Not Drafting As Well? Or Too Much Depth?
August 24 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Over the past few years, rookies drafted by the 49ers were virtually assured a spot on them team. Players like Ahmed Plummer, Jason Webster, John Keith, Andre Carter, Julian Peterson, John Engelberger, Jeff Ulbrich, Jamie Winborn, Chike Okeafor, Kevan Barlow, Paul Smith, the list is pretty much endless. This year, things are different.
While the team expects Mike Rumph, Saleem Rasheed and Brandon Doman to make the team, the rest of the draft class is not guaranteed a roster spot. So if only three or four of the teams ten draft picks make the squad (add Eric Heitmann to the list after a good off-season), does that mean that the 49ers arenít drafting as well, or does it mean itís that much harder to make the team.
Truth of the matter is, I think itís a little of both. I donít think the 49ers 2002 draft was as good as the past few seasons. I donít understand the drafting of certain players at certain positions in certain rounds. Teddy Gaines of course is a perfect example. There are so many players ahead of Gaines on the depth chart, wouldnít have made sense to go after a top kick returner instead? Take a chance on a receiver? At least at those positions the 49ers arenít overloaded. Gaines of course is not the only players where these circumstances are present.
I do believe that rookies not making this yearís team though, has more to do with the amount of talented depth the 49ers have at all positions. How can one expect a fifth or sixth round draft pick to beat out a young players who has been with the team for a few years now and really understands the play book. Truth is, you canít, and the 49ers are finally in a position where when they bring in a new player, he isnít necessarily stronger than the guy already on the team.