Mike Nolan's deserved firing came as somewhat of a surprise before a Week 8 divisional matchup against
Seattle. He certainly made several bone-headed moves in the draft including selecting triple-option
quarterback Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers, a tight end at No. 6 overall, and numerous misses including
David Baas, Manny Lawson (thus far), and Joe Staley, who has not lived up to his potential thus far at left
Poor drafting will set your team back years, but with a few good drafts, and I think the 49ers will
be on the right track. Mike Singletary brings the leadership this team lacks and has the intangibles
of an elite head coach, but could he be the next Herm Edwards who fails because he lacks X's-and-O's
knowledge? I like Singletary, but he must turn the corner for the Niners and dominate in the NFL Draft.
Keep this in mind for the 49ers draft. Mike Singletary in his inaugural press conference said this
very telling quote about what I think his draft strategy will be, "It is more about them than it
is about the team. Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them. Can't do
it. I want winners. I want people that want to win."
Singletary will be looking for lights-out intangible prospects who play with a lot of effort and
leadership, and won't be a headache off the field. We saw him send Vernon Davis for an early shower
in his first game. He is a no-nonsense type of coach, and these coaches generally succeed in the NFL.
Who can we rule out? Andre Smith isn't even in the picture. He has awful intangibles and
Singletary will see the immaturity and lack of work ethic. Vontae Davis is said to be extremely
cocky with a bad work ethic and he was benched early in the season. He will not be very likely to be
on the 49ers' radar either.
Let's get to the San Francisco 49ers' draft range at No. 10 overall:
Pass Rushing 3-4 OLB: Brian Orakpo will be off the board by this pick, so this means at
the top of this list will probably be FSU's Everette Brown. As a pass rusher, he is a
finisher and leads by example. The same can be said for Aaron Maybin. A sleeper to watch
out for at this pick is Larry English from Northern Illinois because of his elite intangibles,
motor, and great work ethic, which will impress Singletary.
Michael Oher: Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith will both be very likely to be off the board at
this pick. The next left tackle in line will be Michael Oher, who in my mind has shaky intangibles.
On the one hand, he is an extremely competitive player. He hasn't missed a game in three years and
plays through pain. He actually showed up in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and did not wuss out like
Monroe or Jason Smith. However, some say he has intelligence issues in picking up technique and schemes.
I think there is something to be said for not getting any education until you are a junior in
high school, but Oher could overcome this. I would want him on my football team and he is one
of the favorites at No. 10 if the 49ers choose to not go with...
Mark Sanchez/Josh Freeman: Quarterback should be high on the 49ers' list. I doubt Shaun Hill
is the long-term answer and no one is counting on Alex Smith to do anything. Mark Sanchez is a great
leader and a film room rat, which Singletary should love. Do not look past Josh Freeman of Kansas
State, though he doesn't have the intangibles Sanchez does. He does not seem to be much of a leader
when I watch him in games, but maybe I am being hard on him. I have been saying for a while to not
discount that Freeman could very well be the second quarterback off the draft board.
The 49ers have several needs to address since they did next to nothing in free agency.
Cornerback is a huge need. Walt Harris will be 35-years old this season and must be upgraded. There
is not much depth behind Harris and Nate Clements. Alphonso Smith, Coye Francies and D.J. Moore are
all options in the second round. Keep an eye on Oregon's Jairus Byrd. Singletary might notice his
bloodlines as his father, Gill Byrd, was a Pro Bowl corner for the Chargers. In the mid rounds, I
like Asher Allen, Kevin Barnes, Keenan Lewis and Mike Mickens for this defense.
The 49ers want to replace Mark Roman at free safety, and I have just the player. Mike Singletary
will fall in love with Alabama's Rashad Johnson. He is a ballhawk with quick hips and amazing
ball skills. He is an excellent leader and an extremely intelligent player who rarely takes bad
angles or gets fooled in his coverage. Watch for San Fran to possibly move up a little bit in the
second round to grab him. Sean Smith and Louis Delmas are also excellent second-round possibilities.
I like Darcel McBath potentially in the third round and Marcus McClinton in the late rounds.
I think the 49ers will like to make an upgrade at left guard, and Duke Robinson is an excellent
option in the second or third rounds. They could also look at Kraig Urbik, Andy Levitre and Corneilus
Lewis in the fourth or fifth rounds for this offensive line.
If Singletary does not take Maybin, Brown, or English at No. 10, Connor Barwin will
definitely be on his radar. He recently made the switch to defensive end last season and had a breakout
senior year with 16 stuffs (TFL) and 11 sacks. He is said to have a great work ethic and elite
I think to an extent we can all agree none of us foresee the 49ers making the playoffs, but I honestly
do not necessarily think this is what this fan base wants. I truly believe 49ers fans have realistic
expectations and they just want to see this ship on the right track. They want to see a competitive
football team that plays with a lot effort and does not back down on Sundays. If this team puts out
a great draft class and is somewhat competitive in 2009, then they could be a serious playoff contender
Again, it all starts on Draft Day. Nolan's poor draft picks set this franchise back years.
Can Singletary right the ship?