2009 NFL Draft: Safe Bets

49ersdraft_mediumLast week I examined some of the most likely bust candidates in the the 2009 NFL Draft. This week I'd liketo the look at the half-full glass of prospects. When it come to the NFL Draft, most of these young men have the talent to be as good as they want to be. When I think of a guy like Rashaun Woods--it hurts. I thought this guy was can't miss. He had no weakness in his game. But alas, he'd rather be fishing. The following is a few players that should not go the way of Rashaun Woods. And if they do, hopefully it's with the Rams or Cowboys. There were two OTs in the bust list last week. So, we'll start with two safer options at the position. 

Jason Smith, OT, Baylor:  Smith is a former tight end, and like our own Joe Staley, has become a massive man while maintaining his athleticism. He has a mean streak and by all accounts a great work ethic. Smith is probably the best player to come out of Baylor since Mike Singletary. With his mix of talent and drive, there is no reason Jason Smith shouldn't be a mainstay on the left side for whoever drafts him.

Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia:  In the 2008 draft, Branden Albert was among the best offensive line prospects. Albert was a first round pick, even as a guard he was chosen 15th overall by the Chiefs. The reason he was a guard? Because they had Eugene Monroe at left tackle. In my opion, Monroe is a better prospect than fellow Cavalier D'brickashaw Ferguson, who the Jets drafted #4 overall in 2006. Some players have a high ceiling, as does Monroe. He also has a high floor.

Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: Curry is a rare prospect. He's the type where his scouting report just doesn't include a section titled "weaknesses". Curry got better every year at Wake Forest. His production is off the charts. Curry is described as a hard working team leader by his coaches. He got better every year and so did his numbers. At the combine, Curry threw down some silly numbers including a 4.56 40 yard dash. The Detroit Lions have a chance to draft the best player in the draft with the #1 pick in 2009. Curry is that man. Will they make the right choice?

 

Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: Some people are down on Malcolm Jenkins after running a 4.55 in Indianapolis. I'm not one of them. The great thing about a prospect like Jenkins is even if he falters at CB and the questions about his speed are warranted, he still has the ability to be a All-Pro safety. So, for all you poker players out there, he has an "out". If Penn State is "Linebacker U" then Ohio State is "DBU". Ohio State has produced a bevy of NFL defensive backs, like Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Donte Whitner, our own Nate Clements and who can forget Ahmed Plummer? Jenkins is next  in line and hopefully is closer to Clements than Plummer. Did I mention he's a hard worker? I think I sense a trend...

 

Brian Robiske, WR, Ohio State: Robiske is just rock solid as you would expect a son of an NFL WR coach to be. He has good size, speed, strength, ball skills and runs crisp routes. Robiske may not be a flashy high upside prospect, but he is among the safest bets in the the draft to have a long career as a possesion WR.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina: Nicks is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. Not only is he a safe bet at wide receiver, but he also has some upside. At the combine, Nicks answered any questions about his deep speed by throwing down a 4.50 in the 40. Nicks' calling card has always been his pure hands and strong runs after the catch. Nicks profiles as  a #2 WR, but there are shades of guys like Anquan Boldin and Chad Johnson in his game. If Michael Crabtree is worth a top 10 selection with a similar skillset, then Nicks is a steal at the top of round 2.

 

How about it? Who are your safe bets in 2009?

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