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50 in 50: Robert Sands - SS - West Virginia (4 of 50)

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The position of strong safety has become more and more of a commodity over the years.

Guys like Troy Polamalu really revolutionized the position. There may not be a better safety in the game and most players at that position strive to be like him. 

Last year, the 49ers lost veteran strong safety Michael Lewis in a series of awkward events that took place early on before the season started.

It seemed as though some were not happy with what was taking place with the coaching staff and their philosophies which led to a few of them deciding to part ways. Later on in the year, Michael Lewis sat out of practice for "personal reasons" and did not travel with the team to Atlanta for their ensuing game. Thereafter, Lewis demanded to be released in which the 49ers obliged.

It wasn't certain that Lewis would have retained his job the entire year due to the fact that he just couldn't keep up and often found himself chasing down receivers from behind. The 49ers drafted Taylor Mays in the second-round of last years draft. Most folks thought that Taylor would have replaced Lewis before the season began, but he too struggled in the growing process of the game.

It may have been a bad case of "rookie syndrome" for Mays, or he may not pan out to be much of anything. Time is the only factor that can give us the verdict on that.

In the evaluation process, new head coach, Jim Harbaugh is going to have to make some decisions to solidify a weak 49ers secondary. In that process, some of the players that we have grown used to see play back there may be on the chopping block depending on what they decide to do in the draft.

With that, let's take a look at the strong safety from West Virginia, Robert Sands...

 

As seen in the video, Sands looks like a wide receiver back there snatching spheres out of the sky and laying hits on guys like a ton of bricks.

His instinct is much better back there than anything the 49ers currently have on their roster (minus Reggie Smith). And yet, he may be a later round pick than what we spent on Taylor Mays. However, there is speculation that Reggie Smith would take over that role and that Dashon Goldson would remain the starter at free safety.

He is 6'4", with speed enough back there to match. He has a high enough vertical to get up and contest passes on most occasions as well. This, combined with his instinct gives him a really good chance to start in the National Football League.

 

Here are his stats:

Stats Overview

Tackles

Misc

Interceptions

YEAR

TOT

SOLO

AST

SACK

STF

STFY

FF

BK

INT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

PD

2008

33

17

16

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

2009

31

15

16

0

0

0

0

0

5

9

1.8

9

0

0

2010

46

27

19

2

0

0

1

0

1

28

28.0

28

0

0

 

2010 Regular Season Game Log

Tackles

Misc

Interceptions

DATE

OPP

RESULT  

TOT

SOLO

AST

SACK

STF

STFY

FF

BK

INT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

PD

9/4

Coastal Carolina

W 31-0

5

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

9/10

@Marshall

W 24-21

3

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

9/18

Maryland

W 31-17

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

9/25

@LSU

L 20-14

9

5

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

10/9

UNLV

W 49-10

2

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

10/14

South Florida

W 20-6

5

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

1

28

28.0

28

0

0

10/23

Syracuse

L 19-14

5

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

10/29

@Connecticut

L 16-13

5

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

11/13

Cincinnati

W 37-10

4

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

11/20

@Louisville

W 17-10

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

11/26

@Pittsburgh

W 35-10

3

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

12/4

Rutgers

W 35-14

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

 

2010 Postseason Game Log

Tackles

Misc

Interceptions

BOWL

OPP

RESULT  

TOT

SOLO

AST

SACK

STF

STFY

FF

BK

INT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

PD

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL

@North Carolina State

L 23-7

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

 

 

Summary: Sands has all the tools and skill-set to make a good career for himself in the NFL. I truly believe that he will be starting for a long time if he gets the opportunity. Typically, you don't see safeties of that build in the NFL, but I think that there will be an exception.

PREDICTION: 3rd - 4th Round