Farewell 49er Draft Crushes

Apr 30, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Players the 49ers did not take:

Tavon Austin. Imagine this jet-speed jitterbug, among the Niners' possession plodders, receiving Kaepernick passes in tight spaces, end-zone bound. Or he might have returned punts, kickoffs, even run some read-options. Who, then, could have possibly stopped the 49er offense? Certainly not the Seahawks, with their too-tall corners. Tavon would have ducked under them and disappeared. Sometimes, saviors do come in small packages. Luckily, 49er fans will get to watch him, or at least his backside, twice a year as, now with the Rams, he skitters into the end-zone against the team that once loved him. Fate. Cruel, cruel fate.

Sheldon Richardson could have joined the 49ers heretofore minimal defensive-line rotation, until ready for full-time duty as Justin Smith's replacement. Sure, Cornelius Carradine may do the same, but, after all, Richardson attended the same college as the Smith Brothers. Show me, ye football Gods, some pattern, some order, some meaning to this NFL universe.

Jonathan Cyprien. Had we but been patient this pick would have courted us. Unlike the above-two players, we would not have needed a trade-up to get him. And what a magnificent physical specimen: fast, large for his position, and willing to hit. Sounds suspiciously like Eric Reid, except from a smaller school, but no matter. The heart has its own reasons.

Zack Ertz. Worse and worse. Our own team spurned this local lad not once, in the first round, but twice, also forsaking him in the second round, trading down for another. And Harbaugh recruited him to Stanford! Is there, finally, no justice in this fickle league?

And, so, the post-draft blues set in, as, crestfallen from the losses of our one-time beloveds, we nurse our hurts and valiantly attempt not to dwell on what might have been. Move on, our therapists, and accountants, tell us. Tomorrow is another day. And yet. And yet. Who among us does not reserve some small portion of regret, beyond reason, beyond sanity, beyond even the solace of Mel Kiper? Still, we long. We yearn. We hunger.

Alas, this sweet, and deliciously self-indulgent, melancholy will dissipate soon enough, and no doubt our regret subside, perhaps sooner than it should. The NFL, with its now year-round marketing mechanics, will see to that. Before spring ends, we will have forgotten our pre-draft romances, as rookie camps begin and we start to assess what the new additions might mean for next year's prospects. Because, of course, we dream our crushes, fantasize about, flirt with, and sometimes even date them. But the players our teams actually select we marry; at very least, we desire longer-term relationships with them.

Meanwhile, the dashed hopes and unrealized wishes from our derelict crushes pile up like the rubble around the sluiced-out mines of the long-ago, original, 49ers, gold played out, the silver gone. For, unlike the NFL, with its annual rite-of-spring replenishment draft, none of us are getting any younger. And so, farewell, draft crushes. Till next year comes again, farewell.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Ninerfaithful
    That's why neither you nor I are GMs! Our organization is top notch and they know exactly what they are doing! Can't wait for the season!
    May 5, 2013 at 6:58 PM
    Response: Ah, off-season euphoria. I'm with ya. Go Niners!
  • Boss
    Somewhat off topic. Why, don't they run the 40 with full equipment on? It seems to me some guys can handle it better than others. A guy than runs a 4.3 without may run a 4.6 with equipment. Another guy may run a 4.5 without equipment, and a 4.65 with equipment. Jerry Rice didn't have blazing 40 speed, but he didn't get run down much in games. My point is the non-equipment workout don't tell you the full story. I want to know how high you can jump with equipment on.
    May 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM
    Response: You may be on to something here, although the NFL might not relish the camera shots of prospective rookies, a la jockeys post-Kentucky Derby, lined up after their sprints to weigh their gear.
  • Ron
    Couda, shoulda, woulda...I actually like our draft. Being out East I had hoped we would get Tank and dreamed we would get Lattimore. Smart draft. Ensuring excellence for years to come. Guess that's why they get paid the big bucks.
    May 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM
    Response: Didn't know the Niners had any fans east of The Embarcadero. Actually, I like the 49ers' draft, too.
  • Mike
    I wasn't impressed with Reid's tape as much as Cyprien's. What stood out for me was Cyprien looked like he could COVER & he is also PHYSICAL & can hit. They both run in the 4.5/40 range. (To be exact Reid runs a 4.53, Cyprien a 4.56) In Harbaalke I trust. Reid's advantage is he played in the supreme SEC so that legitimizes him. Really did love Cyprien's tape. I also loved Elam's tape, but I get Baalke's prereq to acquire "SIZE" guys where for the most part I agree. I pray our fantastic secondary Coach Dontatell can teach & develop Reid how to COVER. Ahhh Tavon Austin...there goes the fantasy. Would've been perfect for Kap & this O. Hopefully soon we get our legit deep threat that spread out the Defense & make our Offense complete & unstoppable. Still GREAT work Harbaalke!
    May 2, 2013 at 6:44 AM
    Response: Perceptive comments. No doubt we will all revisit the defensive back and receiver situations as the off/regular seasons roll along.
  • Frank
    I was calling for Baalke to draft Da'Rick Rogers...but he didn't, nor did any other team. Instead, they took Patton and I'm thrilled with that pick. I got over my "crush". I was also hoping they'd take TE Kelce...but once I learned about McDonald's versatility, his pick made perfect sense. I guess these are the things that make the NFL draft so compelling.
    May 2, 2013 at 5:29 AM
    Response: Yep, Rogers and Kelce were on my wish list also, but a team has only finite picks, and I agree that Patton and McDonald both make sense. Glad you got over your "crush." I will use your sanity as inspiration to help me get over mine.
  • WildBill
    Think of it as a summer fling. Those things almost never last. Cyp did good in the senior bowl, but his highlights on the internet didn't show anything impressive, not good when from a small school. Austin, will do well, but like Harvin will get hurt eventually when having to play the teams as physical as the 49ers and Seahawks twice a year. You recall how many teams, even if they beat the 49ers in the last two years were aching the next few games?
    May 1, 2013 at 9:19 PM
    Response: I told my therapist about the "summer fling" interpretation, and she wants to hire you as an assistant. I also told my accountant, and he now wants to invest in my therapist's business. Seriously, good points on the players.
  • Mark
    I wanted Cyprien after the Reid pick so we would have two interchangeable starting safeties for the next decade or so
    May 1, 2013 at 8:33 PM
    Response: Good idea. We may have to wait a while for that.
  • Boss
    I've been watching the NFL network and ESPN post draft coverage. Everybody is amazing to these guys. Their main complaints are drafting a player too early. I'm a Big 12 fan and West Virginia got a beat down in the second half of the season. Geno and his WR's had a major drop off in the second half of the season. Austin has great ability, but was in a very wide open offense that doesn't seem like a Fisher offense.
    May 1, 2013 at 4:43 PM
    Response: Thanks for the insights. Fisher may have to tweak his offfense to compete.
  • moose
    Can crushes turn into heartbreakers? we will know in a couple of years
    Apr 30, 2013 at 1:22 PM
    Response: Good point. Maybe I was so stricken with present remorse that I failed to fully consider future heartbreak! Dang.
  • niner
    arizona isnt goign to guarantee honey badgers contract. Lets give them a 3rd rounder and 7th in trade. Now that we addressed our pass rush, a good young cb is good bussiness!
    Apr 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM
    Response: A team can't have enough "good young cb's," but would Arizona trade in their own division? And what would the Niners have to give up to get said Badger?
  • Dave
    Are these just crushes or are you saying that we should have drafted these players? A couple things.....Ertz is a great receiving TE. I do not believe we were looking for another receiving TE. We wanted a TE that was versatile and could block or learn to block. I see neither of those qualities in Ertz. In fact I'm most excited about the McDonald pick. Nothing I read ever said Cyprien was fast, I think he was clocked in the 4.65 range. Big yes and a good in the box safety...Not really a need for us this year. I believe Reid brings more ability to defend the pass. Just my two cents if its worth that much
    Apr 30, 2013 at 9:47 AM
    Response: Thanks for the two cents. I learn a lot from fans like you.
  • matt
    Apr 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM
    Response: I couldn't have said it better.
  • shemp
    lots of drama in this article, lol.
    Apr 30, 2013 at 8:22 AM
    Response: Not only drama, but melodrama!

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