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Posted Sept. 21, 2009
The Crabtree Lesson
Don't we all wish we had a time machine? We have all made mistakes in our lives. We wish we could go back in time and fix things. Ever seen the film The Butterfly Effect? The theme of that entire film is about how Ashton Kutcher tries to go back in time and mend things, but no matter what he does, it can't be perfect.
The San Francisco 49ers made a huge mistake at the time, which they wish they could go back and fix. I was debating with other NFL Draft analysts and friends, and I was adamant that Jacksonville would not draft Crabtree at No. 8 overall.
For one reason, they have had several receiver busts recently (Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Marcedes Lewis). The other reason was how Derrick Harvey's holdout really affected him in his rookie season, and they just didn't want to deal with another holdout.
My own theory was Crabtree was going to demand money more than his allotted pick, and this happened.
It doesn't look like Crabtree's going to sign with the 49ers. These things can change and he could, but he hasn't signed yet.
I had way too much homework this last week to update my 2010 NFL Mock Draft, but I had put the picks up on a spreadsheet, and in it I had Michael Crabtree falling to the second round, which I believe is his most probable destination.
Maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but maybe I am not. Nobody can tell the future, but at this moment Crabtree does not have an NFL contract and he seems pretty full of himself not to sign with the 49ers.
His friend Deion Sanders went on NFL Network and is flat out convinced Michael Crabtree will make more money in the 2010 NFL Draft than he will with the San Francisco 49ers.
This is delusional thinking and I can pretty much tell you it is a near-lock (since I don't know exactly what will happen, but I have a very strong opinion backed up on clear-cut logic) that Crabtree will not be drafted higher, or probably even close to where he was in the 2009 NFL Draft. Here are my reasons:
1. NFL Teams will not want to deal with Crabtree. Why in the heck would they? He is a complete nightmare. You don't think the San Francisco 49ers are telling other teams to stay away; not because it benefits them, but to help out other teams? Other teams aren't going to believe the 49ers if they said, "No he will sign with you; we just offered him an adequate contract for the No. 10 pick and he declined. It is our fault." The 49ers will be honest, and front offices will take their word for it.
Crabtree has already shown he thinks he is better than what he really is. I am not saying confidence is bad, but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Crabtree thinks he is the football god's gift to NFL teams. We see this with how delusional his behavior is.
If Crabtree holds out on No. 10 money, then he will also likely hold out on No. 15 money. "I should have been a top-five pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. I want top-five money." This is the same logic and the same argument Crabtree will make next time around.
NFL teams will not want to go through what he put the San Francisco 49ers through. They don't want this and they will in all likelihood just draft someone else who is willing to sign and has a little more humility.
2. Crabtree's draft stock will be based solely on his workouts. Most of the time, I am anti-measurements being the sole basis to determine a player's value because watching football games to evaluate talent and intangibles is a better indicator of future success. However, when you don't play football for an entire year, teams are going to want to see how good you are in person, and this is their only opportunity. Crabtree's 2008 season will be long gone in the minds of NFL teams, and it is human nature that you would simply forget about it.
Crabtree will probably not blow anyone away at a workout. He will probably run between a 4.5 and 4.6 40 time. This will leave a bad taste in teams' mouths, and Crabtree will fall further than he can even imagine because they don't want to draft a slow receiver with a bad attitude.
Where have we heard this before?
3. The Mike Williams precedence. Wow, does this not sound familiar? He was a receiver with a reportedly bad, lazy attitude who sat football out for a year and then was a colossal bust in the NFL. I think there will be some teams that truly see the similarities and just opt to say, "We'll take a pass. This is too risky. We can learn from the Lions' past mistake."
I just don't see the great Mel Kiper (he truly is great, no sarcasm) Michael Crabtree will be a Hall of Famer at the 2010 Draft. Mel learned his lesson the last time around, and I think NFL teams will too.
4. Crabtree has a terrible attitude. Aside from trying to work out a contract (No. 1), Crabtree's arrogance is just something I believe a lot of coaching staffs and future lockers rooms will not want to deal with. Crabtree probably won't take well to coaching (see Marshall, Brandon). He might be lazy (see Williams, Mike) and not feel like he has to work hard in the offseason to be great because he already thinks he is great.
Crabtree Stock Verdict: I am never perfect and I don't claim to be, but I do have strong opinions and I always try to back them up logically.
I think Crabtree is far more likely to be a second-round pick than he is a first-round pick. I think teams see their first-round picks as "We can't miss here. There is too much at stake." They don't want to deal with what the 49ers have gone through.
My draft range projection would have to be late first to the second round. I think he is too talented to fall past the second, but too much of a head case to be a top-half first-round pick.
I will be the first to say I have been wrong before, but haven't we all? Nobody is perfect, but I'm just not sold that Crabtree is going to even whiff at where he thinks he will go, and I can absolutely back that up.
My message to Crabtree: You aren't better than the game of football. Yeah, Darrius Heyward-Bey is a worse receiver than you are, but you could say the same thing about hundreds and hundreds of players in NFL Draft history who were picked lower than they should have been. It happens. It is a part of the process that you agreed to enter into. You aren't a special case.
Take a lesson from your "mentor" Deion Sanders. He took less money than Tony Mandarich. Who made more money in the NFL in the long run?
The 49ers are offering you what you deserve as a part of the process, No. 10 money, and I don't think you deserve a dime more or a dime less.
Take it and get your butt on the field. If you want to enter the 2010 NFL Draft, I am going to have a fun time laughing on Draft Day at how far you fall.