On Friday I took a look at the 49ers selection of Rutgers tackle, Anthony Davis, with the 11th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. In that article I talked a little about how Davis performed during his rookie season and what expectations I have of him moving forward. Additionally, I took a look at players who were available to the 49ers with the the #11 selection.
This afternoon, I am going to look at Mike Iupati and the #17 pick. Once again, I will take an in-depth look at what players may have been available with that pick at a need position.
1st Round, 17th Pick: G- Mike Iupati Idaho
One would have thought that the 49ers were going to address another position at 17 after selecting Anthony Davis with the 11th pick. However, it did not turn out that way. Instead, the 49ers make the odd decision to go with muliple 1st round offensive linemen. And, boy did it pay off.
Mike Iupati should have been an All-Pro selection his rookie season, he immediately came in and performed at a veteran level; something that isn't typical for rookie offensive linemen. Iupati did have some rookie headaches, but there really weren't that many of them. In fact, a lot less than you would expect from such a young player.
I saw Iupati completely destroy opposing defenders and open up running lanes for the myriad of 49ers RBs who touched the ball in 2010. He was quick off the ball, mauled defensive tackles and was even quick enough to go outside and take on pass rushers. Iupati was definetely not a "one trick pony" either. He was extremely solid in pass protection as well.
Moving forward you can expect the former Idaho Vandal standout to perform at an All-Pro level and be selected to multiple Pro Bowls. I am usually not an advocated of jumping to conclusions one year in, but Iupati is different. He has all the ability, smarts and intelligence to build off of an extremely solid rookie season. This is a pick that we will look back on in five years and say "how did he fall to 17". In fact, I believe he will end up being one of the top five players that came out of the 2010 NFL draft class when all is said and done.
Available Players at 17
1st Round, 18th Pick: C- Maurkice Pouncey Florida
Analysis: Another player that stood head and shoulders above others during his rookie season. Pouncey, who looked like men among boys at Florida, stood the test of making the NFL jump and succeeded at high levels in 2010.
It is hard to project whether the 49ers were looking at Pouncey as a possible answer to their guard problems before going with Iupati. But, I would have to say no. Pouncey is a true center, a masher up the middle and someone that will end up being among the best at his position in the NFL. It would not have made any sense to draft a player of this quality and ask him to move positions.
Moving forward, The Steelers may be temped to uproot Pouncey from the center position, but I believe that would be a mistake. He has the ability to be one of the best centers to ever play the game. You heard me right, EVER!
1st Round, 20th Pick: CB- Kareem Jackson Alabama
2010 Stats: 16 Starts, 58 Tackles, 2 INT, 10 Passes Defended
Analysis: Rookie corners do tend to struggle, and Jackson was no different. He did start all 16 games for the Houston Texans, but their pass defense still finished dead last in the NFL.10 passes defended while starting every game is indicative of a rookie player struggling at the corner position.
Jackson allowed his hips to get turned around a bit too much, even for a rookie. He played soft coverage and allowed receivers to go underneath; fearing the home run pass. I am still high on Jackson because I understand that maturity is a huge aspect at this position and he may end up being a good corner in the NFL. Only time will tell, but his rookie season wasn't great at all.
1st Round, 25th Pick: QB- Tim Tebow Florida
2010 Stats: 9 Games, 3 Starts, 50.0 Comp %, 654 Yards, 5 TD, 3 INT, 227 Rush Yards, 6 TD
Analysis: I am not going to be as hard on Tebow as many on here will be. I personally believe that he may end up being a pretty darn good NFL QB. I saw some maturity in his game towards the end of the season as Tebow's "run first mentality" didn't seem so prominent.
There was a lot of talk about the 49ers and Tebow heading into the 2010 draft, and I am glad that is what only talk. Hindsight is 20/20, but the 49ers got much greater value in Colin Kaepernick this season. That said, I can see Tebow's game translating well to the NFL and him being an above average starter.
1st Round, 29th Pick: CB- Kyle Wilson Boise State
2010 Stats: 16 Games, 6 Starts, 16 Tackles, 5 Passes Defended, 0 INT
Analysis: A personal favorite of mine heading into the 2010 draft, Kyle Wilson didn't show the production that I though he would. He did play in all 16 games, starting 6, but really didn't have the impact that I envisioned he would on defense. Wilson made 16 tackles, had only 5 passes defended and didn't compile an interception.
Moving forward, I expect him to be more of an integral part of the Jets defense, especially if Antonio Cromartie walks via free agency. Listen, Wilson is a special talent that could be utilized on both defense and special teams. It is just up to him to mature and the Jets to put him in the right position.
Synopsis: Needless to say, the 49ers made the right pick in Mike Iupati with the 17th selection of the 2010 draft. You didn't see a lot of production from players that were selected immediately following him. On the same note, Maurkice Pouncey looks like a steal for the Steelers, but it would have made no sense for the 49ers to pick him up to play center or move him to the guard position.
This is a pick that may go down in the annals of 49er history much like their selection of Patrick Willis just a couple years earlier. Two completely different positions, but one common theme; dominating players at what they do.
2010 Guard Rankings One Year Late
1. Mike Iupati San Francisco 49ers 17th Pick
2. Zane Beadles Denver Broncos 45th Pick
3. John Jerry Miami Dolphins 73rd Pick
4. Ted Larsen New England Patriots 205th Pick With Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Plays Center)