So this weekend is The Draft. I LOVE watching the NFL draft. Last year, my beloved Niners had the first pick, and their choice in the first round was known weeks in advance. This year, due to some coin flipping with the Raiders (the two teams had identical records and no tiebreaker last season) and a trade with the Broncos, the Niners have two picks in the first round (#6 and #22), and none in the second or third, meaning after pick #22, I can stop watching until Sunday (when the 49ers have seven… one in Round 4, one in Round 5, two in Round 6 and three in Round 7).So I always check out as many mock drafts as possible before the real thing, so I can get an idea of what the "experts" think will happen. For the most part, the consensus this year seems to be that the sixth pick in the draft will be tight end Vernon Davis of Maryland, called both the "best pass catcher in this draft" and the "single best tight end prospect ever to enter any NFL draft" (a huge statement considering the hype that surrounded Tony Gonzalez, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow II when they entered the league).
The fact is, the Niners need help everywhere. This guy sounds like the perfect addition to a sputtering offense and great, big, fast (6’3" 255, 4.38 40yd) target for former #1 overall pick Alex Smith.
But something in me says they should take A.J. Hawk, outside linebacker from THE Ohio State University. The guy is sick, explosive, easily the best linebacker in the draft, and in a 3-4 defense, and coping with the losses of Julian Peterson and Andre Carter, that’s what they need. Unfortunately, every mock draft I’ve seen has Hawk going to the Green Bay Packers at pick #5… except one… that had supposed future 49er Vernon Davis going to New Orleans at #2 (most mocks have them taking defensive end Mario Williams), in which case everyone gets bumped around and Hawk falls to the Niners at #6.
Still… sounds like Davis will be our guy. Though I gotta admit, I’ll be paying very close attention to the Packers’ pick, and if they take anyone other than Hawk, my fingers will be crossed that I’ll be ordering a Hawk Niners jersey this summer.
Oh, and Raiders fans, sounds like Texas QB Vince Young will fall to you at #7. Congrats… hell, he could beat out Aaron Brooks in camp, but that says more about Brooks than Young, I think…
Pick #22 is a little trickier, it seems… I would assume that predicting who will be left after 21 guys are off the board would be… there is little consensus, but two names popped up a few times: Memphis RB DeAngelo Williams (over 6,000 career rushing yards in college) and Florida State LB Ernie Sims. I think I’d be much, much more interested in Williams… let’s face it, Kevan Barlow ain’t cutting it, and Frank Gore is a busted knee waiting to happen… Sims has had off-the-field issues (just misdemeanors, which says a lot for a CrimiNole) that "may not be indicative of his overall character" but all I can think of is Lawrence Phillips. Excuse me while I go over here and shudder…
So, it sounds like at the end of the first round, two of the following four players… A.J. Hawk, Vernon Davis, DeAngelo Williams, and Ernie Sims… will be Niners. And quite frankly, however that shakes down will be good for the team. Not a scrub among the bunch, and the team needs so much help in so many areas that they simply need to take the best available player at each of their first round picks, regardless of position.
They can "fill holes" on Day Two.