Originally posted by okdkid:
Both are elite players. But it is far easier to find players like Ngata and plug them in immediately (not easy...easier). Guys with Vernon's measurables, all around skills and production can't be found...ever.
Sorry, its MUCH harder find stud, all-pro NTs like Ngata. Those guys are true difference-makers and what you build your 3-4 defense around. The 49ers will learn that lesson the hard way this coming season especially if Franklin is gone. There's a reason you rarely see TEs taken early in the first round. They play away from the ball and don't have nearly the same type of impact. You can easily take them out of a teams offense as we saw many teams do to Vernon this year. All-Pro DT's > All-Pro TEs and its not even close.
Vernon was a good but not great pick. You're right about the measurables and everything. But track athletes and weight room phenoms don't win football games unfortunately. You're only half-right about his production. In 5 seasons hes had one real all-pro season. His first 3 years were complete disappointments. In those years he averaged 34 receptions, 10.9 yards per reception, and 3 TDs per year. Are those superstar numbers?
2009 was a breakout season for him certainly and what you would expect out of a top 10 pick. Last year though he came back to earth a bit and posted good(but not great) numbers. Part of that was due to teams adjusting and him seeing more double teams and blanket coverage. And of course some of it was due to inconsistent/erratic play at QB. For those that say those are factors out of his control, I agree. But it also brings me back to an earlier point, you just don't draft TEs that early in the draft. They're just too easy to gameplan out of offenses and their success is contingent on much of what others in the offense do. In contrast, Haloti Ngata would be a dominate force in anyones defensive scheme.