Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: A BIG TIME Talent! I said it before, Anthony Davis is the most talented offensive tackle in a very talented offensive tackle class. He was the top rated offensive lineman coming out of High School and was recruited by everyone, USC, Ohio State, Florida, Miami, they all wanted him very badly but he was the first big time recruit coming out of New Jersey who stayed in state and signed with Rutgers. Came in as an 18 year old true freshman and started the last 8 games at right guard. Started 12 games at left tackle as a true sophomore in 2008 and another 12 at LT in 2009. Now he did report overweight every season at Rutgers starting with his freshmen season and was suspended for a game last year for being late to a team meeting. He was also overweight for the combine, so yes he has some flaws but he is only 20yrs old and he really does not have many weaknesses in his game. Go watch the game vs Pitt this past year; He dominated Pittsburgh DE Greg Romeus who is projected as a top 5 pick for the 2011 draft. He handled both George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul when USF played Rutgers. This kid when he is focused, he is a big time player. He was projected as a top 2-4 pick next year had he came back for his Senior season at Rutgers. At 6'5" 323pds he is obviously a big kid but he also has a wide frame with long arms. He can just slide and mirror defensive ends. He has good feet, esspecially for someone his size. I trust Singletary will keep this kid motivated and in shape and with Solari coaching him up along with Ray Brown, I think he is in good hands in San Francisco. I think he can come right in and compete for starting RT job and in 2011 and beyond I think he will be a big time NFL offensive tackle.
Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: A big, nasty, physical 6'5" 332pd Samoan who helped make Idaho a relevant football program for the first time in a long time. Still a little raw as I believe he did not start playing football until the 8th grade. Started 33 games the last three seasons at Idaho and was team captain the last season. Can be flat out dominating in the running game. He just bowls over defenders with his size, power and massive hands. Could use work in pass protection and tends to do a lot of holding and his footwork can be sloppy but all that is coachable. He struggled in the Senior Bowl game but in the practices he was really solid, at times dominating. Really got the better of Penn State DT Jared Odrick in one on one drills. Still learning to play football and has a huge upside. I do think he can be a factor as a run blocker as a rookie and eventually turning into a very good all-around guard. The type of player you can run behind when you need a yard, someone we don't have.
Taylor Mays, S, USC: I thought we might take Taylor Mays with our 17th overall pick and while I wasn't for it, I would not have been all that upset as I think we could have done a lot worse. So to pick him in the second round with the 49th overall pick...Man what a steal! I thought Mays was a little overrated but that is when I thought he would be a top 20, possibly top 10 pick. At 49, he is a steal. At 6'3" 230pds, he has the size and is built like a RB, but he runs like a cornerback and hits like a strong safety. Sure he is to over aggressive at times and misses some tackles, but he also makes tackles he has no business to make as he comes flying out of nowhere and makes amazing tackles and stops (watch the 3rd and 1 situation vs Cal and stopping Jahvid Best short of the 1st down). Oh and Mays does blow people up. He knocks people out of games. He will need to ease up a bit in the NFL but he will be an intimidating presence in the middle with his size and hitting ability and man with him and Dashon Goldson, we will have two big, hard hitting safeties who can also run like deer. Yes Mays does need some work in pass coverage and while some argue he is not that bad in pass coverage its just Pete Carroll did not use him that way, that is half way correct but there is a reason why Carroll did not have him in pass coverage often, simply because he is much better at the line and attacking the ball and playing the run. I watched Mays in one on one pass coverage drills at the Senior Bowl and ball drills at the combine and he just is not natural playing the pass and the ball. He certainly has the speed and he isn't stiff but he just struggles to read the ball. Can that be coached or come with time? Maybe but i think it will always be a weakness with him. That being said, im fine with that as he will make a ton of plays against the run and running around sideline to sideline and will be also be a factor blitzing the QB. You watch, Greg Manusky will use him in a lot of differen't ways in a lot of differen't spots. At worse, Taylor Mays will be a younger, faster Michael Lewis. I think he has a chance to develop into a very good player though and Manusky and Singletary will get the most out of him.
Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State: A head scratching pick IMO. Bowman is a talented player and I saw him being projected as high as a mid 2nd rd pick, but I just do not see where Bowman fits into our 3-4 defense. He is a natural 4-3 OLB, IMO. Maybe he could be play Patrick Willis's spot in the 3-4 but I just do not see him as a "Ted" where we need a future replacement for Takeo Spikes. Bowman is more of an athletic, rangy linebacker who runs well and is good in pass coverage but I do not see him as a "banger". Maybe Singletary and company feel they can develop him into that kind of player but I don't see it. Like I said, he is a talented player and he should help on special teams, but I just don't know where he will help us on defense, short-term or long term. Plus he has had his fair share of off the field issues and did not interview well at the combine as he was perceived as very arrogant but a lot of teams who took him off their draft boards. Obviously Singletary thinks he can keep this kid in line and I have a feeling he pushed Baalke to take this kid. I thought we should of taken a D-lineman or cornerback (Parrish Cox?) with this pick in the 3rd rd...
Anthony Dixon, RB, Mississipi State: A solid pick in the 6th rd. Dixon is a talented 6'0" 231pd RB who had some off the field issues at Miss State as well as an incident with Sylvester Croom as a Jr but overall he was pretty productive and as a Senior, he really came on for new coach Dan Mullen as he rushed for 1,391yds and 12 touchdowns in 11 games (was suspended for the opener) in the tough SEC conference. He looks the part, he is a big RB who is well cut and athletic. Shows a nice burst at times and did a nice job of finishing his runs as a Senior. He looked okay at the Senior Bowl. Hopefully he continues to get better and he has some upside but at best I think he would be a solid #2 RB which would be okay considering where we drafted him.
Nate Byham, TE, Pittsburgh: Not going to waste much time talking about Byham as he is a very good blocking tight end and that is what he was drafted to do. Hopefully he turns out to be a better pick than Bear Pascoe.
Kyle Wilson, WR-KR, Arizona State: Very quick, speedy short kid who came on as a WR at Arizona State as a Sr but he was drafted to compete for a special teams job as a kick and punt returner. He was a very solid but not great return guy at Arizona State. I think the team wants someone to compete with Ted Ginn for punt return duties where Ginn has had some issues. I really don't see us just keeping Williams as a Punt returner though and I see him headed right for the practice squad.
Phillip Adams, CB, South Carolina State: Really don't know much about this kid, wasn't projected to be drafted on a lot of boards. Best case scenario he makes the PS and maybe develops into a decent backup and ST's guy down the road?
Un-drafted Free Agent signings:
LaGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon: I am really excited about this pickup. What a steal as an undrafted free agent. I was hoping we would take Blount in the 5th or 6th rd so to sign him as an undrafted FA, it's a great, no risk move. Blount is a 2nd or 3rd rd talent who obviously killed his draft stock after punching the kid from Boise State on national TV and then trying to go into the stands, that did him in. He also had some academic issues at Oregon but I saw a special on him right before he was reinstated at Oregon for the Rose Bowl and he really seemed to mature, grow up and appreciate things and football more after that incident and suspension and he just seemed sincere and didn't blame anyone else. Okay, let's talk about his talent. He was a big time running back in High school coming out of Florida and signed with Auburn but failed to qualify and went to JC in Mississippi for two years and tore it up. Was a very highly sought after player coming out of JC and signed with Oregon and despite being the #2 RB as a JR in 2008, Blount rushed for 1,002yds while setting a single season Oregon Ducks record for rushing touchdowns with 17 and he averaged 7.3yds a carry. He went into the 2009 season with high expectations and Oregon was pushing him and marketing him for a Heisman run but was suspended for the season after that first game against Boise State before being reinstated for the Rose Bowl. This is a very talented player who was projected as a 2nd rd pick going into the 2009 season. Big RB at 6'0" 1/2 241pds but very light on his feet and good cut back ability for a a player his size. He finishes his runs and has a strong stiff arm. I've seen Blount compared to Brandon Jacobs but he actually reminds me of Corey Dillon who also had to go the JC route because of bad grades and had some character issues at Washington. I I would also add that Blount had a strong Senior Bowl week as he was solid in the practices and in the game. He had a nice 12yd run behind Mike Iupati and really he had no business being undrafted. I know he had that incident and I think teams were trying to send a message but this guy is a 2nd or 3rd rd talent who should have been drafted at least in the 5th or 6th rd. At worse I think he can be a good #2 or 3 back in the NFL and be very effective in short yardage and goal-line situations I have a good feeling about this kid with the 49ers, I think he can be a major factor and contributor with this team.
Jarrett Brown, QB, West Virginia: Talented but very raw QB. Runs a 4.54 at 5'2" 224pds and has a strong arm. Some say he is a poor man's, Raw Michael Vick. Stick him on the PS for 2yrs and maybe he can develop into a backup down the road...
LeRoy Vann, KR, Florida A&M: His return stats are off the chart, granted it is in 1-AA football but still, he has eye popping, record setting stats as a Kick and Punt returner at Florida A&M. I would have preferred we had taken him over Kyle Williams so to get him as an UFA works for me.
Summary: I like our draft, maybe not love it but I like it. We went with the obvious and improved the biggest weakness on our team which has been for a long time, the offensive line. I really feel Anthony Davis will be a pro bowl, Jason Peters type player for us in a few years. Remember, he was the youngest player in the draft (20yrs old) but I do look for him to start as a rookie at RT. I think Iupati was just a very solid pick and he will give us the guy we need to run behind on 3rd and 1. He is raw and needs some work on his pass protection and technique and while im not sure he will start Week 1, I do think he will start at some point in 2010 and be a factor for us, esspecially as a run blocker. Not crazy about the Bowman pick in the 3rd rd. The Dixon pick was solid and Byham fills a need and I think he will have a role as a blocking TE. I really like the signing of LaGarette Blount. We got a 2nd-3rd rd talent as an undrafted FA signing and I really feel he will make an impact on this team as a rookie and long term. Really excited about Tom Rathman coaching him and Singletary mentoring him. I would give us an overall draft grade of a B, maybe B+ if you factor in the Blount signing. I am a little worried about us not adding any real cornerback and D-Line depth but we made our offensive line much better short term and esspecially long term, Taylor Mays was a steal and will replace Michael Lewis at some point (I think this season) and I like the two big RB's we added. A very nice draft by Trent Baalke and I suspect Mike Singletary had a huge influence and say in this draft.