2007 NFL Draft Re-Visited

posted in: Football | 10

It’s always fun to look back at previous drafts and have “what if” conversations. Since I am a 49er fan, the first round of the 2007 NFL draft was a bonanza. The Niners selected Patrick Willis with pick #11 and Joe Staley with pick #28. Until Willis retired in 2015, the Niners were a powerhouse and Staley continues to play at a high level.

A great “what if” question is, what if the Houston Texans drafted Willis ahead of the Niners and he didn’t suffer the career ending toe/foot injuries? The Texans would then have Watt, Mercilus, Clowney, Cushing and Willis. That defense has been dominant w/o Willis. Think of the possibilities with him…

And, if that happened, “what if” the Niners selected Marshawn Lynch (Beast Mode)?

What I really want to focus on are the QB’s drafted in 2007:

#1 Jamarcus Russell

#22 Brady Quinn

#36 Kevin Kolb

#40 John Beck

#42 Drew Stanton

The top 5 QB’s drafted that year had 2 “can’t miss” players (Russell and Quinn). The results (or the lack of) speak for themselves. This year, there are no “can’t miss” QB’s. The point is that picking any of the top 2017 QB prospects in the first round can be very risky.

As a Niner fan, since Myles Garrett will be selected #1 by the Browns, I recommend that the Niners trade down to get an additional draft pick either this year or next. They can then pick the best available linebacker (Reuben Foster, Haason Reddick or Zack Cunningham). Then select the best available wide receiver as their top two picks. This year’s draft is filled with quality receivers. They should then fill out the linebacking core through round 4. The Niners were not able to stop anyone’s running game last year. With NaVarro Bowman coming back and paired with new hungry LB’s, we should have an improved defense.

As far as QB’s, the Niners should go with Brian Hoyer this year, then sign Kirk Cousins as a free agent next year. Additionally, if the Niners have a bunch of draft picks next year, they should go all in and try to draft Sam Darnold, the USC QB, as their future.

I feel fairly confident that the Lynch/Shanahan team will do the right things to get this team back on track.

Colin Kaepernick – A Man Without a Job and a Country

posted in: Football | 10

Within one year, Colin Kaepernick has become a man without a job and a country. Let’s first talk about his loss of job. Colin’s performance as a NFL QB has declined in his last 3 years since his rise in 2012 when Jim Harbaugh replaced Alex Smith with him due to a concussion. Alex never regained his starting job. Colin had a superb year and took the team to a Super Bowl and came up 5 yards short of a victory. He had another solid year in 2013 taking the 49ers to the NFC championship game losing to the Seahawks on an ill advised pass to Michael Crabtree who was well covered by Richard Sherman. If you review the play, on the right side of the end zone, Anquan Bouldin was WIDE OPEN for the possible winning touchdown. And, therein lies the fundamental problem with Colin’s game. He cannot survey the field and can only look at his primary receiver. If he is covered, the play most likely will fail. Although Jim Harbaugh was fired for purely political reasons, that in itself was not the main reason for Colin’s decline. Defenses figured him out and his lack of being able to survey the field was the main reason. I’ll illustrate his decline with QBR ratings on three QB’s:

2013 2014 2015 2016
Colin Kaepernick 68 67 46 55
Alex Smith 50 56 61 63
Tom Brady 65 79 75 83

 

Alex Smith had a QBR of 68 in 2012 as a 49er before he was replaced with Colin. As a Kansas City Chief, his rating dropped initially but improved every year as he became accustomed to their system. Conversely, Colin’s QBR took a drastic downturn in 2015 and he was actually benched to start the 2016 season behind Blaine Gabbert. I showed Tom Brady’s stats as a guideline on what all other QB’s goals should be.

Thus, based solely on performance and the fact that NFL coaches know that he can’t survey the field effectively, other teams are reluctant to hire him, especially as a starting QB. His salary is another issue that requires downward negotiations.

Now, I’ll discuss his political stance that he took before the 2016 season by refusing to stand for the national anthem. While I respect his stance, my belief is that he should have expressed his position about race, police targeting and brutality, and free speech in a forum outside of the game of football. Perhaps by holding press conferences with Harry Edwards, a well known race activist, who has consulted with the 49ers for decades. Sending his message in a constructive manner with the help of Dr. Edwards would have garnered support without offending Americans who have and are currently serving this country with their lives. This applies to both armed forces personnel and their families as well as the police force who enforce this country’s laws and protect our communities. By disrespecting the American flag, he has by default lost the heart of this country.

Sports is an entertainment outlet and should not be used for political messages.

A Letter to Jed York – State of the SF Forty Niners

posted in: Football | 0

In the Fall of 2016, I wrote this letter to Jed York (with no reply, of course). Since then, He has taken some positive actions by finally firing Trent Baalke and bringing in a new regime who will hopefully turn this team around. While I am cautiously optimistic, I realize that it will take years to undo the damage that York/Baalke has brought to this team…

 

The State of the 49ers…

Dear Jed,

I have been a 49er fan since I was a kid and still remember vividly the first game I ever attended at Kezar Stadium in 1966 when we beat the Green Bay Packers 21-20 in a thriller. I became glued to my transistor radio from that point forward listening to the great Lon Simmons call the games.

I finally became a season ticket holder in 1981 and had the pleasure of attending their first Super Bowl in Pontiac and again in 1984 at Stanford. The 1980’s and 1990’s were our golden treasure years under the leadership of your Uncle Eddie who brought us 5 Super Bowl trophies.

I’m sad to say that since your Uncle Eddie DeBartolo left, leadership has been lacking as well as the product on the field.

I’m sadder to say that I have lowered my expectations to the point where I simply wish that our team would be better than the Cleveland Browns. They spanked us pretty good last year.

The truth is that since your Father fired Steve Mariucci in 2003, the team has been in a downward trend. There was a fleeting 3 years of hope when you hired John Harbaugh in 2011. He was a real football man and the product showed it. Then politics became more important than football and the team has been in a steep downward spiral since with no end in sight.

I have some doubts that Chip Kelly is a real NFL caliber football man, but, he has no talent to work with due to your lack of leadership and the incompetence of your GM, Trent Baalke.

I faithfully watch the NFL draft, but in the last 5 years, I now look for when Baalke will draft a player with an ACL tear. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he drafted a highly touted wide receiver with big hands and two broken knees. At least, he will be able to make a great one-handed catch at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a 3rd and 2 situation.

Last year, I cringed when Baalke drafted a punter in the 5th round. But, after thinking about it, it was a wise move as he is now the most used player on the squad.

In terms of our QB situation, we have lost the last 2 games within 4 days to teams playing their 2nd string QB’s. I am now thinking that the other 31 teams in the NFL have QB’s on their practice squads that are better than any QB on our roster.

I know that you desperately want to be a Jedi, but somewhere along the line, you lost your “i”. And, if you had a light saber fight with Baalke, he will say to you, “I am your Father”… and you would be mesmerized.

As far as the new stadium, it is nice, but too sterile. It’s been two years now and I’m still waiting for the Ring of Honor to be proudly displayed. Could it be that all of the Honorees were produced under prior leadership and you are afraid that none will ever be added again under your reign?

When can I expect this team to become better than the Cleveland Browns again?