April 19 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
As the 49ers began to build back from the depths of the NFL, the team paid particular attention to who they were drafting. Proclaiming the draft as the method to build a team, the 49ers looked for "character guys". Men like Ahmed Plummer, Jason Webster and Julian Peterson, who were not only excellent players in college, but well educated and overall decent men.
There's a certain 49ers Pride that has always existed. A classy organization that traditionally was built on classy players. The Lawrence Phillips, Deion Sanders types never really fit in to the organization. So when the 49ers set out to rebuild their team, they made sure to do it right.
Jason Webster for example, is a player who lived through tragedy at his college. After the, now well known, bon fire accident at Texas A&M, that killed 12 people before the Aggies game against Texas, it was Webster who was chosen by A&M players to speak on behalf of the team at a memorial ceremony. Actions like these, are the norm for Webster, who takes on leadership roles without being asked and who has lived through a world of pain to make it to where he is today.
Ahmed Plummer is the same type player. Plummer got married in college in 1999. He supported a family while getting his education and playing college ball. He too showed the perseverance needed for success at the NFL level.
Julian Peterson is another one of those guys. He's a fun character, and brings chemistry to the 49ers locker room. Peterson too was brought to the team, not just for his talents on the field but because of who he was off the field.
The aforementioned three are just several examples of the many character guys the 49ers have brought to the organization since the rebuilding process has begun. Others like Kevan Barlow and Jamie Winborn haven't been in the spot light yet - but given opportunity will likely prove the 49ers right for drafting them.
The odds of this years draft being any different in terms of the character of the guys the team drafts, is slim. Sure the team will take a different approach to the draft now that it has the starting squad already in place, but that different approach will not eliminate character from the equation. Character may be a deciding factor this weekend, be prepared for it.