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It Sure Is Getting Smoky Out Here
April 18 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
It is quite easy to tell when the NFL Draft is approaching. All one has to do is listen to the 49ers organization's comments. The smoke screen is up. Over the past few days, between General Manager, Terry Donahue and Coach, Steve Mariucci, every position on the 49ers roster has been mentioned as an area of need for the draft. It's the perfect smoke screen, as the 49ers do everything possible not to foreshadow their draft moves.

Most recently, Donahue has addressed the following areas of need, cornerback, defensive tackle, safety, offensive tackle, center, tight end, quarterback and receiver. Couple that with the past announcements of the team looking for defensive ends, linebackers, running backs, and kickers. Essentially the 49ers have referred to every position on the roster as a need area. Slick, isn't?

"One (priority) is a left tackle," Donahue said. "Can you get your hands on a left tackle? Another would be our nickel defense. We could use some backups at center, at tight end, definitely a linebacker, maybe two. I think we have to look at the quarterback position and ask ourselves, Are we solid there for the future? And we've got to look at the wide receiver position."

The team also expressed a desire to trade up, or down, and that it is considering staying put at the 27th position. It seems to be a Bill Walsh tradition to misdirect other teams as much as possible in the draft, and apparently, the "Genius" had no problem passing on the trade secret to his understudy. Of course, there is no reason not to, when the rest of the league already has copied such practices. The 49ers however, usually seem a cut above the rest however, when it comes to passing miss-information.

Last off-season, the smoke screen allowed the 49ers to trade up and grab Andre Carter. The move was regarded as a surprise as the team "leap frogged" into a position that would render the competition for Carter immobile. Two seasons ago similar tactics were used to land two first round picks, Julian Peterson and Ahmed Plummer. All in all, the smoke screen, more than anything, is the only consistent part of the 49ers draft strategy from year to year. I guess we'll have to wait until draft day to figure out what the 49ers will do... and I guess we shouldn't be surprised about that.

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