Thursday, April 22, 2010

Raiders and 49ers NFL Draft in Review

All in all, it was good day for the Bay Area's football teams. Both the Raiders and the 49ers got who they wanted, and no doubt will be improved in the coming season.


As quickly as the Raiders had their pick in, you would have thought that Rolando McClain was the #1 player on their Draft Board. He is a nice fit for the Raiders, and all those people who figured the Raiders would waste their pick like they did with Darius Heyward-Bey (me) were mistaken this year.

McClain is a 6'4" 254 lb. linebacker from Alabama where he won the Dick Butkus Award this last season as the nation's best linebacker. The Raiders had him extremely high on their Draft Board and were sure that he was their guy no matter who was on the Board. Some may argue that McClain was drafted a little prematurley by the Raiders, but the Raiders sure felt something special for this kid. He will fit in nicely.

The Raiders will hope that McClain turns into someone like a Patrick Willis or Ray Lewis, and although all three are built similarly, McClain is taller giving him a higher advantage point. One thing on McClain is that he is smart and will run that Raider defense from the moment he gets there. You will not hear many complaints about this pick, McClain will be a solid NFL player.


49ers GM Trent Baalke said it best when he said, "Happy Birthday to Alex Smith and Frank Gore." The 49ers were hell bent on improving their offensive line, and did they ever.

They played this draft smart. OT Anthony Davis must have been their 2nd rated OT on their Draft Board and they knew that #13 was not high enough to draft him, so they traded up to #11 to ensure that they got him. It was a great move. It seemed like they wanted Davis pretty bad and were not sold on the other OT's like Brian Bulaga.

Davis has some character issues, but I'm sure Mike Singletary will fix that right up if necessary. But this was a pick of the future because Davis may not be ready to start just yet. His upside and potential is through the roof and he will prove to one day play the blind side for the 49ers, if not this coming season. With Barry Sims aging, Davis may get his turn real soon.

While Davis may be an "if," Mike Iupati (pictured) is anything but. Iupati was an excellent draft pick for the 49ers. He combines size with shear strength and will no doubt be starting for the 49ers very soon. He is NFL ready with his 6'5" 331 lb. frame, the all-around biggest guy on the 49ers. Scouts say he is versatile enough to play Tackle later in his career, but for now, he and David Baas will make a good team at the Guard position. No doubt, Iupati will be a great NFL player for years to come, and with the additions of Davis and Iupati, if all pans out, the 49ers weak offensive line could turn special in these next few years.


Overall, both teams had great picks and addressed each of their needs. The Raiders were dead set on McClain and the 49ers were dead set on Davis and Iupati.

I'm not quite sold on Davis yet, but his potential could prove me wrong. Some are going to argue that Jimmy Clausen was there at #17 for the 49ers to take and that they should have taken him there. But obviously other teams also have some concerns about Clausen too because he was not taken in the 1st round. If Clausen is there in 2nd round when its the 49ers turn, they will have a hard decision to make. Honestly, I think they should go for it. He played in the Charlie Weis system at Notre Dame and knows the NFL offense well. It would be a nice pick, actually, for both the 49ers and the Raiders, as both could use some insurance at the QB position.

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