49ers Blog and Q&A

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

February 13, 2008
With their first pick, the 49ers select ...

NFL evaluators usually have a pretty good idea if a draft is going to be a strong one or a weak one when the juniors declare themselves eligible in January. But they really don’t know for sure until they start composing their draft boards and assigning grades – first round, second round, third round, etc. – to each of the players. The 49ers have just about completed that task and have been pleasantly surprised with what they’ve found.

As of now, the team has assigned first-round grades to 16 or 17 players and has not yet evaluated three position groups, including wide receiver. Last year, the 49ers gave first-round grades to 20 players and were able to snag two of them – Patrick Willis and Joe Staley. They likely will end up with at least 20 this April and the thinking is that a handful will still be on the board for the 49ers’ selection at pick No. 29 and perhaps there will even be one or two left for their second-round selection at pick No. 39.

By the end of this week, the team’s draft board will be fairly concrete. The medical evaluations at the scouting combine – Feb. 20-26 – will trigger some reshuffling while the combine drills and pro day workouts will have a smaller impact. My irresponsible, shot-in-the-dark, way-too-premature prediction for whom the 49ers will pick in the first two rounds:

First: OT Carl Nicks, Nebraska
Second: DT Trevor Laws, Notre Dame. (Ha! The first voice you hear in the Laws interview is mine).

If I’m right, I will award myself a coveted Bee T-shirt, enlarge and laminate this entry and hang it (dated, of course) in my cubicle at work. If I’m wrong, I will simply delete this post and deny it ever happened.

-- 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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