49ers Blog and Q&A

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

April 13, 2010
Draft: Haden an ideal 49ers cornerback but ...

Yesterday, I looked at Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis, the draft pick I feel is most likely to wind up in a 49ers uniform this year. A close second in my opinion is this next guy ...

Florida cornerback Joe Haden
Height: 5-11
Weight: 193 pounds

Haden is a very interesting case study for the 49ers because he appears to be everything the 49ers have historically looked for in a cornerback. He's physical and feisty. He's good at press coverage. He tackles well, and he played in the nation's toughest division, the SEC. Haden also is athletic and has good speed as shown by his 4.41 40 at his pro day. Perhaps his biggest issue is that he is a bit stiff in the hips, which always hinders a cornerback when he is facing a quick, shifty receiver.

Haden is the best cornerback in the draft, and there's probably a 50-50 chance that he falls to the 49ers at pick no. 13. My sense is that the 49ers would draft him if he were there, but I'd feel more confident about that prediction if Scot McCloughan were still the general manager. That's the elephant in the room this year. No one truly knows how closely Trent Baalke will mirror McCloughan's tendencies and how much he'll go off on his own.

Another thing to consider is Nate Clements. As I've written countless times before, Clements' base salary jumps to $6 million this year and only gets bigger in coming years. The adjectives I used to describe Haden above also apply to Clements. That is, they are very similar players, and you can make the argument that they don't complement each other. With that in mind, if the 49ers were to take Haden at pick No. 13, you'd have to wonder how much longer they'd hold onto Clements.

Hedge: Haden is gone by pick 13, perhaps to Jacksonville, which needs to put fannies in seats, at no. 10.

The 49ers hosted Ole Miss offensive lineman John Jerry on Sunday and Monday, according to Jerry's agent. Jerry - 6-6, 328 pounds - is intriguing because he is considered the second-best guard in the draft behind Idaho's Mike Iupati but also played tackle in college. Jerry was impressive at guard during Senior Bowl practices in January, and he also looked good when he bounced out to right tackle. He might be an option for the 49ers in the second round, especially if they don't draft a tackle in the first. My sense is the 49ers want a real mauler on the right side. Jerry is just that.

-- Matt Barrows

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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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