49ers Blog and Q&A

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

June 16, 2010
Defenders weigh in on Anthony Davis

Some of the Tweets out of OTAs have left the impression that the 49ers' top draft pick, right tackle Anthony Davis, is struggling. That's not the case. It's just that it's more newsworthy, or in this case Tweetworthy, when an outside linebacker swoops in and disrupts the quarterback. And it's even more Tweetworthy when the player the linebacker beat is the top draft pick. Newspapers don't print stories when the plane lands safely, after all.

In reality, Davis' performance has been mixed, which is exactly what you'd expect from a 20-year-old rookie who played left tackle last season. His conditioning has improved from last month but still needs work. Yes, he's allowed linebacker Martail Burnett - hardly a household name - to get past him a couple of times. But he also stonewalled Ahmad Brooks in a practice last week and did a nice job pulling and leading the way on a Glen Coffee screen today. Said Mike Singletary on the progress of Davis and fellow first rounder Mike Iupati: "It's going to be an up-and-down process. ... Right now, they're trying to learn. They're trying to learn the offense. Once we get into training camp we'll have a much better idea where they are because now you've got to play fast."

I went looking for more perspective on Davis this week and found the three guys who probably can give the best analysis. So what do you think of the rook?

Ahmad Brooks: "I mean, the first couple of days he wasn't looking all that good. But he's getting better just like everybody else. I mean, he's a rookie. Him being our no. 1 pick, that's why we're going to go after him, especially the defensive line. So he's been getting a lot of attention from the defensive line and the linebackers."

Q: Can you see why the 49ers drafted him?
AB: "He has potential to be a great player. We'll see. He just has to keep working."

Martail Burnett: "I think he's getting better. I think the hardest part for him is, like every rookie, transitioning from what you learned in college to what you have to know here. I think the hardest part for any rookie is learning the scheme. Especially against this defense. He's coming from a college scheme that's probably pretty basic. Here we're everything. We're up. We're down. You know, we're a 3-4 defense. One minute I'm a linebacker, the next minute I'm an end."

Q: Can you see why the 49ers drafted him?
MB: "Oh yeah. He moves. He's a big guy who can move. And if he latches onto you, it's pretty much over with. But I think what he brings to the table can really help us. I think he's really athletic for his size. He's really strong. And he's only going to get better."

Parys Haralson: "You know, it's hard to come in as a rookie, but I think he's getting better. He's working hard every day. I'd say he's got some things to work on, but he's got a good attitude and he's working to get better. He's got a strong upper body. He's working in that weight room getting stronger, and that's all you can ask him to do. He is making progress, a lot of progress."

Q: Can you see why the 49ers drafted him?
PH: "He can move. He can move his feet. He's got a strong grip, strong arms. He's got all the tools. He's just got to work to put it together."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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