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49ers Draft Review: Initial Answers

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After 2 days and give picks, the San Francisco 49ers draft is complete and the time for irrational and rational analysis is upon us. Right off the bat, I'll say this is a very tough draft to grade. The general consensus was the 49ers had starting needs on the offensive line, the defensive line and at outside linebacker, with additional depth needs at wide receiver and in the secondary. The prognisticators (yours truly included) felt Quentin Groves would be taken if he was there in the first or second round. Offensive tackle seemed a sure bet to be addressed. Many felt (or maybe it was just wanted) wide receiver would be addressed relatively early. And the actual outcome? No offensive tackles were taken, a short not so fast wide receiver with some issues was taken in the sixth round and they addressed OLB in the seventh round with a guy who is more likely to be a special teams start than an impact outside linebacker.

I will not say I'm disappointed or think it was a bad draft. Aside from the usual cliches about waiting 3 years to fully evaluate a draft, I think there are some good things to come out of this, depending on how you view the players taken. If you view this as a lot of reaches, you're going to be disappointed until they prove it on the field. I can see how the team appeared to reach when other quality talents were still around. I think my opinion is more of disappointment in who the 49ers could have taken, rather that who they actual took.

While plenty of new questions arise, we've at least gotten some answers. I'll deal with questions raised later, but for now I just want to look at questions answered. And feel free to add any I miss.

1. The 49ers are happy with their receivers. Yes they added Josh Morgan, but we all know how 6th rounders usually work out. I'd say right I'm happier with Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson and Arnaz Battle as the 1-2-3 than last year with DJack, Battle and Ashley Lelie. While it's not the greatest show on turf, I think there are sufficient weapons on the field.
2. Joe Staley and Jonas Jennings are your tackles next season. After going guard with Rachal, I was kind of hoping the 49ers would grab OT Anthony Collins in the 4th round, but it was not to be. I suppose they could work Rachal over to tackle, but I don't see that happening.
3. McNolan has tethered themselves to Smith/Hill (with a little O'Sullivan thrown in for good measure). They could bring in an undrafted free agent, but I think it's safe to say the QB competition is officially set for this summerinside linebacker spot
4. Reggie Smith will be returning kicks and/or punts. Maurice Hicks was quite solid on special teams, but the 49ers have not had the game-breaking kick/punt returning in ages. It'd be pretty sweet to see Reggie Smith develop that aspect of the 49ers special teams. (Just corrected on Rossum. I still think Smith will get a chance to make an impact in the return game.)
5. Eric Heitmann would seem to be a goner after this season. Heitmann really struggled to bounce back from his broken leg at the end of 2006. Who knows if Cody Wallace is the answer, but he'll definitely get every chance to prove it. Heitmann had very solid stretches in his time with the 49ers, but it is quickly approaching the time to move on.