49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

February 3, 2010
Draft-worthy, but not for the Niners

Over the last two days, I listed the 10 college players I thought would be right in the meaty part of the 49ers' strike zone when they are on the clock - twice - in the middle part of the first round. Today: the potential mid first rounders I don't think the 49ers would nab.

Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama. 6-4, 370 pounds.
He can be dominant at times and would be a big barrier between offensive players and Patrick Willis. But with Cody, you have to look at the cost-benefit ratio. How many snaps can you get from a guy who weighs 370 pounds? That question likely will push Cody to the bottom of the first round where a playoff team like the Chargers or Patriots will pounce.

Joe Haden, CB, Florida. 5-11, 190 pounds.
Haden is fast, aggressive and played at a big-time program. He also would fill a need for the 49ers. No one thought that Michael Crabtree would fall to the 49ers last year, so you can argue there's always a chance he (or anyone) will be there at 13. Right now, however, the consensus is that Haden will go higher (LSU's Brandon LaFell might have a different opinion. See below). The same goes for Tennessee safety Eric Berry, Florida DE Carlos Dunlap and a host of others.

Taylor Mays, S, USC. 6-3, 231.
Mays is a big, fast and likes to hit. But that doesn't make him a consistently good tackler. In fact, he glanced off two ball carriers in Sunday's Senior Bowl while trying to deliver a big blow. What's more, he wasn't very good in pass coverage during the week. If the 49ers spend a first-round pick on a safety, they'll want someone who is multi-dimensional, and moreover, someone who can bolster their pass coverage. Mays certainly has some positive attributes and he might be a good eventual replacement for Michael Lewis. But it seems there are several safety prospects with similar attributes that can be found later in the draft.

Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State. 6-5, 301.
The 49ers love big-bodied, hard-working linemen like Odrick. However, they used a first-round pick on a defensive lineman, Kentwan Balmer, two years ago and have six players - Balmer, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Demetric Evans, Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois - already at the position. Odrick also isn't a pass rusher, and it's hard to see him going before the end of the first round.

Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida. 6-3, 256
Spikes is another guy the 49ers would love to have as a potential heir to cousin Takeo Spike's position. Takeo Spikes, however, is a two-down player for the 49ers and Brandon Spikes likely would be the same. The 49ers wouldn't spend a first-round pick on a linebacker who would spend as much time on the sideline as Spikes. If he's still around in the second round, however ....

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. 6-3, 236.
Some analysts have linked Tebow to the 49ers because of the perception that the 49ers need a quarterback and that coach Mike Singletary would take a strong liking to Tebow. The real question is what GM Scot McCloughan thinks of Tebow. McCloughan is a scout by nature and knows that Tebow, for all his winning qualities, has too many flaws to be a first rounder. The bigger question is whether the 49ers will draft a quarterback at all. For one, the class is considered weak. In addition, if the 49ers used even a mid-range pick on a rookie, that rookie likely would bounce Shaun Hill from the roster. That would mean the 49ers would enter the season with Alex Smith as the starter and two unproven players, Nate Davis and rookie, behind him. That's too risky for a team that has an excellent shot of winning the division this year.

-- Matt Barrows

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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