When free agency got going last summer, one of the first big moves the 49ers made was to sign defensive end Ray McDonald to a five year contract worth $20 million. Prior to 2011, McDonald was a guy who was primarily a pass rush specialist. He had great skills when it came to that, but we never got a chance to see what he could do in other aspects of the game. A season later, McDonald has shown the complete package and become a monster bookend to Justin Smith on the defensive line.
Prior to last season, Ahmad Brooks would have fit that role perfectly. He was a similar age and also showed a similar skill-set heading into 2011 as primarily a pass-rush specialist. He was given a chance this past season and took the proverbial bull by the horns. Now he heads into free agency with some serious momentum after a strong 2011 campaign.
Does anybody strike you as a similar potential 49ers free agent (or even a free agent from another team) coming off a fairly under the radar season but with some significant upside? For the 49ers, maybe it is Joshua Morgan? He is a guy who has shown some skills, particularly in the first few games of 2011, but has not shown the complete package thus far. That is not to say he will turn into what we saw from Ray McDonald in 2011, but there is some upside that keeps it interesting.
Do the 49ers have somebody you view as that kind of upside guy? Or maybe it is a low key free agent from another team that you would like the 49ers to grab. Who might it be?