Originally posted by 9moon:
I can only give this draft a B+ at best, and that's because I personally think that these players are a year or two away from contributing.
The picking of Ward kinda throws me off. First of all, the guy is a natural FS, a very athletic FS even, but can he play CB?? Is that the plan?? If so, then why didn't just take Jason Varrett???
Sure it's a good draft, every player has a chance to stick w/ that team.. I like the drafting of Hyde because he's an insurance to the RB position. Gore is old and done, Lattimore of course is a question mark.. Both LeMichael and Hunter are nothing but a backup, and this is why Hyde was a good pick in my opinion.
The OLs we drafted, personally, I liked both of them. But they too, are insurance to Kilgore (center) and free agent to be (Iuapti).. Both are very good players in my opinion and we're lucky to have them..
Was Ellington a better pick than Clemson's Bryant?? or did we pick Ellington to be that returner, and if that's the case, is he a better player/returner than the REAL Black Mamba (D'Anthony Thomas)??
As good as ILB Borland is, does he fit in our system?? Are his excellent instincts better than both Moody and Wilhoite as a player?? Will he be the next Zack Thomas or Keith DeLong??
First, every draft pick is a gamble. Make no mistake about that. Even highly rated guys flame out every year. However, to answer a couple of the questions you raise, Ward was considered an excellent cover DB, not just a good cover S. He dominated at the Senior Bowl facing the best competition so don't underestimate his skills. Also, both the Niners' starting CBs this year (Brock and Culliver) were college safeties so the fact that Ward was doesn't mean the team won't convert him to CB. In fact, his body type is probably more suited to the corner anyway...and he is bigger than Brock BTW.
As far as Borland is concerned, he does fit the 3-4 system, which allows him to go right after the ball carrier rather than fend off d-linemen constantly. Despite his obvious physical limitations (height, speed, arm length), he has amazing instincts (which makes up for his pedestrian straight line speed) and is really
tough. Also, he has apparently always been a play-maker (that is, he makes tackles and forces fumbles at the right time
, like Bowman does). He will also provide an emotional lift for a defense probably needing one after the loss of Bowman. Finally, there have been many examples of short, effective LBs in the NFL so height is overrated. He is plenty big enough (245 lbs.) and with 4.83 speed, isn't a plodder. In my humble opinion, he has a good chance to be a fill in for Bowman unless Wilhoite wins the job...don't discount his
effort or attitude. At the very least, Borland will be an absolute beast on special teams, which is becoming more and more important in the NFL.