49ers Blog and Q&A

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

April 22, 2010
Davis, Iupati and first-day draft thoughts

* Both Mike Singletary and Trent Baalke insisted that they targeted Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati from the outset. In fact, Baalke called it a "perfect storm" scenario. Team officials always say that at the end of the first round. (We couldn't believe he was still there!!) But I tend to believe these guys. Singletary has been pining for a big, physical offensive lineman since he became head coach. Today he got two.

* When do these guys start? Singletary was cautious in saying he didn't expect them to be starters in Week 1. Davis is only 20 years old and doesn't turn 21 until October. That makes him one of the youngest players in the draft. Singletary did say that he expects both to be starters at some point this season. Davis will play right tackle, one of three positions he's played at Rutgers. Iupati will play left guard, the position he played at Idaho.

* The 49ers were able to get Michael Crabtree a year ago when the Raiders, picking ahead of them, took Darrius Heyward-Bey instead. Oakland again was the key for the 49ers' draft this go around when they took linebacker Rolando McClain instead of Davis. Baalke said he knew the two teams picking in front of the 49ers, Denver and Miami, didn't need an offensive tackle. But there were other teams lurking - the Cowboys and Packers - that also wanted to add to their offensive line. "I wasn't concerned worried about the teams in front of us at all," Baalke said. "... I was more concerned about who else may come up and jump ahead of us because they knew what are needs were at the time." So Baalke began making phone calls, first with Jacksonville, which had pick No. 10, and then with the Broncos at pick No. 11. The 49ers and Broncos swapped first-round picks, and the 49ers also gave Denver their fourth-round selection.

* Singletary said that Davis and Iupati were two of the most physical offensive linemen in the draft. He said there was one other offensive lineman - Oklahoma's Trent Williams - they had in the same category. "Those three guys really, we felt, fit the identity of what we're trying to do here," Singletary said. Baalke said that had Davis been taken before pick 13, the 49ers "definitely" would have picked Iupati instead. If that had happened, it would have been the highest a pure guard - a college guard who would play guard on the NFL level - had been taken in the last decade.

* I asked if there was any concern that Mike Solari and Ray Brown will have to coach up not one, but two, rookies this summer. By way of answering, Singletary said that Solari spent a lot of time - three hours with Iupati - going over plays and seeing how much and how quickly he could retain the information. "So when that session was done, the question that I had for coach Solari was, 'Do you think he can do it? Do you think this man can do it?' He said, 'Yes, it's going to take a little work just like it's going to take everyone else. But I do feel very confident that he can do it.'"

* Since we hadn't spoken to Baalke since he acquired Tedd Ginn, Jr., I asked about that. He noted Ginn's return potential but also suggested he would play a lot on offense. "The one thing you can never have enough of is speed," he said. ... "He gives us a vertical threat that helps take the top off of defenses."

* Drafting Iupati probably ends the 49ers' courtship with Texans free-agent guard Chester Pitts.

* So who do the 49ers take in the second and third rounds tomorrow? Singletary suggested it would be on the defensive side, and I'm thinking cornerback, safety and linebacker - both inside and outside - could be on the docket. I'll be hosting another live chat at 11 a.m. to discuss Davis and Iupati, and to take about Day 2. You can find it on www.sacbee.com/live.

* Oh, one more thing. Someone nailed this pick two weeks ago.

-- 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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