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Mel Kiper 2009 NFL Draft re-draft: Who would the 49ers take instead of Michael Crabtree

As Michael Crabtree tests free agency, Mel Kiper took a look at who the 49ers would have taken in 2009 knowing what we know now.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In a fitting bit of timing, last week Mel Kiper put together a re-draft of the 2009 NFL Draft. I suggest it is fitting because the San Francisco 49ers pick that year was Michael Crabtree, and he currently finds himself as arguably the most high profile free agent still on the market.

The 49ers had the tenth pick of that draft, and the highlight of the draft at the time had to come when the Oakland Raiders selected Darrius Heyward-Bey. The expectation was that the Raiders would take Crabtree. Instead, the Raiders took DHB and I think most 49ers fans were pretty pumped.

Six years later, the 49ers and Crabtree appear to be parting ways. In re-drafting for the 49ers, Kiper has the team selecting center Max Unger. The Seattle Seahawks moved up in the second round to draft Unger. He has had some injury issues, but the team was able to use him in a package earlier this month to get tight end Jimmy Graham. Here is what Kiper said about the new pick:

The third center drafted in this class, Unger might be the best of them -- when healthy. He has now missed significant time in two seasons -- including last year -- but when he's right, he's an All-Pro caliber player, which is why he was part of the compensation to New Orleans to bring Jimmy Graham to Seattle this offseason.

The 49ers depth chart back in 2009 unofficially listed Eric Heitman as the starting center, with Cody Wallace as his backup, and David Baas at left guard. Baas did not take over at center until 2010, the same year they drafted Mike Iupati and installed him at left guard. Adding Unger would have made some sense, unless they were convinced at the time that Cody Wallace had a future with the team.

In the re-draft, Kiper has Crabtree slipping down to the Buffalo Bills at No. 28. His explanation indicates he either paid no attention to Crabtree the last six years, or maybe just doesn't watch the NFL at all. At the very least it is some lazy work:

He had one of the more inauspicious starts to a career I can recall, at least among those that don't involve an injury. Crabtree held out and missed the first five games of the 2009 season. He hasn't had a bad career, he just hasn't quite lived up the hype that surrounded his entry into the league. He has one 1,000-yard receiving season, and it'll be interesting to see if he has any more. We're still waiting to find out where he'll play in 2015.

Here is the top ten from the 2009 NFL Draft, and then Kiper's re-draft. The number in parenthesis is where the player was originally drafted.

No. Team Original Pick New Pick
1 Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford QB Matthew Stafford (1)
2 St. Louis Rams OT Jason Smith OLB Clay Matthews (26)
3 Kansas City Chiefs DE Tyson Jackson RB LeSean McCoy (53)
4 Seattle Seahawks LB Aaron Curry WR Julian Edelman (232)
5 New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez CB Vontae Davis (25)
6 Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith C Alex Mack (21)
7 Oakland Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Mike Wallace (84)
8 Jacksonville Jaguars OT Eugene Monroe RB Arian Foster (UDFA)
9 Green Bay Packers DT B.J. Raji OT Sebastian Vollmer (58)
10 San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree C Max Unger (49)