It seems as though NaVorro Bowmans short time as a starter left a lasting impression on some of the readers here on Niners Nation. In the last confidence post, we examined the 49ers' 2010 third-round pick and how we would feel about him starting in 2011 next to Patrick Willis, at the TED linebacker position. The voting (which you can still take part in) seems to indicate that, at least for 2011, Bowman should not be the number one option for the 49ers. It doesn't indicate that he doesn't have a future, just that he needs more time to develop, and the guy that this post pertains to would be a better option.
Takeo Spikes is that guy, and I'm going to bet we'll be seeing a lot of positive votes for him. I picked Takeo because I'm running low on time, and what needs to be said about TKO? I am a strong supporter of Bowman going forward, but there was no reason for him to be starting or taking a significant amount of snaps from Spikes last season. I directly attribute at least one loss to Bowman, and at that point, Spikes was available on the sidelines, fresh and ready to play.
There's no excuse for that kind of thing. Spikes' production over time only increased, and in the end, 2010 was one of his best seasons to date. Youth movements should only occur when it's opportune for it, and last year was not that point. What about 2011? Takeo Spikes is a free agent going forward, but he has expressed interest in retiring as a 49er. Jim Harbaugh has expressed his admiration for Spikes and the hard work he puts in.
Many believe that Bowman isn't yet ready, but was 2010 just lightning in a bottle for Takeo? He's 34 years old and will hit 35 at the back-end of the 2011 season. Voting a '10' implies that Spikes will play up to 2010 form consistently throughout the year. He will do everything we need of him. Voting '7' implies that he's the best option going forward on or off the roster and the 49ers need him, and you want him. Voting a '6' implies that you're alright with him as a starter and the 49ers should not consider it a big need. Anything below that is varying degrees of either "I don't think he's that good," or "I think his age will catch up with him."