Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
He does have a say compared to Bruce Miller. Unlike Miller (who was barely draftable as an undersized, short- armed DE/LB), Telvin Smith is one of the better/more athletic LBs in the draft, and can make it clear to teams that he has no interest in playing safety. Plus, Miller didn't seem to have an issue with it whereas Smith does. Sure, teams can go ahead and draft him and MAKE him play that position (like you suggest), but they'd be stupid to do so.
It's tough enough playing in the NFL when you actually want to play a certain role...how much more difficult would you make it for a kid who made it clear to anyone who'd listen that he doesn't want to do a certain thing? You're inviting trouble when you don't have to, and that's more about hubris and ego ("we'll make him do this and he'll like it!") than anything else. There are plenty of talented safeties out there that not only have the experience playing the position (unlike Smith) but actually want to play that position.
This. I haven't heard any justification why its better to take a linebacker like Smith to play safety as opposed to Jimmie Ward, Brock Vereen or any number of actual safeties out there.
Eon also makes a good point, Chancellor looks good IN Seattle's system which allows him to play up closer to the line of scrimmage than pretty much any other safety in the NFL, if they dropped him back deep in coverage regularly the way the 49ers do, I think you'd see him perform a lot more poorly. Rather than trying to copy what Seattle is doing, I think the 49ers should attempt to have safeties that are basically interchangeable and more or less equal in coverage.