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There were two big stories that dropped at the Combine yesterday. The first was Andre Smith leaving the Combine without notice. Throw in the mysterious reasoning for missing the Sugar Bowl and we're likely seeing draft stock in free fall. The second big story was Michael Crabtree's stress fracture. Initially it sounded like he'd be out for ten weeks and not working out for anybody. Since then, Adam Schefter has reported that Crabtree will run two 40s at his Pro Day and then have his surgery.
Both of these guys were slotted ahead of the 49ers pick. Given the recent potential developments in their draft status, it seems as good a time as any to discuss them and my own thoughts.
I didn't clarify in the FanPost, but to be clear, if Michael Crabtree was available at 10 I would draft him. The folks at Big Cat Country actually said, "Michael Crabtree will be lucky to be a first round pick." He's injured right now, but I really think he's going to be an impact receiver. I do think the 49ers have some solid receivers to develop, but if he's there, I think Crabtree is the best player available. If it was a running back I might pause, but I don't think the 49ers can have too many good young receivers.
Oh, Andre. If this were just a failed drug test (as some folks were speculating on the NFL Network), I'd actually pass it off (same thing happened to Warren Sapp). However, skipping out on parts of the Combine and screwing up interviews, now that's just bad news. I won't say it's just a sign of bad character because I don't know Andre Smith and will not judge him in that regard. Simply put, it's just horrendous judgment by the young man or his representatives or something. If the stories are true, he showed up to interviews in inappropriate clothing (not really sure what that means). While he's responsible for his own business, I'd blame his agents just as much. Either way, it's just a bizarre twist.
If both Crabtree and Smith were available at 10, I definitely think it's easier justifying Crabtree. If his Pro Day goes relatively smoothly the injury is not that big a concern. Jonathan Stewart had surgery on a toe before last year's draft and he turned out ok. Not the same injury, but still something to ponder.
Andre Smith is a different question all together. If there are character concerns, is there confidence that a guy like Mike Singletary could reign him in and get him flying on the straight and narrow? Even if this is a one-time thing, the risk might not be worth the potential reward. And, if the 49ers address the tackle position in free agency, maybe it's even easier to look past Smith.
Anyways, just wanted to throw out some thoughts on a pair of guys who might be sliding in the draft. I agree that wide receiver is not the 49ers #1 need this offseason. However, some guys you just don't pass on. Michael Crabtree is one of those guys.