Heading into the draft, the 49ers never seemed that keen on DeSean Jackson. At 175 pounds, the Cal receiver was a lot smaller than what they preferred and there were some "character" concerns that dropped him on their draft boards. Still, they never conveyed that sense to Jackson, who said today he thought he might end up in a 49ers uniform.
"Yeah definitely. I took a trip there before I got drafted and I met with coach Martz and the head coach So it was definitely a good place to be and I spent my college career there. It would have been a cool place to play professional football, but it didn't happen that way, so."
What did he talk about with Martz?
"He just told me how good of a player I was. What he thought of me and how I would be in their offense, what he'd do for me. But that's the past now, so I'm living in the future."
Aside from one premature spike of the football, things have worked out pretty well for Jackson in South Philly. He leads the Eagles in both receptions (23) and receiving yards (335), and it should be noted that both of those stats would be tops on the 49ers as well. He's also averaging 13.2 yards per punt return and had a 68 yarder for a TD Sunday against Washington. Coach Andy Reid today said that Jackson has surpassed expectations and that he was impressed how many routes Jasckson knew - thanks to mentor Jerry Rice - upon arriving with the Eagles.
Jackson was selected in the second round, No. 49 (irony alert!) overall. That means that the 49ers had two chances to pick him and instead went with Kentwan Balmer and Chilo Rachal. It's far, far too early to dismiss Balmer and Rachal as bad picks, but it's not too early to say that they have gotten off to very slow starts. Balmer was playing nose tackle on one of Kevin Faulk's short touchdown runs Sunday and was moved so far to the side by a single Patriots offensive lineman that by the end of the play he wasn't in the television frame. It was as if he was on ice. Rachal, meanwhile, is the No. 4 offensive guard on the team and has yet to step on the field.
***Update*** Here's what Mike Nolan had to say about Jackson during his 10:45 presser:
"We liked the two players we took. We did like him as well though. I don't want to take anything away from him. He's a very good player. He was over here, we met with him, we spoke with him. He was pleasant, he was good. I remember it was a good experience in speaking with him. But at the time, we had a couple other players that we felt were, not necessarily a need, but the players we thought would help us. But he's a good player. I don't want to take anything away from him. He's done a good job. He's the explosive player he thought he would be."
***update**** For the 49ers, Shawntae Spencer is the only player out. There is a chance that Jonas Jennings and Manny Lawson could be ready on Sunday but neither is practicing. Michael Lewis (elbow) also is not practcing while Walt Harris and Frank Gore are having their usual Wednesday off.
-- Matt Barrows