2007 NFL Draft Q&A with Michael Abromowitz

Apr 7, 2007 at 1:23 PM0

On Saturday, April 7, 49erswebzone.com and 49ersparadise.com held a chat session with draft guru Michael Abromowitz of TheFootballExpert.com. Attendees were able to ask Michael questions regarding the NFL Draft from a 49ers fan's perspective. Below are some key points that Michael hit during the chat session. These questions were asked by 49ers fans from the two fan sites.

Michael, why don’t you tell us a little bit about TheFootballExpert.com?

Michael: TheFootballExpert.com has now been around for three years, we have more than ten writeres, and even though we primarily cover the NFL Draft we also cover fantasy football.

How much is the drop off in talent for 3-4 ILBs between Patrick Willis and the next guy compared to 3-4 DEs with Adam Carriker and the next guy?

Michael: First off, a 3-4 question, who would have guessed! There is a much larger drop off in talent. David Harris looks to be the next best 3-4 ILB, and he is a middle 2nd rounder. For the DE, Carriker is not much above the rest, I also think Jamaal Anderson can play 3-4 DE.

Are there any CBs that were highly touted coming in this year that might fall into the 3rd or 4th round?

Michael: Daymeion Hughes comes to mine, could drop to the third round because of speed problems, also Fred Bennett of South Carolina most likely going in the 4th. I had Bennett as a sure 2nd rounder a few months ago.

Are there any DTs that can be exceptional 3-4 DEs on your radar?

Michael: Alan Branch could do it, but farther down in the draft, Turk McBride seems to be the real deal. He has the speed and versatility that will make him an ideal 3-4 DE. Ryan McBean of Oregon St. is another one.

Is there a big drop-off in talent from say, pick #6, to the Niners’ pick at #11 from guys like DT Amobi Okoye, OT Levi Brown, DE Gaines Adams and DT Alan Branch to DE Adam Carriker, LB Patrick Willis and WR Robert Meachem?

Michael: I don't think so. I think a lot of that drop-off is not talent, but not need. I actually have Levi Brown rated below Willis, but because OT is a need, Brown will probably go in the top10. There is no drop off in talent when it comes to Patrick Willis, he a talent.

Does Okoye have the ability to play DE in a 3-4 defense?

Michael: I don't think so. I think he is too undersized. Is really ideal for a 4-3 defense.

Who are the best ILB talents for the Niners’ 3-4 defense after Willis?

Michael: David Harris of Michigan is the 2nd. But Zak DeOssie from Brown is creeping up because of his large size- 6-5 and great speed. Anthony Waters is another ideal 3-4 ILB, and with his injury last season could be a steal.

Do you think that the Niners would be interested in drafting RBs Lorenzo Booker of Florida State, or Michael Bush of Louisville to compete with Robinson and Hicks?

Michael: Lorenzo Booker is more likely in the 4th. I really think that Bush will still go in the early 3rd round at the latest, and don't think the 49ers want to use the 76 pick on a RB.

If we do not go receiver with our 1st round pick, when are we likely to take one and who do you think the Niners will target?

Michael: 2nd round is ideal- I actually have Jason Hill going to the 49ers at 42, great speed and size. But by the third round the 49ers will take a WR- three possibilities: Steve Smtih, Johnnie Lee Higgins, or Paul Williams.

Who will be the most productive WR in the Niners' system? Jason Hill, Sydney Rice, Mike Walker?

Michael: I think Hill will be the most productive WR because of his blazing speed, but Mike Walker would also be a nice WR in the system.

Michael, you chose Willis over Carriker for the 49ers at #11. What ultimately led you to take Willis there?

Michael: With need and the 3-4 defense I thought Carriker was a more ideal fit at 11, but Patrick Willis is just an amazing player, I see Ray Lewis attributes out of him, and thinks he can be a star, and really make an impact for the 49ers. Also, if the 49ers select him, my preseason rookie of the year.

Can you compare Levi Brown and Kwame Harris as prospects (when Harris was drafted)? Can Brown hold up in the passing game?

Michael: Not to scare you all, but I do fear that Brown could struggle in the passing game, and turn out to be a Kwame Harris bust. Brown has all size, he just needs to be far more aggressive. I actually like Joe Staley more than Brown, and fear Brown could very well be a bust.

The knock on Willis is that he can't get off blocks to play in a 3-4, but does he take on blocks better than the other ILB prospects?

Michael: I think there were similar knocks on Ray Lewis. David Harris is a more ideal 3-4 ILB, but he does not have the talent of Willis. Willis would be suited for the 4-3 defense, but I think he has the strength to succeed in the 3-4.

Who is the best receiver that no one is talking about?

Michael: That’s tough, because I would say Johnnie Lee Higgins, but a lot of people are talking about him. A real surprise: Jordan Kent, WR, Oregon, son of Oregon’s basketball coach. Three sport athlete, amazing size at 6-5 and speed 4.5. Is still somewhat of a project, but two years down the road could be a real steal in the 6th or 7th.

If the Niners were choosing between Meachem, Willis or Carriker in the 1st, who do you think they'd lean towards?

Michael: Well, my mock draft says Willis. I really think the depth at WR, gives the 49ers the flexibility to not have to take Meachem. Carriker is by far the best fit for the 49ers, but I say they choose the BPA. But logic says they choose Carriker.

Do you think WR Aundrae Allison of East Carolina will be available in the 3rd round? Who do you think is the best receiver out of Florida’s Dallas Baker, Illinois State’s Laurent Robinson, Central Florida’s Mike Walker, Lane’s Jacoby Jones and when should those guys expect to be drafted?

Michael: Aundrae Allison should be available at pick 76 or 97 for the 49ers only because of the depth at the WR position. I like Mike Walker the best, then Jacoby Jones, both mid 3rd round to early 4th. Laurent Robinson I like in the 5th and Dallas Baker in the 6th.

Do you think there has been some misinformation concerning Alan Branch with teams hoping he drops to them? Or are the concerns legit?

Michael: I think its just misinformation hoping teams bite and bypass him. I really think Branch is a top 10 talent, and can't see him dropping out of the top 15.

Any names on the board that might compel the Niners to grab another 1st or 2nd round pick, if available? Say Meacham falls to round 2?

Michael: Meachem won't fall to round 2, I don't think he gets by Tennessee in round 1. The 49ers are in a great spot with 10 draft picks. I see the 49ers moving up to get another 2nd round, just because of their abundant of picks and doubt that they really are going to keep all 10 picks. For names, I don't have specifics, but maybe get another 2nd to try to get a WR and DT Tank Tyler.

Is South Carolina WR Sidney Rice overrated or is he a steal in the 2nd that teams should not pass on?

Michael: 2 years down the road- he is a steal. Rice only played two years of college ball and still is very raw, which is why he is a 2nd rounder. With his size and athletic ability, I do think he be a solid WR. Lost a lot of money for coming out early, if he had stayed would have been a top 15 pick.

In your current mock, you have Willis going to the 49ers at #11. Who are the biggest threats to take him before that?

Michael: Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills. I know the Bills are at 12, but I think with the lost of Fletcher and Spikes, they need an impact LB and probably will tried to move up to get him.

Do you see the 49ers as genuinely being interested in Meachem? Do you think Meachem would be a good WR in the NFL?

Michael: I reallly like Meachem. Great size and speed. The problem with the 49ers is they only have one shot at him- #11, which I think is too high. So they are interested, just probably won't pull the plug to get him.

Is there more value taking Willis in the 1st and then a DE in the 2nd or Carriker in the 1st and an ILB in the 2nd?

Michael: More value with Willis and then DE (maybe Tim Crowder) because Willis is far more better than the 2nd ILB than Carriker is to the next best 3-4 DE.

What are your thoughts on DE Ikaika Alama-Francis from Hawaii?

Michael: Raw, but extremely talented. Would be an ideal 3-4 DE in the 49ers system. He would be attractive at #76, and be thievery at the #97. If the 49ers pass on Carriker, Alama-Francis could very easily be a 49er.

What guards will the Niners take a look at to replace Allen (or Smiley) in the future?

Michael: Well, assuming the 49ers don't take a guard until the mid rounds, I like Tim Duckworth of Auburn, and Mike Jones of Iowa. Both possibly in the 4th round. The 49ers do have 4 picks in the 4th round, so that could easily happen.

Will the Niners take a QB late on day 2 to compete with Hill? If so, who might they like?

Michael: Well, it most likely only be the 6th round pick, because there is no 7th and I don't think the 49ers want to invest a 5th rounder in a 3rd string QB. I like Jeff Rowe of Nevada in the 6th round.

Do you feel that the Niners will take a safety in the later rounds? If so, who might they look at?

Michael: I think the 49ers will take a safety in this draft. Guys I like in the later rounds are Kevin Payne of Louisiana Monroe, and Roderick Rodgers of Wisconsin. Around the late 4ths or 5th round.

In the 3rd to 5th rounds, what college DEs do you think would make good OLBs in a 3-4 defense?

Michael: Dan Bazuin, Central Michigan, Brian Robison, Texas, Jay Moore, Nebraska- all probably 3rd rounders. Later on, Jacob Ford of Central Arkansas and Antwan Applewhite of San Diego St. Ford in the 4th and Applewhite in the 5th.

Do you think the Bears rejecting the Skins trade is a reflection on the lack of superstars at the top of this draft after CJ?

Michael: No definitely not. I think its just how much they value Lance Briggs. I think the Bears just thought their Pro Bowl LB was worth more than just swapping picks. The Bears thought Briggs was also worthy of another player.

Could Jay Alford of Penn State be a good 2nd day 3-4 DE?

Michael: I really think so. He has the bulk, the only thing I question is his speed. But, I don't think he is the best option for a 2nd day, 3-4 DE.

How about Texas Tech's Manuel Ramirez at guard? Will the Niners try and get him?

Michael: I like Ramirez a lot. I think Ramirez is a 3rd rounder, or early 4th possibility. If he slides to 104, Ramirez is a definite pick, but I just don't see him getting that far.

In games against big time WRs, CB Hall seemed to get torched and yet he is still ranked high. Why do you think that is?

Michael: Hall is still a physical WR, he has great speed running in the 4.3s. I think coaches like his ability to get really physical. He gave some receivers too big of cushions in college, and paid for it, but he still has all the tools to be a solid CB, not flashy though like a Bailey.

What do you think of OT Doug Free of Northern Illinois? What round do you see him going in and would he be a good fit for the 49ers?

Michael: I am a huge Doug Free fan. He was a first rounder when the season begun. Will be a steal in the 3rd round, but I really think he may get drafted in the later part of the 2nd round.

Everyone is talking about Ginn and Meachem. Why isn't LSU WR Dwayne Bowe getting more credit for his route running, size, speed? Do the Niners like him enough to take him in the 1st?

Michael: In this day in age, everyone is in love with speed. Ginn and Meachem are both burners. Bowe does not have the speed the other 2 have, but will be a solid possession WR. I think #11 is too high for him.

What top player makes the biggest 1st round slide on draft day (i.e Aaron Rodgers a few years back)?

Michael: I really think Levi Brown. Brown's stock is only as high as it is because of his position. I know some teams actually prefer Joe Staley ahead of him because of Staley's versatility. Brown could be this year's Winston Justice.

Michael: Thanks for all the questions, feel free to visit thefootballexpert.com- we have 7 updated mock drafts. Take care and I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.

Special thanks goes to Michael Abromowitz of TheFootballExpert.com for taking the time out of his busy schedule to attend this chat session.
The views 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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