2010 NFL Draft | Does a Solid Draft Make the 49ers Playoff Contenders?
Who can blame them? Take a look at 2009 and it’s obvious that a few additional quality players could have made an 8-8 season turn into an NFC Wildcard spot.
This year, the 49ers are looking to shore up some positions that are in need of improvement. The 2010 NFL Draft is the place to do it, being hailed as one of the deepest drafts in several years, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
San Francisco is in a good spot to strengthen the team, boasting the 13th and the 17th overall picks and well as the 49th overall pick in the second round.
The most notable need on the 49ers squad for the upcoming season is at the right tackle position. Their offensive line buckled several times last year due to the mismatches created by stronger defensive linemen. In order to meet those needs, they’ll likely have to use their first pick to grab a great player.
Bryan Bulaga (Iowa), Bruce Campbell (Maryland), Anthony Davis (Rutgers) and Trent Williams (Oklahoma) are the cream of the crop in this year’s draft. It’s likely one or two out of Bulaga, Campbell and Williams could go in the top 10.
While Davis is considered by many to be the most talented offensive tackle in the draft, he’s displayed attitude problems that have many NFL teams thinking twice about his overall worth.
With the offensive line situation handled with their first pick, the 49ers can focus on tightening up their defense. To that end, they’ll be looking for first and second-level defenders (depending on if Pacman Jones signs with them or not) and will have strong selections still likely waiting for them in nose tackle Dan Williams (Tennessee) and defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Graham (Michigan) who had a solid year and has done nothing but improve since the end of the regular season.
Of course, if Pacman Jones doesn’t sign with the 49ers, they’ll be most likely trying to pick up a quality player in that area thanks to a struggling secondary last year.
Earl Tomas (Texas) is one possible pick who will likely move to cornerback in the NFL from the safety position he patrolled in the collegiate ranks. He’s small, but so is Bob Sanders and that hasn’t slowed him down. Another name that may be available is Taylor Mays (USC), a 230-pound safety who could step into his own at the professional level.
One name that has been a topic of discussion among the 49ers faithful is that of C.J. Spiller (Clemson), a running back who isn’t likely to become an every-down player but one who brings plenty of tools to the workplace. He’s fast, he has great field vision and he is an excellent kick returner, which could bring some life to a struggling 49ers special teams. He’s also equipped with great hands, making him a receiving threat out of the backfield much in the way Darren Sproles in San Diego has raised to notoriety.
As interesting as landing an elite running back would be, the question remains; should the 49ers draft a running back in the first round?
Come the second round, the 49ers will have far less options. The big names will likely be gone, leaving the team to rely on their scouting and draft board. Still available could be running backs Jahvid Best (Cal) and Toby Gerhart (Stanford), as well as running back/receiver Dexter McCluster (Mississippi), safety Nate Allen (South Florida) and guard Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts).
Also available should be linebackers Sergio Kindle (Texas) and Jamar Chaney (Mississippi State) as well as defensive back Chris Cook (Virginia). The 49ers could even consider safety Myron Rolle (Florida State), who needs to get back into football shape after a year off, but has loads of potential and should be around come the second and, possibly, third round pick.
Other third and fourth round picks could be offensive linemen Sam Young (Notre Dame), Mitch Petrus (Arkansas) and Mike Johnson (Alabama) as well as linebacker Eric Norwood (South Carolina) and defensive end Mike Neal (Purdue).
No matter what route the 49ers go, it’s clear that they have the ability to propel themselves into the top tier of NFL teams with solid picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.
Attention San Francisco 49ers Fans: