The 49ers do not have a supremely talented roster. The club has gone six seasons without a playoff appearance. So any player the 49ers choose with the No. 10 overall has to become an immediate starter. Right?
You would think, but that is not necessarily the case.
This subject got me thinking this morning about the players who would have the best chances of coming in from Day 1 as starters – and upgrades – over what the 49ers currently have on the roster.
However, it’s also probable, if not likely, that neither of the top two candidates will be available when it’s time for the 49ers to select with the No. 10 pick: Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree and
Crabtree would become the 49ers’ most talented receiver from the moment he walks through the doors at
Raji is 20 pounds heavier than starting nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, and his presence would greatly protect inside linebacker and tackle machine Patrick Willis. Like Crabtree, as soon as Raji learns his assignments, I can’t fathom that he would not earn his way into the starting lineup.
This is not to say Crabtree and Raji are the only players the 49ers could select to become starters – just that their chances are the best. Here is a look at some of the other prospects the 49ers could select in the first round and the likelihood of their starting from Day 1:
QB: Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman – The 49ers pursued Kurt Warner and showed some interest in Jay Cutler because each would’ve leapfrogged Shaun Hill and Alex Smith to become immediate starters. If the 49ers drafted somebody in the first round, there would become a three-way competition. And I think experience would win.
RB: Chris Wells and Knowshon Moreno — They’d get playing time, but they wouldn’t unseat Frank Gore.
WR: Jeremy Maclin — He’d have a good chance, but not as good as Crabtree.
OT: Andre Smith and Michael Oher — Again, they would have strong chances because of their obvious physical gifts. But if right tackle Marvel Smith is healthy, it might be difficult for a rookie to immediately unseat a veteran who has played at a high level when he’s been healthy. Joe Staley will be in the starting lineup. If the team finds a better left tackle than Staley, both Mike Singletary and Scot McCloughan have said they’ll consider moving Staley back to the right side.
DL: Tyson Jackson and Robert Ayers — The team’s best hope of finding a starter on the D-line is at nose tackle. Both Jackson and Ayers are ends, and they’d probably initially be backups.
ILB: Rey Maualuga — The 49ers love him, but it’s doubtful he would unseat Takeo Spikes from Day 1.
OLB: Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin — If taken with the No. 10 overall pick, these converted college defensive ends would play. But it’s highly unlikely they’d be three-down players. Initially, their best hope would be as pass-rush specialists on third downs.
DB: Malcolm Jenkins – He’s a (soon-to-be) rich man’s Reggie Smith. Is he a cornerback? Is he a safety? Just don’t think he would win a starting job at corner over proven veterans, and he’d have a steep learning curve at safety.
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