This is the time of year when you can't really believe anything you read. NFL GMs have set their draft boards and it stands to reason they would want to assure themselves a potential investment is of sound mind before sinking millions of dollars into him. So, you have to believe there is some level of interest in these players by the 49ers. There are a number of other reasons a team may bring certain prospects in for a private look, which I will get into in moment.
QB: Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Mike Reilly
RB: Chris "Beanie" Wells, Knowshon Moreno, Andre Brown, Donald Brown
WR: Michael Crabtree
OL: Michael Oher, Andre Smith
DL: BJ Raji, Jarron Gilbert, Tyson Jackson, Ziggy Hood, Pierre Walters
LB: Rey Maualuga
DB: William Moore, Patrick Chung, Greg Toler
Looking at this list of prospects, three things jump out at me.
One...character concerns. Of the five players that have been projected at the #10 pick, four have questions about their mental make-up (Andre Smith, Michael Crabtree, Michael Oher and BJ Raji). Andre Smith's offseason has been well chronicled. People have questioned whether or Michael Oher can grasp intricate schemes. B.J. Raji failed a drug test and then there's this. And now we're hearing about off-field issues with Michael Crabtree. The fifth player, Mark Sanchez, would certainly warrant the same psychological examination as the 49ers gave Matthew Stafford. And, of course, you have to maintain that QB interest for potential suitors in trade.
Two...sleepers. Mike Reilly (like this guy and had Niners taking him in my first NN mock in January), Pierre Walters and Greg Toler might have a lot of people saying, "who's that?". This is the 49ers being thorough, getting a chance to see small school players who might get late round consideration and may not have been tracked closely during the college football season or have campus pro days.
Three...smokescreen! Where are the pass rushers and cornerbacks? Suspiciously absent from this list are names like Brian Orakpo and Everette Brown. Even names like Malcolm Jenkins, Aaron Maybin, Connor Barwin, Vontae Davis, Darius Butler and Larry English. It may not mean much. It may mean the 49ers really aren't thinking about a CB or OLB in the draft, but we all know that isn't the case. Or do we?
The 49ers are being sneaky...very sneaky.