With the 107th overall pick, the 49ers select Cody Wallace, Center, Texas A&M. Eric Heitmann is a guy who struggled coming back from his broken leg, so if Wallace is going to be an NFL center, I suppose this pick would make some sense. I know you often see offensive lineman getting shuffled around so maybe they'll see what they can do with Wallace along the rest of the line. Electing to take a center over some of the extremely talented offensive tackles seems to indicate Jonas Jennings is not going anywhere and will be playing the tackle position opposite Joe Staley. According to MM:
Hmmm, what does this mean for Heitmann and Baas? Wallace (6-4, 295) was Mel Kiper's No. 1 ranked center. Says Kiper, "He's athletic, has some agility for his size, is smart, has sound technique, as well as plenty of experience against quality competition."
New Era did not have much info on him, so I swung over to Scout's Inc and they said:
Strengths: Gets adequate hand placement, locks onto defender's frame and can sustain once in position. Plays with good leverage for a player as tall as him and does an adequate job of getting under defender's pads. Has a mean streak and never stops working . . . Keeps head on a swivel and looks to help guards when no one comes to him . . . Though lacks ideal bulk for an NFL guard has the frame to comfortably add weight and could eventually provide depth there.
Weaknesses: Hasn't shown great lower body strength and is going to have problems driving two-gap defenders off the ball . . .Takes some false steps, isn't quick enough to get into position when footwork is sloppy and can have problems preventing penetration. Doesn't extend arms and frequently bails too early when combo blocking up to the second level . . . Can recognize blitz but gets caught flatfooted when isn't engaged with a defender and has some problems adjusting.
Overall: Wallace is a little too light and his footwork is still inconsistent at this point but he has the strong upper body, frame, tenacity and smarts to develop into an excellent backup or capable starter in time.
I'm not exactly sold on this pick (because clearly the 49ers need to convince me of these things before hand), but this certainly continues this year's trend of slightly off the radar guys. These are all talented players of course, but they're not guys many of us saw ending up as 49ers. Of course depending on how these picks work out, in a year, McNolan could be sitting in the same position as us at the draft...at home in our parents basement bitching about the 49ers picks.
Editor's Update 9:45am: Wallace just had a conference call with Bay Area reporters and some interesting info came out of that thanks to Barrows and MM:
MB: [H]e's another guy who fits the 49ers' mold. He's a smart and powerful interior lineman who holds the Texas A&M record with a 740-pound squat lift. Wallace is a Senior Bowl alum who worked closely with George Warhop in Mobile. He also is a two-year captain, which likely endeared him to the 49ers. It's notable that the 49ers have spent two picks on the interior of the offensive line, a huge problem last season. It's also notable that the current center, Eric Heitmann, is entering the final season on his contract.
MM: His father reportedly died in prison when Cody was 8 years old. His mother died when he was 16. His only sibling, Marcus, who is 2 1/2 years old than Cody, is currently serving time on felony drug charges. Wallace was raised by his grandparents.
Wallace said living through those difficult circumstances has conditioned him to deal with challenging situations on the football field. He said he does not stress out about little things.