Question: In regards to the last two selections the 49ers made, I think you have to have a little faith in Mike Nolan's background knowledge of these players. It's obvious Nolan saw a lot of talent in these guys and invited them to 49er headquarters for more face-to-face evaluation to make sure he was comfortable picking them in the draft. That being said, worst-case scenario is that they if don't stay on the straight and narrow, Nolan cuts them with no hesitation because they were fifth- and sixth-round picks. It's risk and reward; I think it's a no-brainer.
- George, Folsom
Answer: Nolan also had a face-to-face meeting with Antonio Bryant in which he was assured by Bryant that he had learned his lessons and would stay out of trouble. In fact, the saga of every NFL troublemaker begins with a coach saying he and the team feel the troublemaker has learned his lesson. What bothers me is that for weeks the entire league has been telling everyone who would listen about how it was going to start cleaning up its image. I didn't see that on draft day.
- Matt Barrows
Question: I see the final two picks from the draft getting a lot of criticism from the fans and media. It doesn't make sense to me. I think it's evidence that the Niners are confident with the roster that they can take a flier risk on these two guys with the knowledge that if it doesn't work out they'll just be cut. My question is, which of the two do you think will make a greater impact and which will be cut for behavior issues?
- Mark, Sacramento
Answer: I'm not touching the second part of that question. As for the first part, I've got to say Thomas Clayton should have the biggest impact early, simply for the fact that he won't have as much competition at RB as Tarell Brown will at CB and because the jump to the pros is far easier for a RB than a CB. The 49ers like Maurice Hicks, but not to the point where they offered him any sort of long-term contract this offseason. That means they think he's expendable. Michael Robinson, meanwhile, still is learning how to play running back. Clayton, by all accounts, is brimming with potential. If he can stay healthy - and stay out of trouble - there's no reason he can't be part of the running back rotation by the start of the season.
- Matt Barrows