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

February 1, 2010
Niners draft pool starting to take shape

Draft boards are like amoebas - they're constantly changing shape. But following the Senior Bowl, there appears to be 10 or so players who A.) would be available to the 49ers in the middle of the first round and B.) the 49ers might consider. Here is the first half of the list in alphabetical order. I'll file the second half later this week ...

Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa. 6-5, 315
Why he'd fit: Mike Singletary desperately wants to beef up his offensive line, which wasn't able to deliver his vision for offense in 2009. Bulaga is big, agile and improved markedly as he recovered from a thyroid issue this past season. Like Joe Staley, he'd be able to player either left or right tackle.
Why he wouldn't: Bulaga is quickly becoming a favorite in scouting circles and he might not be around at pick 13. His thyroid issue will be something teams will have to be reassured about at the combine later this month.

Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers. 6-6, 325
Why he'd fit: Again, the 49ers want someone to play right tackle this season and it's hard to see them leaving the first round without one. Davis appears to have more of the prototypical size than Bulaga to be the mauling right tackle Singletary would prefer. Davis is a junior but he's been starting on the Rutgers offensive line since he was a freshman.
Why he wouldn't: Davis struggled with his weight while at Rutgers and it will be interesting to see where he measures in in Indianapolis. He also has a reputation as an underachiever, an area where coach/mentor/father figure Ray Brown could be an excellent asset.

Brandon Graham, DE, Mich. 6-1, 263
Why he'd fit: Graham obviously would be asked to play outside linebacker for the 49ers. The 49ers have been very picky about OLBs in previous drafts, but Graham seems to satisfy most of their requirements. He's tough against the run, quick off the ball, he played at a big school, was very productive in college and is a senior. He was unblockable during the week at the Senior Bowl and carried that momentum into the game. His week was similar to that of Tennessee's Robert Ayers last year. Ayers was drafted at No. 18 by the Broncos.
Why he wouldn't: He doesn't have the height the 49ers want at the position and he has little experience dropping into coverage. With Haralson, Brooks and Lawson already playing outside linebacker, the 49ers might decide their bigger needs are elsewhere.

Mike Iupati, G, Idaho. 6-5, 325.
Why he'd fit: Iupati is the best player at his position and appears to have the tools to move to tackle if need be. Pairing him with Chilo Rachal potentially would give the 49ers one of the best interior offensive lines in the league. Both players are young, can run and can hit moving targets - a real asset for a team that loves to run inside.
Why he wouldn't: Iuapti showed Saturday that he is still very raw. He doesn't use his hands well yet and had real trouble with a quick opponent in Georgia's Geno Atkins. GM Scot McCloughan already is skeptical about over-valuing guards, and Ipuati's shaky performance Saturday may have scared McCloughan off.

Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas. 6-4, 255.
Why he'd fit: Kindle doesn't have much buzz right now because he didn't take part in any of the post-season all-star games. That promises to change, however, at the scouting combine when Kindle can show off his speed and athleticism. Unlike Graham, Kindle has the classic size for an outside linebacker and he is one of the most physically impressive players in the draft. He also plays very well in space and can make plays all over the field.
Why he wouldn't: The 49ers value grit over athleticism. Kindle seems to have a lot of the same attributes that Florida State's Everette Brown and Penn State's Aaron Maybin had last year (although he's bigger), and the 49ers didn't think much of those players in the draft.

More prospective 49ers to come ...

-- 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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