THUNDERING BLURB » San Francisco 49rs ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Blurb TV – Ep 9 – Busts Tue, 04 May 2010 11:55:40 +0000 admin

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2010 NFL Rookie Analysis – Anthony Davis, OT, San Francisco 49ers Tue, 27 Apr 2010 23:32:18 +0000 admin Since I’m now located on the East Coast, I’ve been following East Coast teams much more closely than I have before.

Of course, you’d have had to be blind to miss Rutgers recent rise to prominence (hence the rumors they are the target of a pilfering attempt by the Big Ten) no matter where you lived. But there’s a lot more to the conference than I thought before I returned back to NY.

This year, 18 players from the Big East Conference were drafted and a slew of others were picked up as street free agents.

Over the next week we’re going to take a look at some of them, where they went and what their landing spot might mean for their success in the league.

This entry covers Anthony Davis, former Rutgers offensive tackle.

Davis will be the anchor across from Joe Staley on the 49ers oline

Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers – Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers at 1-11
A long time before the 2010 NFL Draft I did an article on which hoped that the 49ers would 1) end up with at least one if not two offensive linemen and 2) that Anthony Davis would be one of them.

For a while, Davis’ stock rose enough that – coupled with rumors that as many as seven (!) offensive tackles would go before the 49ers picked – it looked unlikely.

The team must have felt the same way. Which is why when Davis was still on the board at 11, they jumped at the chance to swap spots with Denver and finally secured a player who can take over the tackle spot opposite Joe Staley.

While both his run and pass blocking abilities are very good, Davis will need to work on being a little more aggressive and nasty in the trenches. If anyone can get that out of Davis, it will be his new Head Coach Mike Singletary. Davis is the big, physical player they have lacked on the right side for years and it was the 49ers biggest need to fill.

Davis is incredibly quick off the snap, allowing him to catch pass rushers coming in off the edge. His speed also allows him to quickly get to the second level on rush plays and get a good lick on a linebacker before the ball carrier arrives.

Davis’ speed, quickness and strength will be a tremendous asset to his new team and if Singletary can push Davis to reach his maximum potential, they will have a lynchpin on the once sieve-like right side who is stout enough to be a very good run blocker and has the athleticism and agility to be outstanding in pass protection as well.

Paired with the pick of Iowa Guard Mike Iupati, the 49ers have made a huge jump forward in terms of improving their offensive line. You have to think Frank Gore, Glen Coffee and Alex Smith are extremely happy this week.

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The Thundering Blurb Football Show – 2/24 Thu, 25 Feb 2010 15:34:50 +0000 admin Click for the  2/24 Blurb here.

Had Scott Wright of on last night – as expected, he crushed it.

Before Scott came on at the halfway point, I hit a few more talking points.

First, I relate my encounter with yet another Tebow fan who just can’t get their head around his hero’s shortcomings.

In an article I wrote on Monday about Tebow’s attempt to alter the mechanics of his throwing motion—one in which I even went so far as to praise the attempt and while not sure it will work, once again find myself not wanting to bet against him.

Which I guess means it’s time for an irrational post from a homer, right? Some dude decided he should call me out by asking ‘Andrew, whom are you Qb coach for?’

First, bonus points for using ‘whom’ correctly. It’s a lost art. But really? THAT’S what you’re coming at me with?

This is really the state of the internet and I forget it at times. If you don’t agree with someone, don’t debate them with logic – attact their credibility with straw man arguments or character attacks.

Forwhat it’s worth, I watch a lot of game film. I carefully break down what I see, form an opinion and then challenge that opinion by reading as many others as I can.

And I QB coach my kid. If that’s not enough for you, you’re reading the wrong article or listening to the wrong show.

I segue to some hockey talk (USA!USA!USA!) and NBC, then talk about the BleacherReport Featured Columnists Mock Draft, where I was up for San Francisco’s pick at 13.

I get the chatroom into a little debate about which way to go and we don’t settle on one person, though I am moved towards the direction I eventually went in.

After the break (at about 30 minutes if you want to fast forward) Scott comes on and we range all over the place. We talk about his site and how he approaches the analysis, touch on various parts of the Combine process, hit the running backs, quarterbacks (including Tebow and his mechanics) and some sleepers to watch this week.

Scott crushes it and brings a ton of great info.

I wrap it up with a few thoughts on Tebow (not his acolytes or detractors) and what the future may hold for him.

Mind you, I’m no QB coach, so take that for what it’s worth. :-)

Thanks for reading, listening and supporting.

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49ers – Bears Friday Recap Fri, 13 Nov 2009 21:20:28 +0000 admin Due to some wild work crap, this is up a ton later than expected but despite that, here are my thoughts on the Chicago/San Fran stumble from Thursday night.

It was indeed a stumble – it was too lackluster to be called a ‘tumble’, ‘matchup’ or ‘brouhaha’.

I could have almost called it a yawn.

Jay Cutler must miss Denver. Not so much the city, coaching staff or even the AFC West – although that last one would be a lot more fun to play in.

No, Cutler is probably missing a good offensive line and competent wide receivers.

Most likely the offensive line. If you don’t believe me, take a peek at Matt Forte’s statline. His yards per carry is pretty abyssmal, although his overall stas are good thanks to the Bears finally using him in the pass game.

I suck at math but if I used the calculatron correctly, 20 carries for41 yards is a horrific 2.1 yards per carry average. 

I made a joke on twitter last night wondering if Forte was finally back from vacation and was gently reminded that it isn’t really him so much as his offensive line.

However, the counter point to that which – of course – I only just thought of is that guys like Steven Jackson and LaDainian Tomlinson have at one time or another (or in Jackson’s case continue) to produce with shoddy offensive lines.

I guess all that means is, if you were ready to crown Forte as the next great running back after a fantastic year one, slow your roll. Doesn’t mean he’s not very good – it might indicate he isn’t great. Either way, it’s too early to call it, so let’s not.

Back to Cutler – apparently he cursed out a journalist in the hallways near the 49er lockerroom last night when said media dude said that forget fove interceptions, Cutler could have easily had seven.

I’m sure it’s not what you want to hear but honestly, was the guy wrong? Cutler made some poor decisions (for example interception number one) and floated some awful passes that could have been picked off, but weren’t.

No run game and poor blocking by the offensive line have put Cutler in a position where he feels the need to press and that’s not a good thing.

Especially when Devin Hester would make a nice number two wide receiver but isn’t quite in Brandon Marshall’s league. Or Brandon Stokley’s. Or Eddie Royal’s.

I see a trend.

Cutler needs to stop pushing so hard. He also needs more help.

Speaking of offensive lines, a better effort on the part of the San Francisco line than in recent games. I’ll point to the running back position again as partial support of my point.

Frank Gore’s 104 yards and touchdown on the ground added up to a very solid 4.2 yards per carry. 

Despite that, there is still work to do. Quarterback Alex Smith was sacked twice and did throw a pick, but more telling was the fact that he looked like a skittish deer in the pocket.

He doesn’t seem to have much confidence in that offensive line right now. Not good.

The 49ers didn’t repeat last week’s mistake of putting Smith in the position of having to throw 45 times and that’s a good thing given his propensity for interceptions.

Still, 118 yards and no touchdowns is too few for both stats and the 49ers need to do something about it. Getting him back to the confidence level he seemed to have his first game or two is a must.

Despite the better play on the defensive side of the ball and the good ground game, the Niners didn’t take this game over or impose their will on the Bears.

At some point they may fall behind an opponent and at that point they need to find a way to move the ball through the air.

We can argue Smith’s long term viability as the starting QB for this franchise (I don’t think he has one, unfortunately) but he has had a turnover in every start and the more he throws, the scarier it seems to get.

Where did Vernon Davis go? If the Bears did one thing well, it was shut the up-until-last-night red hot tight end down. Meanwhile Greg Olsen has found his stride and his seven catches for 75 yards was a real bright spot.

Back to Forte for a second – 120 yards on eight catches is pretty sick. In reality, throwing to Forte would be the other thing the Bears did well.

Johnny Knox is pretty fast. I mean, there is speed and then there is NFL speed. Sigmund Bloom of mentioned how impressed he was to see the speed he and the guys at saw at Texas vs. the Nation still effective against NFL level players.

There’s a huge difference between College and NFL play – Knox seems to have shifted pretty well from one to the other.

So has Michael Crabtree for the most part. He stumbled on the smith interception and perhaps a more veteran wideout and a more confident quarterback might have adjusted on the fly to the huge cushion Crabtree had but neither did.

Crabtree still looks much better than expected though and I think he’ll succeed in the league, a relief to Niner fans I am sure.

Overall, this game was hard to watch. Neither team really seemed to want to win it, and there was a lack of intensity that marred what I expected to be a hard fought game.

Both teams needed this win badly. The 49ers stay in contention for both the Wild Card and the NFC West title with the win while the Bears are heading the wrong way and will have a fight on their hands for a slot in the playoffs if they don’t figure out how to fix what’s wrong and soon.

It sure wasn’t a case of ‘who wanted it more’ though – more like a case of ’who played slightly more competently’.

Not exactly what I was looking for during the first week of Thursday Night Football.

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Thursday Night Football: San Francisco 49ers Thu, 12 Nov 2009 19:58:44 +0000 admin Here is the first half where we broke down the Chicago Bears. Again you can find the audio of this at if you’d like or over at ITunes.
As I have mentioned before, I feel this is a critical game for both teams. The 49ers have to keep pace with the Bears and Green bay Packers for a Wild Card spot and the Cardinals for a potential Division Title. The Bears are also vying for a Wild Card spot, as it is unlikely they will overtake the 7-1 Vikings.
The loser makes life MUCH harder for themselves.
And so without further ado – the San Francisco 49ers. 
Alex Smith
I don’t think Alex Smith is as bad as last weekend – I mean, if you throw 45 times against a Tennessee secondary that is finally healthy, you will turn the ball over. He made some bad decisions, yes, but the reason they plugged him in is that he can stretch the field which is something Shaun Hill couldn’t do.
All that being said, he should make you nervous. If you’re in a bind, he faces a defense with a myriad of linebacker and secondary issues coming off a game in which they got roughed up. He’s got a solid wide receiver in Crabtree, a great back in Gore and a red hot tight end in Vernon Davis. He’s risky as hell but if you have injury/bye week issues, he’s start-able and has some upside.
I’d avoid him if I could though.
Frank Gore
Gore didn’t let a sharp poke to the eye slow him down against Tennessee, compiling 158 total yards and a touchdown. At the beginning of the season, I was thinking they needed to work in Glenn Coffee more to preserve Gore for later in the season. Amazingly, they’ve gone too far the other way, with Gore only rushing the ball 41 times in three games. That’s not enough, especially when your overall offense has struggled a bit.
The Bears have allowed over yards per game in the last month including a 117 effort by Cleveland.
Folks THIS is a good match-up. I expect Gore to top 100 total yards and a touchdown tonight against a struggling rush defense while the 49ers try to control the clock and limit the overall passes Alex Smith has to make. 45 throws is too much when you have Gore on your roster.  
Michael Crabtree
Sure, Crabtree had a poor game last week, blanketed by a pretty effective Titans defense. As he has played more, teams have more tape of him and will adjust to account for his strengths and take advantage of his weaknesses.
All that said, he has still looked very good for a rookie who not only missed camp but a chunk of the season. Is he safe each week? Debatable. But he’s playing well and in a PPR alone has been pretty consistent. If you are looking for 5-10 points, I think he will get you that. As a WR3 or 4, he is pretty safe and should put up some yard points with the possibility of a touchdown as well.
It’s a little risky but I think it is well worth the roll of the dice.
Josh Morgan
Morgan has continued to be very much up and down. Now that Isaac Bruce is essentially out of a job, Morgan might be a tempting play. But unless you are very thin at wide receiver right now, I would avoid him. He could have a game like he did week seven against Houston but he is just as likely to repeat the last two weeks of frustration.
Vernon Davis
I said it in my article at Bleacher Report, but if someone told you in 2008 (or even early 2009) that Davis would have a career year and be one of the top producing tight ends in the game you might have checked them into rehab.
And yet, he’s tied for second overall in receiving touchdowns (with Miles Austin, Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald), second in targets amongst tight ends and 14th in targets overall. While other owners were falling all over themselves trying to reach for Witten, Gates and Gonzalez if you got Davis late, you got a huge value.
Smith looks for him early and often, frequently in the red zone. With this match-up, there are very few tight ends I would put in ahead of Davis and I expect him to continue to be an outstanding option from here on out. 
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San Francisco 49ers Cut Down Roster Sun, 06 Sep 2009 03:56:45 +0000 admin Saturday was cut day and like every other team, the 49ers trimmed their roster down, including a few cuts which surprised analysts as well as myself.

The overall list was Offensive Tackles Jacob Bender, Alex Boone and Joe Toledo, Center Matt Spanos, Guard Kyle Howard, Wide Receivers Dobson Collins, Maurice Price and Dominique Zeigler, Tight Ends Joe Jon Finley and  Bear Pascoe,  Fullbacks Brit Miller and William Rentmeester,  Running Back Kory Sheets, Cornerbacks Eric Green and Terrail Lambert, Defensive End Pannel Egboh, Defensive Tackle Khalif Mitchell, Linebackers Jay Moore, Justin Roland and  Mark Washington.

A few cuts stood out to me.

First, Kory Sheets was a big surprise especially with the injury to Thomas Clayton and the fact that Michael Robinson working mostly on Special Teams.

Sheets compiled some very nice stats in four games – 177 yards on 39 carries with three touchdowns as well as four catches for 18 yards.

Despite this, Sheets was let go and San Francisco will be rolling along with just two main backs and Michael Robinson. I expect Sheets to be on the practice squad assuming he doesn’t get grabbed by someone out.

Clearly he was lacking on some level as Singletary put it bluntly, “He did some nice things, but we wanted to have 53 guys who gave us best opportunity to win.”


Bear Pascoe isn’t as surprising though I had a lot of hope for him. Pascoe had struggled overall, and what he did was duplicated by others on the roster. Pascoe might also make the P.S.

Coach Mike Singletary told the press that Pascoe had some issues adjusting to the size and speed of his opponants but that he was a ‘quality young man’. I think being on the practice squad might be a good thing for him and allow him time to make those adjustments.

What might be more surprising about Pascoe’s departure is that the team didn’t keep Finley either. This leaves just Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker as the only Tight Ends on the roster a bit of a surprise.

A guy who survived cuts is Wide Receiver Jason Hill. Hill has made it very clear he felt underutilized this preseason and felt he could do much more. Whether he will or not remains to be seen, but he’ll get his shot.

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2009 NFL Running Back Battles to Watch: Part 2 Sun, 14 Jun 2009 17:44:00 +0000 admin Welcome to part two of the 2009 NFL Running Back Battles To Watch. Yesterday we looked at a bunch of great backs including – but not limited to – the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and the Carolina Panthers.

Today we’ll be looking at some more interesting backfield situations and seeing what they might mean for their respective teams.

We’ll start off with a team that has a clear-cut number one back but also some questions as to what to do if he cannot carry the full load over the course of the 2009 season.

We all think Maurice Jones-Drew aka ‘The Human Bowling Ball’ aka ‘The Bad Little Man’ will be the bell cow here and get most if not all the work. The man can do it all and despite his size, usually stays healthy. With no Fred Taylor, he should get every carry Freddy used to get, right?

Well, yes and no. While MJD is a stud and the offensive line is much healthier and better than 2008’s version, the Jaguars will by no means risk burning out Jones-Drew before the playoffs. I expect one of the backs behind him to get a fair share of carries as well.

Note that I am not saying they will cut significantly into his totes – but that it will factor in and probably in a good way.

Former USC tailback Chauncey Washington patiently waited for his shot, but now has to hold off former Liberty stud Rashad Jennings a guy who improbably fell to the Jags in the seventh round – something I still can’t figure out.

Both players have the ability to fill in for MJD but despite being a USC Homer, I like Jennings better. He can catch, he can slide into holes but he has decent size. Matt Waldman of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio and said it best; ‘what you should know about Jennings is that he’s a bigger back with finesse’.

That size combined with the skills Waldman alludes to make him a very attractive compliment to Jones-Drew and a guy to watch for long term on his own as well.

Jennings has some issues finishing a run and will need to improve that if he wants to catch Washington.

And lest we forget, Greg Jones has been occasionally stud-like when he has had a shot in the past and is a great 3rd down back. Jones has never quite been the same since a knee injury and is often hurt.

Who ends up spelling MJD could have some real value for fantasy owners and Jags fans. It should be a horse race between these three.

New Orleans
Will Reggie Bush stay healthy? Will Pierre Thomas? Who gets the ball on third downs and at the goal line?

Big questions for an offense which needs to improve it’s run game to take some pressure off the pass game. It looks like Thomas has the between-the-tackles work locked down while Bush will continue to play scat-back.

But both have some injury questions (Bush his legs and Thomas’ wrist) so the Saints have journeyman Mike Bell, second year player Lynell Hamilton, and undrafted free agents P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson.

Mike Bell has played well in camp so far but don’t discount the rookies. The Saints went hard into the street free agent market post-draft so they clearly have some concerns with the tailback position.

Bell has played well before and then faltered. Hill has some serious character concerns but seems to realize he screwed up and is motivated to prove he has the ability and maturity to make an impact. All three are big backs, something the Saints lost when they let Deuce McAllister go.

It will be interesting to see if any can make ground on Thomas and given the injury issues (for both Thomas and Bush) and Thomas’ size, one of these guys could see action this season.

With Brian Westbrook banged up again (What? Stop lying Garda! NEVER!) every Eagles fan – and many, MANY fantasy football owners – want to know who to grab for this year’s version of Westbrook Insurance.

Aside: Should Westbrook and/or the Iggles talk to Geico about a sponsorship? I mean, in these troubled economic times, shouldn’t a club be looking for cash wherever they can?

I’m not saying, but I am just saying is all.

But all shenanigans aside who backs Westy up resonates hard an long amongst the NFL community of fans and it goes beyond fantasy football folks. As much as I like the receivers and the passing offense this year, they need the run game hitting on all cylinders.

With the very real possibility that the last two years of 15 games might have been an illusion in terms Westy’s health the Eagles need to know they can throw another guy in there and crank out the yards effectively.

Which leaves you with this question: LeSean McCoy or Lorenzo Booker?

Booker was a guy who I had high hopes for coming to Philadelphia last season after being virtually ignored by Miami previously. With his ability to catch the ball and his general shifty running style, I thought Lo-Book was going to get some traction finally but sadly that didn’t happen.

Booker barely saw the field and then the team went and drafted LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy who is plays very similarly to Westbrook’s game. And while a tad undersized, McCoy plays tough and isn’t afraid of contact.

It will be a battle in the most literal sense and no other fracas may impact the whole offense of a team like this one. If they cannot move the ball on the ground – and lack a player at the RB spot who can catch the ball as effectively as Westy – defenses could key heavily on the pass game.

San Francisco
I spent a lot of time the past few months looking oer the 49ers and there are a ton of questions surrounding this run game and what it could be.

New offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye keeps saying this will not be a run heavy playbook, but if you look at his resume, he’s definitely developed some very strong rushing attacks. So does that mean Raye is tossing some disinformation out there?

Maybe not.

The 49ers often run a game where a strong rushing attack sets up a vertical passing attack. It hasn’t worked well for many reasons – not the least of which is the lack of a permanent solution at quarterback.

So it isn’t far fetched that Raye is being truthful – a rarity in today’s NFL it seems. With the weapons at both running back and wide receiver, the Niners are set up to have an effective attack from either direction.

We know Frank Gore is the stud-bell cow-big dawg-whatever you call it in the backfield. But he cannot do it alone as we saw when he wore down last season.

So who is the backup who could share in his carries? A great question as the backs behind him all have questions.

Michael Robinson has functioned more as a fullback and special-teamer and while Thomas Clayton tends to shine in preseason games, he hasn’t played worth a tinker’s damn during the season. Neither of them have quite been able to give the team a consistent and safe backup to Gore in the past few years.

Two rookies – third round pick Glenn Coffee and street free agent Kory Sheets – have a shot at spelling Gore. Coffee is a solid one cut runner with great vision, who can aggressively attack the hole. He’s a powerful runner who could help the short yardage game, something that occasionally struggled in 2008.

Sheets has great acceleration and burst and is a very good receiver out of the backfield. He can be very elusive and shows patience behind the line with good vision and instincts. I think he could emerge as a nice compliment to Gore in the vein of a Leon Washington or Reggie Bush.

Adding Sheets as an extra weapon is nice, but ultimately the 49ers need to get someone to consistently and reliably spell Gore to save him for a potential run at a playoff spot this year.

Somehow the Seahawks ended the draft without a replacement for the long departed Shaun Alexander, instead relying on Julius Jones and TJ Duckett for a solution at the running back position.

I can’t say I am enthusiastic about that, however I am cautiously optimistic.

With a healthy pass game – which they lacked from the get-go last season – the Hawks could find themselves in possession of a consistent though not spectacular rushing attack.

Julius Jones has shown some skills in the past and will probably make a good two-down runner for the team, getting a lift from a new zone-blocking scheme which he fits into well. However, even though he was the top running back for Seattle last season, he was pretty inconsistent and has to correct that if the team is to depend upon him.

People keep talking each season about how this is TJ Duckett’s time to shine, but I haven’t heard a lot of that yet this off-season. Maybe that bodes well for the former Falcon/Redskin/Lion. He has always possessed a nose for the end zone and he’ll get most of the redzone/end zone looks in my opinion – at least when the team isn’t throwing the ball to Houshmandzadeh or second year tight end John Carlson.

The question – aside from will Edgerrin James or Duece McAllister sign prior to the season – I am asking is where do guys like Justin Forsett end up? If Duckett is more suited to the short yardage/goal line role, will Forsett a second year man out of California, end up as Jones’ backup? Or will he be relegated to special teams?

I want to watch this battle closely as teams all know the Seahawks are gearing up to throw the ball a lot. So who ends up running the ball is of paramount importance. If they cannot move the ball on the ground, the wide receivers may find it very tough to get room to work in the secondary.

That’s it for now – if you don’t hear from me in a few days, have someone send a cop to check on me. I might be buried under an avalanche of moving boxes.

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San Francisco 49ers Sign CB Dre’ Bly Thu, 21 May 2009 23:42:00 +0000 admin
With the injury to Walt Harris this week, it was only a matter of time before the 49ers brought in another veteran to fill out the roster spot.

Bly, who according to Matt Maiocco of the The Press Democrat signed a 1 year contract today, has been around the league a few times. Most recently he played with the Denver Broncos after working for the Lions and Rams previously.

He has been unemployed since he was cut by the Broncos this off-season. While with Denver, he compiled 62 tackles – 54 solo, 8 assisted – over 16 games. He also had a pair of interceptions.

While Bly’s best days might be behind him, he is still a producer and helps give the 49ers some veteran depth. With Shawntae Spencer coming off an injury and players like Tarrell Brown and Marcus Hudson who have yet to prove themselves a little extra proven support could be a big deal.

Bly will likely line up across from Nate Clements this season and will likely have to get his hands dirty supporting the run defense – something he can defintely do.

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Shock And Awe: The Winners and Losers for Day 1 of the 2009 NFL Draft Sun, 26 Apr 2009 04:36:00 +0000 admin It’s a little bit folly to try and really declare winners and losers for a draft that isn’t even finished, much less a day old. Players haven’t even stepped on a NFL field yet, and some may not pay off for several years to come, forget this season.

Still, by the end of Saturday, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to examine some teams who have ended up looking smart and others….

Well, not so much.

So with the realization in mind that we still don’t know everything – here are the teams who made our jaws drop, though not always for good reasons.

The Shock

Oakland Raiders
Maybe Al Davis and his Raiders will prove us all wrong, but right now their draft can be summed up in an exchange I saw between Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times (where the Raiders once resided) and Raiders beat writer Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (which is close to Oakland i suppose).

Farmer: Why were the Raiders reaching like that in the second?

Jones: They reach because that’s what they do.

They weren’t going to go offensive tackle, despite the need, because that’s not really the Raiders way.

And I knew they weren’t going to grab Crabtree, whether or not he was the best wide receiver on the board at the time. Crabtree’s lack of timed 40 speed made it impossible because Davis is crazy for speed like the bird in that cereal commercial is coo-coo for cocoa puffs.

But I never thought he would bypass Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin, who had the speed and a more developed game. I’m a little nonplussed.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish Heyward-Bey a failed career and he will probably turn out ok. But picking him up at 7, when they could have traded back and picked him later?

That’s just not achieving maximum value.

Worse, the team manages to follow it up with an even bigger reach in choosing Ohio Safety Michael Mitchell, a guy most people didn’t even have ranked in their drafts much less the second round.

Mitchell also may develop into a solid player, but right now he looks like a workout warrior and a huge reach as the third safety off the board behind Patrick Chung of Oregon and Louis Delmas of Western Michigan.

It’s one thing to fall in love with a player. It’s another to waste a pick five rounds early.

The Raiders have five picks on Sunday, two in the fourth round. They can recover, given the tremendous value still on the board, but if they keep picking like this, they might as well throw darts at a list on the wall.

Dallas Cowboys
How can I say it’s a bad draft when they didn’t draft anyone?

Bad enough the Cowboys didn’t have a pick for the first round due to last year’s wheeling and dealing, but they then traded out of the second.

Meanwhile, value continued to tumble by them in the form of solid safeties, wide receivers and defensive ends.

Maybe it’s not bad in the sense the Raiders draft was on Saturday but it’s shocking to watch the usually wheeling Cowboys nuetered and missing out on the value on the board.

Cleveland Browns
The Browns made a big move back when the Jets traded for the fifth pick and Mark Sanchez (more on that in a minute) and were poised to grab some great value all day long.

Instead, they kept moving backwards accumulating more and more picks. And when they did spend them, it’s questionable whether they took the best value on the board.

I can’t argue with the selection of Alex Mack. The center from Cal is a versatile lineman who can work at almost any position along the line. And Brian Robiskie is a polished, fast receiver who runs a solid route tree and will contribute early, especially if Braylon Edwards is traded on day two.

But the Browns can’t rush the passer and need a linebacker or top flight defensive lineman.

I say need because while Mack is a great center, USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga as well as Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitus were on the board still.

Maualuga was in fact still on the board when Robiskie was picked. While offensive line and wide receiver were needs, the pass rush was a bigger one and with several very good linebackers on the board, the Browns chose to fill less important needs.

They also bypassed shoring up their need at cornerback by letting Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith sneak away as well.

And as much as I think Hawaii defensive end/linebacker convert David Veikune will be a good upside pick, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was a luxury, especially behind the Robiskie pick.

Massaquoi may become a good possession receiver down the road, but they could have grabbed a corner, safety or even replace Winslow at tight end.

For a team with so many holes who is rebuilding, it seems like they filled few of them with four picks in the first two rounds.

The Browns have four more picks on Sunday – one in the fourth and three in the six. Lots of defensive talent remains on the board and I hope they can recover from a lackluster day one.

The Awe

New York Jets
Jet Nation is a tad split over the selection of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, especially given the talent that slid out of the first round and through the second. But when you look at the price they paid, it’s more than reasonable for a possible franchise quarterback.

Defensive end Kenyon Coleman, quarterback Brett Ratliff and safety Abram Elam were players who in all likelihood would get cut before camp or in Ratliff’s case, clearly hadn’t impressed the new regime all that much.

Aside from that, adding the second rounder to a swap that spanned twelve spots between first rounders is a marginal price to pay.

The Jets have put themselves in a position where they cannot make many mistakes on day two though. They have four more picks on Sunday spread across four of the five rounds.

As I said with the Browns, there are many value picks to be had but the Jets have to be conservative to a great extent. They already rolled their dice once and that’s as much as they can risk.

Detroit Lions
I will openly admit – and it’s a shock to nobody who has read my work the last few months – that I do not agree with the Stafford pick. It’s not an awful pick – just not one I believe had to happen this year.

Yet, Stafford could develop into a nice franchise quarterback and he is far from awful. While I may not agree with the strategy to rebuild the franchise, it’s a solid pick.

On the surface, Brandon Pettigrew at 20 made me wince as well. But, like Stafford, Pettigrew is considered the top at his position and on top of it, he’s a tremendous blocker.

He’s no offensive tackle but he will be able to stay in and protect Stafford. A pick that is more shrewd than i gave it credit for at first. As Stafford and the oline get better, Pettigrew can release and become more of a pass catching tight end.

Finally, hard hitting cornerback Louis Delmas. Again, top at his position. And Delmas is the type of hard nosed player who could help give this defense a personality – something it greatly lacks.

The Lions are looking to become more physical on the defensive side of the ball and Delmas will bring that in spades. They also need some help in the secondary and this fills that hole.

Three picks. Three players arguably at the top of their class. They may not have filled all their needs but the ones they did fill were given top talent.

With five picks on day two, including the first in round three and another later the same round, the Lions stand to pick up some very good value. They could easily pull someone like Jarron Gilbert or Michael Johnson to help fill the defensive line hole, pick up the top guard on the board in Duke Robinson or even a decent tackle like South Carolina’s Jamon Meredith.

New England Patriots
The rich get richer. And richer. And richer.

How the organization ended up with the same amount of picks they started with, but also an embarrassment of riches in players is beyond me, but that’s how they end up being the great team they are every year.

Four picks in the second and every one a value.

Patrick Chung, second best safety in the class brings some thump to the secondary and will make receivers pay dearly.

Defensive tackle Ron Brace got overlooked a bit with BJ raji getting the love at Boston College, but will stuff the run as good as anyone in the draft class and is likely to take over for Vince Wilfork at the nose tackle.

Darius Butler, one of the top corners in the draft, probably won’t start this coming season but will take over in the aging secondary within the next year or two.

And while Sebastian Vollmer is a project for the offensive line, he will develop into a nice right tackle and used to play tight end, so he has the versatility to move around for trick plays if need be.

And, oh by the way – they have seven more picks. By the end of the draft they may have multiple picks for next years draft as well.

Before I let you go, dear reader, here are a few teams I am on the fence about. Tomorrow could be pivotal for them.

San Francisco 49ers: One pick, but what value. But you better build on Crabtree use your remaining six picks wisely.

Houston Texans: Methodically took care of two key needs with picks of USC LB Clay Matthews and DE Connor Barwin. Six more picks to shore up the corners and get a back to compliment Steve Slaton.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Almost made the Awe list, but as much as I loved watching them grab two very good offensive tackles in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, passing on Crabtree and Maclin and then a host of good defensive line prospects makes me wonder if last season’s Oline injury woes didn’t get in their head too much.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did you really need to leap up and pay the price you did to move a few spots? Especially since nobody in front of you was likely to grab your choice of Josh Freeman? Six picks on day two and like the Jets you’d beter make them count. Unlike the Jets though, your new franchise quarterback is a far bigger project and has more question marks.

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Frank Gore OUT Sun, 14 Dec 2008 17:09:00 +0000 admin What we’ve all half expected has happened – The 49rs have declared Frank Gore OUT vs Miami. Expect a hodge-podge of RBs – DeShaun Foster, Michael Robinson and a little Thomas Clayton sprinkled in.

None of which is really starter worthy unless all heck has broken lose in your backfield.

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