49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 14, 2007
Why didn't the 49ers pick Gaither in supplemental draft?

Question: The Niners may have depth issues next year on the O line. Why didn’t they pick (Maryland tackle) Jared Gaither in the supplemental draft? He seems to be a good player, good size, and they could have gotten him for a fifth rounder. This would have given them two young, up-and-coming tackles. Please shed some light on this for me.
--Scott, Elk Grove

Answer: It puzzles me, too. Last year, I really thought the 49ers would take a shot at Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks in the supplemental draft (and not just because I went to UVA). Scot McCloughan, after all, said the guy had first-round talent and there was a definite need at linebacker considering the 49ers -- at the time at least -- were planning to play a 3-4 defense in 2006. Gaither seems like the same type of player – someone who, if he had stayed another season at Maryland, had enough talent to be a first-day selection. So why not take him, as you suggested, with a fifth-round pick? It seems like a worthwhile gamble.
The answer may be that NFL teams are the ultimate control freaks. Before drafting a player, they’ll watch tons of film, interview coaches, family members, acquaintances and speak to the player himself. You don’t have that luxury in the supplemental draft. Gaither only declared himself for it a week or so in advance. The 49ers simply didn’t know what they would be getting if they selected him. The bottom line is that they felt they could get someone better with the pick they would have had to forfeit in order to pick up Gaither. It’s worth noting that if the 49ers had, in fact, taken Brooks last season, they would have given up the third rounder they used to take WR Jason Hill this year. Who knows whom they’ll select in the fifth-round next year.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Matt, you're an excellent resource and I really enjoy your insight. From what I saw last year it looks to me that Delanie Walker has the potential to be something special (and from what I’ve read earlier, Vernon Davis is shaping up to have a great season). Have the Niners entertained any thoughts of getting them BOTH on the field at the same time? They almost seem like bookends to me and with their strength, speed and size, they would create headaches to any defense. Thanks.
-- Chris, Elk Grove

Answer: Well, I think Delanie Walker would love to be Vernon Davis’ mirror, but he’s not quite there. Walker has excellent hands, some of the best on the team, in fact. But Davis is one of the fastest players in the league at any position and also is extremely powerful, which makes him an effective blocker. Walker needs to work on his blocking and route running before he sees significant playing time. When he does, however, it will be a match-up nightmare for opposing linebackers.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: I was just wondering if you can give me an update on these players and where they stand on the team as of now. Roderick Green, Donald Strickland, Hannibal Navies, and Damane Duckett.
-- Cesar, Sacramento.

Answer: With youngsters Marcus Hudson and Tarell Brown in line for the back-up cornerback spots, I think Donald Strickland will have a difficult time making the final roster this year. The same goes for Navies. He’s a solid veteran, and he played with the second-team defense this spring, but it’s very crowded at outside linebacker. Green also could get edged out at outside linebacker, but his ability as a pass rusher might just earn him a spot. Duckett definitely does not make the 53-man roster but is a candidate for the practice squad.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Matt, help us out. There is a rumor someone on the Niners will announce his retirement soon - and it’s not big-boy Allen. Any scoop or idea?
Lebowski, Los Angeles.

Answer: Oooh, sounds juicy. But I’m in the dark on this one. Unless one of the veterans came down with an undisclosed injury in OTAs, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a 49er (aside from Allen) would call it quits.
-- Matt 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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