49ers Blog and Q&A

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

April 20, 2009
Baldinger: Niners need playmakers

Brian Baldinger doesn't think the 49ers will take a quarterback in the draft and, in his opinion, he doesn't think they need a right tackle. Instead, Baldinger said today on NFL Network that he sees a playmaker on defense or offense as the top needs for the 49ers.

"I think they need a certifiable playmaker on offense, probably a wide receiver. They thought they would get that with Vernon Davis - he hasn't really been that kind of a guy. They've got a lot of names at wide receiver but no one who really jumps out where you say, 'Wow, that guy can run the wildcat. That guy could return punts. That guy can be a game breaker at wide receiver.'

"I think they need a wide receiver, and I also think they need a playmaker on defense, an outside pass rusher. Manny Lawson has not been that guy. They thought he would be. He's had injury problems. He's not a great knee bender, he's kind of stiff. They've got Parys Haralson now ... Haralson from Tennessee came on in the second half of the season. Mike Singletary kind of turned him loose. But I think they need a playmaker, a reall pass rusher right now on defense."

Why should anyone care what Baldinger says? For one thing, he was the only tv personality who, at this time last year, predicted that J.T. O'Sullivan would win the 49ers' starting quarterback job. That was such a ludicrous prediction in the spring of 2008 (I mean, no one was writing about O'Sullivan at that time) that he deserves credit for being right. The second reason is that Baldinger, to the chagrin of every beatwriter who covers the team, has been given exclusive access to the 49ers' draft room this weekend. Does Baldy have inside information? We shall find out ...

As for a playmaker on offense, I've been writing the same thing since December. However, the guy I pegged for the 49ers back then, Florida wideout Percy Harvin, is slipping on draft boards due to reported off-the-field issues. Last year, the guy I liked for the 49ers (my draft crush), Carl Nicks, also slid because off-the-field concerns. Wow. Does Barrows know how to pick 'em, or what?

-- 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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