drew: Combine numbers matter to the draft sites -- those are the people changing the ratings. Most of the teams have players slotted before the combine. It does give the COACHES (in many cases) the first look upclose at the players instead of the scouts, which may explain some of the movement.
A follow up question to one of your earlier answers… Sopoaga shouldn't factor into the equation for us. I guess the better question is, who is the better 3-4 DE in your mind, Branch or Carriker?
Drew: Carriker is the better DE in my opinion.
How far will Ginn fall could he be taken in the late 1st and would we make a move to draft him that late?
Drew: Right now, it all depends on how badly Ginn is hurt. If he cannot workout, he may move into the 2nd round. It's a foot injury to a speed receiver -- it could be a chronic problem for all we know. The injury will determine his slot.
Do you think Purdue’s Anthony Spencer is a 3-4 DE?
Drew: No, Spencer is more of a 4-3 DE. He doesn't have really good strength.
Do you see Carriker being taken before our pick at 11? If so, where do you think he'll go?
Drew: Carriker could go to the Vikings, Texans, Dolphins or Falcons -- they all need DL's and he's very versatile.
How come no one is talking about Levi Brown at #11? Is it too high for him?
Drew: #11 is too high for him in a normal draft. However, because this draft has very few left tackles, he's being discussed that high. I don't think many teams that need this position are happy about it either.
Is there a safety or two that you think the Niners will be targeting in the mid-to-late rounds?
Drew: S's in the mid-late rounds that might be considered by the Niners would be: John Wendling (Wyoming), Josh Gattis (Wake Forest) and one of my favorite players Sabby Piscitelli (Oregon State). Another that might be consdered is Eric Frampton (Washington State).
Who is your pick for the Niners at #11 and why?
Drew: If Ted Ginn works out well, I think they'll take him. If not, I see Dwayne Bowe or Dwayne Jarrett.
Do you feel that the Niners will draft a running back for depth? If so, when will they draft one?
Drew: RB would be taken 2nd day. Some prospects would be DeShawn Wynn (Florida) or Brandon Jackson (Nebraska).
Do you feel that Carriker and Branch are that much better than the other 3-4 prospects or should we take in the best player available at 11 and go front 7 later in the draft?
Drew: Best player available is always my rule of thumb. There are lots of DE's that played DT's in college, but they would be good DE's in a 3-4 defense. They'll be available in later rounds of the draft. I would still take Carriker or Branch at 11 if they were the best players available at that slot.
What do you think of Hawaii DE Ikaika Alama-Francis? Would he be good fit and good value in 3rd round?
Drew: Francis -- I don't think he's a good fit for 3-4 defense. Also, he's hurt with a shoulder injury, which might be/develop into a chronic problem. I'd wait until the 2nd day to pick him.
Is Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny a backer that can be effective in a 3-4 scheme?
Drew: Posluszny can be effective in the 3-4 as an OLB and in the 4-3 as an OLB -- he's just not an inside LB.
Who do you think will be this year's Marques Colston in the '07 draft?
Drew: This year's successful surprise (I believe) will be David Ball (New Hampshire) and Matt Trannon (Michigan State). Both are very good ballplayers and they're going to get lost in the shuffle of all the WR's this draft that are good.
At #11, does it really come down to Willis, Carriker, Branch, or possibly a receiver? Is there a player we might take that would surprise us?
Drew: No, I think your choices are right. The only surprise would be Ted Ginn.
In an earlier response to a question, you had Spencer among the top 5 3-4 DEs, then when asked if Spencer would be a good 3-4 DE, you said no. You said he'd be a better fit for the 4-3. Does this mean that this years 3-4 DE class isn't very good?
Drew: This year's class of DE's should be very good because there are a lot of small DT's than can play DE. Sorry about the Spencer include on the 3-4 list -- was a mistake. He's definitely a 4-3 guy.
What do you think about the WR Paul Williams from Fresno State? Were do you see him going?
Drew: Williams...I don't see him going until the 2nd day. I liked him in his junior year, but didn't like what I saw during his senior year. I have profiled him on the site if you'd like to read more about him.
If Tennessee’s Robert Meachem and LSU’s Dwayne Bowe are on the board and a team is looking for a WR, which one would you pick and why?
Drew: Between Meacham & Bowe...depends on the offensive scheme. Meacham's a little faster and would probably fit the vertical game better than Bowe. Bowe is excellent fit for WCO. To be honest, though, it's a toss-up...these guys are very close in talent.
Considering the attention that has been given to off-field conduct this offseason, how far could Eric Wright slip, or will it not have an effect?
Drew: Eric Wright's situation was a little different than most others who have character issues. I think he could slip into the 1st round because his character issues were more related to his roommates, less directly with him. Therefore, I don't think it's going to have much of an affect on his draft status. Patriots seems to be interested in him and they have 2 picks in the 1st round.
What do you think of LSU safety LaRon Landry? Do you think the 49ers might target him given that we added Clements and Lewis to our secondary?
Drew: Landry will be taken before the 49er's pick; therefore, if they wanted a safety, they would have to settle for Reggie Nelson. However, I'd be surprised if the 49er's selected a safety at their pick.
In your opinion, will Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson live up to the hype surrounding him?
Drew: Calvin Johnson will live up to the hype. I think he's a dynamite ballplayer with good heart and character.
Louisville RB Michael Bush is all over the board. What round will he be taken in and is it a possibility for the Niners?
Drew: Michael Bush, at this point, will probably fall out of the 1st day due to his recent surgery. His injury is not healing as expected, so not sure what teams are thinking about him at this point.
What are your thoughts on Pittsburgh linebacker H.B. Blades in the 3-4? What round do you see him being taken in?
Drew: Blades...I like him a lot. I think he would be very good in the 3-4; should be taken in the 3rd or 4th round.
What is the deepest position in this draft?
Drew: Deepest position in this draft is WR, followed by defensive line -- LB's, safeties and corners are all very deep in this year's draft.
Who do you think the Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks will take with their picks? Being in the same division, what happens with them obviously affects us.
Drew: Cards -- probably take a defensive lineman; Branch or Okoye. Rams -- might look at the safety position or LB. Seahawks -- offensive line or safety.
Of the DEs this year, which in your opinion would make a good OLB in the 3-4?
Drew: 3-4 OLB: Jarvis Moss (Florida), Lamar Woodley (Michigan), Jay Moore (Nebraska) and Brian Robison (Texas).
Garrett Wolfe gets no love, but I think he could be very effective as a compliment to Gore. Plus he should be around on the 2nd day. What are your thoughts?
Drew: I think Garrett Wolfe will either be a late round pick or FA. Strictly a special teams player or slot receiver. He doesn't have the strength/power/bulk to be a RB in the NFL.
Are we more likely to move up from the 2nd back into the first or the 3rd back into the 2nd round this year?
Drew: I think if you trade a draft pick at all this year, it will be in the 2nd round. You will probably want to trade for more draft picks.
How come so many draft sites feel that we would pick a WR with our 11th pick? Nolan and McCloughan clearly said that they would rather target WRs and RBs in the later rounds? What do you guys know that we don’t?
Drew: We're just like anyone else -- we analyze what we view as team needs and coaches/GM's don't always show their hand before the draft.
Will we move down to get more picks?
Drew: If you move down, I don't believe it will be from the 11th pick. It will be in your 2nd round picks.
Special thanks goes to Drew Boylhard of The Huddle Report for taking the time out of his busy schedule to attend this chat session.