The 49ers had a crucial injury to Eric Heitmann early on last season. David Baas was the back up shortly after that and progressed throughout the year. Although he progressed, it is still a bit uncertain as to what the 49ers plans are at the position heading in to the 2011 season.
There is a good possibility that if Eric Heitmann checks out okay medically that he will once again be named the starter. However, he did sustain a neck and high-spine injury which are hard to recover from.
Should the 49ers decide to let Heitmann go, or Heitmann decides to retire, there is another possibility that David Baas would return in the 2011 season to take on the role of the starting center. Ninjames did a post earlier this morning regarding the former guard turned center breaking down the likelihood of him returning to retain that starting job.
But there is always the chance that 49ers personnel department has been scouting some of the upper-tier centers coming out this year. In fact, there were reports earlier in the year that they had sent people out to Slippery Rock to scout center Brandon Fusco who has climbed up the boards vigorously throughout the offseason.
There is also the chance that they target a couple other centers that could go relatively high in the draft.
With that, I present Stefen Wisniewski, the center out of Penn State...
This 5 minute video of Wisniewski illustrates mostly his push on the line in the run game. He does need a bit of work in his pass protection but it is easy to see that he has all the physical tools to be extremely effective as an NFL center. The Penn State center appears to have very good knowledge of his blocking assignments and opens up holes the size of the Grand Canyon at times. It's very important for a center to have good football intellect considering that they are the conductor of the front five.
NO STATS AVAILABLE
Summary: Throughout his career at Penn State, Stefen Wisniewski has been considered one of the leaders of that offensive unit. I fully believe that whoever drafts him will undoubtedly see the same sort of leadership quality. His father Leo Wisniewski possessed this trait while with the Colts for a few years and his uncle Steve Wisniewski possessed it as well as an eight-time Pro Bowler for the Los Angeles/ Oakland Raiders. The Matthews' and the Manning's seem to have a good thing going in their bloodlines and I believe the same holds true for this up and coming start, Stefen Wisniewski.
PREDICTION: 2nd - 3rd Round.
Do the 49ers need to draft a center in the 2011 NFL Draft?
Yes (175 votes)
No (111 votes)
286 total votes