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John Murphy’s thoughts on the 2005 NFL Draft

Apr 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM0

On Monday, April 18th, and held a chat session with draft guru John Murphy of NEXTLEVEL SCOUTING, INC. Attendees were able to ask John questions regarding the NFL Draft from a 49ers fan's perspective. Below are some key points that John hit during the chat session. They may have been slightly edited to better fit outside of a chat room environment. These questions were asked by 49ers fans from the two fan sites.

Is Smith the Niners' choice?

John: It would seem that if they can get a deal done with him... Smith will be the choice. I still think they would like to entertain some offers. But other teams feel they can deal with Miami or Cleveland. If the right deal came along I think they would strongly consider moving down... if not it will be Smith.

What about the trade with Minnesota how much validity is there?

John: Minnesota has the combo of picks to make a deal work, but it is also done to feel out the rest of the market. If the Vikes offered both #1's, 2nd and 3rd... that is still barely enough to cover the #1 overall choice... in terms of the value chart teams use. And the Vikes want to have at least 2 choices on day one. There is just not a guy team's want bad enough... and to go down to #5 or #7... you are still gambling. You have to wait it out and hope you scare a team into making a bad deal.

Is Rodgers just a local favorite and looked upon as 2nd tier by the rest of the country?

John: Rodgers is the most ready to play... I think everyone gets to over-analyzing the draft the final 2 weeks... so names will move up and down.

Where do you think Adrian McPherson will be drafted and who will draft him?

John: McPherson is anywhere from a late 3rd to 4th... TB, KC, GB, STL all really like him.

What do you know about the way the 49ers war room will function this year?

John: Nolan will make the final call but he has taken the scouts reports and then given the positions coaches some leeway to add their opinions as well. The [guy on the] phone is usually the final decision maker... the rest of the room gives ideas or answers questions as asked.

What are your thoughts on David Baas as a right guard?

John: Baas is being evaluated at both OC and OG... would probably be too high to take him at #33, but he won't make it to the 1st pick of the third. He also played more LG and OC than RG, but should be able to handle all three spots if necessary.

Who is one player that has been overblown by the draft media sites, and is much lower on teams' boards than expected?

John: Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas. There are at least 4 teams that did not give him a 1st round grade.

How much O-line attention will the niners give in the draft?

John: O-Line probably more between rounds 3-5... and maybe a late round OT project type guy. If they take QB first... I think they take a DL or DB next... then look at RB, WR, OL in the 3rd.

How do the niner like in the 2nd round?

John: Right now I think they are hoping to see a run on offensive players late first so a DL/DB of choice slips to that spot.

Wouldn't it be in the 49ers best interest to trade down even if they don't get equal value on the value chart? With the Vikings' #7, #28 and #49 and our #33, we could likely get 3 starters and a QB at the top of the 2d round.

John: Not with that deal... #7, #18 and #49 would be equal to #1. If you add #33, it would be a great deal for the Vikings. If they swapped #3's and not #2's that might work.

Nolan said he will draft a RB. What round do you think that will happen? Who do you think we will pick?

John: I think that is more of secondary idea... feeling that there will be some solid guys between rounds 3-5. Guys like Marion Barber, Ryan Moats, Alvin Pearman... they all fit the bill of what they are looking to find/add.

Is there a NT that could surprise people in the NFL coming out this draft?

I think guys like Ron Fields, Mississippi State and Sione Pouha, Utah are going to be solid contributors... not big names... but solid interior linemen. How much all the substance abuse issues shakes up the DT's will be interesting to see on draft day.

What receiver do you see being a surprise in this draft? Could a Courtney Roby or Mark Bradley be this year's Kerry Colbert?

John: Roby can provide a good vertical threat early in his career... Bradley has some work to do before he is a complete WR... but his speed and athleticism will get him picked earlier than expected.

What are the chances that Rodgers could drop to #7 if the 49ers traded with Minnesota for their 2 first rounders? Who would be interested in him in the top 10?

John: I think Tennessee could be a surprise team to take a QB if one was there. Arizona is not totally set, but I think they like Smith more. So unless Tampa Bay took Rodgers at #5... yes, he could slide to #7.

What is the perception of Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers in terms of intangibles? Smith's are touted, but what do teams think of Rodgers?

John: To me, Rodgers intangibles have come in those two games against USC. Smith is just as much a system QB as Rodgers, but the schedule Rodgers faced was better the past two years. I think taking Smith also gives your team a break as the 49ers would likely play Rodgers right away. Smith is not expected to play right away so he can't be considered a good or bad pick for 2-3 years. If the pick is Smith, it will be interesting to see what kind of deal he signs. If the back end years have more value since he might not play much early.

Who in the draft has a chance to become a starter at nose tackle in a 3-4?

John: Castillo, Fields, Shropshire, Burt... late would be a guy like Andrew Hoffman of Virginia.

What are your thoughts on Marion Barber? Why are do people seem to have him in the top of the third when he has 1st round talent?

John: Barber has good all-around tools, but he does not always finish off his runs strong. He thinks he has better outside speed than he really does so he tries to go outside rather than turning it up inside. I think he has good hands as a receiver and can also return kicks early, but he has to work hard all of the time in order to play up to his talent.

Which WR's have the Niners expressed interest in besides Edwards?

John: Roddy White, Reggie Brown, Terrence Murphy, Roydell Williams. They will all fall between late first and the third, as Williams has made a big move recently.

Is JJ Arrington a consideration?

John: Consideration yes... but probably not where he will go. If Arizona passes on an RB in the first, he will be gone to them in the 2nd. There is also some talk that Tampa Bay could pass on RB and take him at #36.

Do you think Dan Cody could slip to #33?

John: That's a real possibility if teams like Cincy, Seattle or Denver deal down and New Orleans and Green Bay go LB.

What do you think of the potential of small school WR's Vincent Jackson and Larry Brackins to become #1 receivers?

John: Jackson should be a fine performer at either WR or as an H-Back. Not sure about a #1. Brackins has raw skills but is 2-3 years away. [He] does not have the pure speed of a guy like Javon Walker. [He is] more of a #3 if he can develop.

How are Castilo and Hawthorne's stocks doing after the drug problems?

Castillo is likely to fall 1/2 a round. Hawthorne might now be more 3rd or later.

What do you think of Matt Jones and where do you think he'll be drafted?

John: I like Jones to find a role between H-Back and WR. Not 100% sold at WR. He's fast, but not as quick/fluid as you need to be at WR. Will give a solid effort and improve as a blocker, but never going to great in that area. Special teams potential. Really likes to hit and get involved on the field. Will be able to run a few gadget plays with him too.

Where do you believe Ciatrick Fason will be drafted and if possibly the Niners would be interested in him?

John: Fason is likely going late 2nd to 3rd. Good hands. Excellent fit for the West-Coast offense. Big back but has some moves and could be a solid value choice in the 3rd.

If you trade down to #7 and your four guys are off the board, what's wrong with trading down again? We get 2 or 3 picks in the last half of the first round, plus 2 or 3 second round -- a total of 5 in the first 2 rounds. That could get us a quality CB, QB, DL, OL, and RB.

John: Got to be able to sign all these guys too... and that will get tough, since you cannot give them all the bonus money they will want under the rookie cap.

Assuming the 49ers draft a QB other than Smith or Rodgers, who would you take?

John: I think that Frye is going to be the best value pick of the QB's.

Who is the best lock to be a Pro Bowl player regardless of position?

John: Mike Nugent. LOL. A guy like Chris Spencer or David Baas could quickly develop into a top-notch center. Carlos Rogers was the best football player of the top CB's. Some teams like Rolle more as a FS, but both can be impact defenders. It's a tough draft to pinpoint guys that are sure-fire guys for the next level.

Wesley Britt -- Will he be around top of round 4?

John: Britt might go late in the 3rd. He had a good workout recently. Tough to pass on experienced OT's as the rounds go by.

Where is Elton Brown's stock after such a weird Senior Bowl and Combine?

John: Brown was hurt and made it worst by not just staying home from Mobile and preparing for the Combine. He is still #1 OG on a lot of teams because his tape is so strong. Probably more mid to late 2nd now.

Brandon Browner ran a poor 40. Is there anything that you have seen on tape that makes you think he is a 2nd round pick?

John: 2nd would be too high for me. He's similar to Lenny Walls of Denver. He needs to play that style and have coverage over the top or he will get burned deep. He drew too many penalties this year.

If the Niners trade the #1 pick, what would be the most likely event to happen?

John: If the 49ers make a deal, they will either get two #1's, another 2005 pick and some type of 2006 draft choice. If they move down in 1st, they could then deal back up to the end of the first if they want Frye or Campbell.

Special thanks goes to John Murphy of NEXTLEVEL SCOUTING, INC. for taking the time out of his busy schedule to attend this chat session. Thanks to Bryan Hersh of for keeping the chat session organized.
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.


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