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Draft 2007 Day 2 Wrapup - By Bryan Hersh April 28/29 2007

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The 49ers had a very strong first day of the draft, and wanted to secure an equally impressive second day of the draft. A big component of that second day was finalizing a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to secure receiver Darrell Jackson. Jackson passed the 49ers physical on Saturday, and spent the night in Santa Clara as the details were finalized on the trade. The 49ers ended up trading their 124th overall pick, which they acquired from the Jets last season in exchange for running back Kevan Barlow.

Jackson is a talented receiver that runs extremely good routes. If he can manage to stay healthy he should win a starting spot on the team. He never fit well in Seattle as there was ongoing conflict over his contract and over his confidence in the teams medical staff. He is excited to be a part of the 49ers and looking forward to facing the Seahawks twice each season.

The 49ers now have a gluttony of players at the receiver position. In addition to Arnaz Battle, the team signed Ashley Lelie in the offseason and drafted Jason Hill on the first day of the draft. The team also drafted Brandon Williams last year in the third round and has Bryan Gilmore, Taylor Jacobs and CJ Brewer. Between these men and Vernon Davis the 49ers should now have the big play threats they need for the passing attack.

Also on day two, the 49ers drafted DE Jay More, FS Dashon Goldson, DT Joe Cohen, CB Tarell Brown, and RB and Thomas Clayton. With the exception of the final two picks the 49ers targeted very high character guys. The team did take a little more risk with their final two picks but there is also some potential for at least Brown to really emerge as a key player on the team.

The 49ers have made a strong effort to revamp their front seven this offseason. Ray McDonald drafted at the end of day one will compete for a spot at defensive end, Jay Moore, drafted to open day two, will compete at the outside linebacker position, Jon and Cohen will get his shot at nose tackle. The 49ers hope that these players combined with Aubrayo Franklin, Tully Banta-Cain, Cory Bockwoldt, and Patrick Willis – the 49ers first round draft pick will allow the team to fully utilize the 3-4 defense and develop a pass rush that has been dismal the past few seasons.

Jay Moore has the ability to play outside linebacker in the 3-4. He is a consistent player with a strong up field pass rush. Taken in the fourth round, the 49ers believe they got very good value for this pick. His speed and versatility will complement the 49ers linebackers quite well, and allow for some creativity on defense.

Dashon Goldson fills a need for the 49ers at free safety. Although he played cornerback in his final year of college, his lack of top end speed makes him better suited for the free safety position. Currently Mark Roman occupies the starting free safety spot. The 49ers signed Michael Lewis, and re-signed Keith Lewis this offseason to play strong safety. The 49ers do rotate their safeties quite a bit though, and that should help get Goldson on the field.

Joe Cohen should see plenty of action this season as the 49ers rotate their nose tackles. Cohen will be groomed behind Aubrayo Franklin but will have to beat out Isaac Sopoaga. He’s a big man that plays with lots of leverage but is still quite raw in many areas of his game. Cohen will serve mainly as a space eater in his first year, but has the ability to develop into a real force and anchor for the teams defense.

Tarrell Brown was the first “non character guy” the 49ers selected. Brown had a run in with the law earlier this Spring involving a marijuana and weapons charge. There is quite a bit of spin as to the level of his involvement. If Brown can right his ways, he can be a top tier cornerback in the league. He has good speed, size, body control, agility and plays the ball well. Really, he is top round talent that fell due to his character issues. The 49ers are set at their starting cornerback positions, but you can never have two many corners, and Brown could be the ticket to getting more consistent play out of Shawntae Spencer. His understanding of the game is also a real asset.

The selection of Thomas Clayton is significantly more risky. The character red flags are greater, and he does not have the same type of success in his past as Brown does to suggest a strong upside. Clayton has all the physical tools, but his head is a mess off the field, and on. He often gets lost in a game, and does not respect his coaches. He will certainly have to earn his stripes on special teams if he has any wish of making the 49ers roster. This selection may have made a little more sense in the seventh round, but I believe that the 49ers could have extracted more talent in the sixth then this.

It has been a very successful weekend for the 49ers who have continued to build on the momentum they established earlier this offseason The team now has most if not all of the puzzle pieces in place to be a serious contender this season and into the future. With mini camp around the corner, the team will need to see each of their draftees really start to step it up and adjust to the NFL. At this point it is unclear as to how may of them will win a starting position on this year’s roster, but most will certainly improve the overall talent of the roster, especially when combined with the free agent additions. This means that many of these players are part of the future not just drafted to fill immediate needs, and this could pay dividends into future seasons. The immediate impact of this draft class may not be quite as significant as the past few years, but that is a sign of an improving club, and should also make these players better in the long run.

 
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