As the draft approaches, there's been a lot of speculating about how the 49ers MUST draft a Safety, or two, and that the draft will be a huge bust if we don't.
My problem with this is that the Harbaalke regime has clearly established the precedence that rookies don't get penciled in at any starting positions. In 2011, Bruce Miller earned the starting fullback job as a rookie, for example, but not in week 1. So, the Niners have a backup plan. What is it?
In 2012, when the 49ers could not come to terms with Dashon Goldson, they did three things, all within a month of each other:
- Applied the Franchise Tag to Goldson, locking him up for 2012
- Signed Carlos Rogers to a long term contract (committing the money to CB rather than FS)
- Signed CJ Spillman to a 3 year, 6 million dollar contract extension, locking him up through 2014
Yes, 6 million dollars (4.2 base, 1.8 incentives) to a special teams player that really hasn't seen the field on defense. CJ's 2013 base salary is currently 19th on the team, and on par with new signee Craig Dahl's (Craig will make a little more with his roster bonus).
So, my question to the Niner Nation is, "What have you seen to suggest that CJ is not our starting FS for 2013?" He saw a total of 27 snaps on defense in 2012. I can't remember seeing any of them.
CJ played FS for Marshall. His dad played college football. As a junior, CJ recorded an incredible 131 tackles, averaging over 10 per game. His numbers were down his senior year, and he went undrafted.
CJ was one of only two UDFA players to make the Chargers roster in 2009. He played in 5 games, but unfortunately was positioned behind defensive standout Eric Weddle. The Chargers cut CJ mid-season in 2010, I'm guessing in a move to be able to keep him on the practice squad, but the Niners picked him up off waivers.
In 2011, CJ blew up 49ers special teams where he "led the 49ers with 19 special-teams tackles and ranked second on the team with 699 special-teams points." (SF Gate)
So, how does CJ compare to this years draft class? 6'0", 199lbs, 4.5 sec 40. Also, 199 is what the Chargers listed him at. Who knows what he actually weighs now.
Obviously, with so little playing time at FS in the NFL, CJ is unproven. I believe this is why they brought in Craig Dahl. Also, I've got no problem with drafting a FS in this years draft, but I don't want us reaching for a player. It feels like we've got our rookie, CJ Spillman, and we've got a veteran in Dahl to push him. As a plus, they both play special teams.
So, Nation, thoughts?