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Recent Draft History: San Francisco 49ers

 2008 Draft:

1 (29) Kentwan Balmer, DT  Backup
Not exactly a hot start for the rookie, collecting almost as many kick returns as he had tackles, all on special teams.  With the anticipated switch to a 3-4 the Niners are just hoping he has the ability to move over to DE.  It will probably be a suitable move that gets him on the field, as he has the length and ability to take on blockers and force double teams.
2 (39) Chilo Rachal, OG  STARTER
With  the advent of new Head Coach Mike Singletary, Rachal went from benchwarmer to starter.  He appears to have the starting guard spot locked down, and shows the athleticism to be moved out on the edge if needed, should the Niners find themselves in a good position to target Guards in the draft.
3 (75) Reggie Smith, CB  Backup
The latest addition of the highly targeted CB spot for the niners.  Smith saw action on special teams, but where it gets interesting for him is his experience as a SS.  While he doesn't quite have the range to drop all the way back as a FS, he certainly has the versatility to give the Niners optional looks and packages in their secondary.  No doubt he will be around for awhile, as an intriguing set of possibilities.
4 (107) Cody Wallace, C  Backup
Wallace will get some time to develop on the bench, as C Eric Heitmann recieved a contract extension to go along with arguably his best year as the Niner's center.  Wallace is solid depth, and should be ready to step in if there wre to be interior line injuries.
6 (171) Josh Morgan, WR  Backup
Morgan should get an opportunity to compete for first team reps, after a rookie season that started out with a lot of promise during the pre-season, but hit the brakes after a staph infection and then a groin injury sidelined him.  He has good size/strength, and could be a playmaker if he can build up some solid connections with whomever ends up QBing the niners.
7 (214) Larry Grant, OLB  Backup/Rams
Was poached early from San Francisco's practice squad, and now serves as an inexperiencd strongside backup for the Rams.

 2007 Draft:

1 (11) Patrick Willis, LB  STARTER
A solid all around LBer who led the league in tackles as a rookie, and who made strides in an already impressive game in his second year by becoming even more effective pass defender.
1 (28) Joe Staley, OT  STARTER
He came at the cost of a future #1 starter, but the move so far looks solid, as Staley was exemplary in starting duties as a RT rookie.  After a sophmore move to LT he struggled, giving up a number of sacks as he adjusted to the cream of the crop when it comes to defensive pass rushers.  But after settling in in the latter half of the season, all signs point toward this young T being with the organization for a while.
3 (76) Jason Hill, WR  Backup
This could be the key season for Hill, who could either line up a starting spot for himself, or drift back into the ranks of obscurity and eventual dismissal.  After underachieving through an injury pagued rookie season, he was off to a less than stellar start in 08.  But with injuries to the starting WR and the coaching transition midway through the season, Hill managed to step up and start putting some production with his measurables.  Expect a great WR battle in training camp as Hill looks to solidify his spot on the roster.
3 (97) Ray McDonald, DE  STARTER
A solid player developing nicely, he suffers from his lack of instincts, as seen by the number of penalties he draws.  He is a starter for now, but the 49ers will actively look to get some more competition at the position.
4 (104) Jay Moore, OLB  Backup
A solid player who has been plagued by injuries for the Niners.  Last year the injury occurred in the pre-season, losing him an entire season's worht of practice time and development.  This is likely his last chance to make an impact,a nd if he can't stay healthy and produce, he may be cut at the first opportunity.
4 (126) Dashon Goldson, S  Backup
After limited use in his rookie campaign, he caught the coaches' eyes leading up to and during the 2008 season, but nothing ever came of it.  In danger of becoming a "Workout wonder" Goldson needs to focus on his game and work to get himself moved into the starting lineup, and there was never a time as good as now, with limited options on the roster, in free agency or the draft.  Word out of the 49ers camp is that they are willing to give him the first crack at the job...
4 (135) Joe Cohen, NT  Backup/Miami
After an ACL injury sent him to IR in the preseason, he was subsequently waived and picked up by the Dolphins, where he will be in competition for the starter/backup position vacated by Vonnie Holliday.
5 (147) Tarell Brown, CB  Backup
After a lackluster rookie campaign followed by off-field trouble, Brown stepped in after injuries sidelined the #2 corner, and didn't play terribly in his duties covering the slot.  He will likely be given an opportunity to take the starting job in training camp, but the more likely scenario is settling in as the #3 corner.
6 (186) Thomas Clayton, RB  Backup
After spending much of his career ont he practic squad, he was activated to hedge against Frank Gore's injuries, but no starting or even playing time ever really materialized for him.  Solid depth, but an unknown quantity that may just need an opportunity to step up.

 2006 Draft

1 (6) Vernon Davis, TE  STARTER
Though this pickup will long be contested, there is legitimate worries as to his long term viability as a pass catcher.  With clay hands and the inability to catch away from his body, Davis may be best suited to an H-bak role, where he is given the ball in space and asked to produce, as he has the physical tools to dominate after the catch.  One area that is worht every dime, however, is his runblocking.
1 (22) Manny Lawson, LB  STARTER
After a solid rookie campaign that included a rookie fo the week honor, he lost most of his 2007 development to an ACL tear in practice, and went to IR immediately.  His return in 2008 saw a somewhat less explosive and quick player, no doubt due to the injury.  As a key component of the run stopping game and TE coverage, Lawson has his spot locked up, but he needs a full, consistent year in order to look towards his future again.
3 (84) Brandon Williams, WR/KR  Backup/Steelers
In duty primarily as a KR, Williams didn't impress.  After average production in 13 starts he was waived and claimed by St. Louis, who would also get some spot return duty out of him, but they too would choose to waive him.  Now with Pittsburgh, he may be looking at his alst chance to hang on with an NFL team.
4 (100) Michael Robinson, RB  Backup
After a nice rookie campaign that saw Robinson move up to the #2 position behind Frank Gore he inexplicably fell out of favor, and his touches, and thus his production, fell steadily.  After taking over the FB role due to injury, he sits in an uncomfortable position:  his style of FB play does not mesh well with the heavy bruiser style that Singletary seems to envision for his new offense.  Though Robinson signed an extension, he will likely be passed up on the depth chart over the next few years by more suitable FBs, until it makes sense to just let Robinson go.
5 (140) Parys Haralson, DE  STARTER
Possibly a draft-day steal, Haralson has developed well and is becoming a premiere producer for the Niners defensive line.  A lackluster rookie campaign, floowed by some flashes and signs of promise in his sophmore campaign came full circle with 8 sacks in 2008.  All teams wish their defensive talent could develop this consistently.
6 (175) Delanie Walker, TE  Backup
Though he has serious upside, this has been true for the last three years.  At a certain point he will be asked to produce.  But with no red flags in his game, it is likely that the 49ers will look to keep him around as long as possible, or at least until a viable alternative falls in their laps.
6 (192) Marcus Hudson, CB  Backup
To many games as an inactive, and a handful of games missed due to injury certainly don't speak well for this player going into his fourth year.  When his contract is up, there will be little upside to keeping him on the roster.
6 (197) Melvin Oliver, DE  Out of NFL
After a very promising and productive rookie season, where he started in 14 games, a preseason ACL in jury sent him to PUP and then IR for his 2007 campaign.  He was waived by the 49ers.
7 (254) Vickiel Vaughn, S  Out of NFL
After breaking his finger in preseason, he spent the year on IR, only to be cut for the following season.  After a short stint on the Broncos practice squad he was again cut and is now an unsigned free agent.