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2008 NFL Draft: 49ers select Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina and Chilo Rachal, OG, USC


I'm back and the 49ers have made some interesting picks on day 1 of the 2008 NFL Draft.  The comments are filling up in the open thread, so consider this a new thread for the remainder of the day for all draft discussion.

I'll have more complete thoughts after I get a little research done, but off the top of my head, I'm certainly intrigued by these picks.  Balmer was discussed as a nose tackle, but some sites (including our fearless leader at New Era Scouting), have Balmer down as a 3-4 defensive end.  He has the size to fill that kind of role, although in the NFL he could certainly add the weight to be an effective nose tackle.  So I guess how we grade this pick depends on what kind of role we see him filling.  He seems extremely talented, which is certainly a good thing.  If the team does role with a 3-4/4-3 hybrid defense he seems like the type of good who could fill different roles.  If it's a straight 3-4, I'm not quite as sure.

Chilo Rachal is a guy I really don't know as much about as I probably should.  He was a guard at USC, and the folks at New Era have him as the #2 guard behind Brandon Albert:

Rachal is one of the early entrants in this year’s class who should have stayed for his senior season. Family issues, however, forced him into the draft. While next year he would be a surefire first day pick, now he’s straddling the line between the late second and early third round. The right guard may not be ready to start for another year or two, but when he does he’ll be good. He is already a top pass protector is really good on pull and trap runs. If he can improve his drive blocking, he’ll be a consistent Pro Bowl-caliber player.

This certainly has me a little worried, although he seems like a mountain of a man who should show improvement.  It'd be nice if we still had Larry Allen to teach him a thing or two.  Rachal is definitely a guy I need to bone up on before giving my true thoughts.  For now, guard is certainly an issue with the loss of Smiley and the retirement (maybe?) of Larry Allen.  I'm curious what kind of shuffle this will create on the offensive line.

Anyways, plenty more thoughts to come on Day 1.

Editor's update 5:42pm: Barrows had some notes on a conference call with Kentwan Balmer.  Interesting to say the least:

Just got off a conference call with Balmer, who had been watching the draft from the Tar Heels football stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. To say that Balmer was excited to be a 49er would be an understatement. He said his father, Charles, was a huge 49ers fan beginning in the early 1990s. In fact, while we were talking with him, he said that his dad was wearing a 49ers cap and weeping tears of joy.

Quizzed on the 49ers' defense, Balmer said he knew they had a good outside linebacker in Manny Lawson, whom Balmer knew from Lawson's days at N.C. State, and a great young middle linebacker in Patrick Willis. He said he also knew that Bryant Young had announced his retirement.
Asked what it would be like to step into the position, left defensive end, that Young plaayed last season, Balmer said, "That's a Hall-of-fame player. I'm not expecting to come in and replace him. It's going to be a lot of work."

You gotta love a guy whose got 49er lovers in his family.

Editor's Update 5:50pm: I've added two YouTube videos of Balmer and Rachal in as Fan Shots.  It's on the right hand column below the FanPosts and Polls.  Check em out when you get a chance.