Scot McCloughan is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks. He has the nebulous title of senior personnel executive. What will this mean when the 49ers and Seahawks meet this season? Not much, really. Division rivals are like husbands and wives - they know each other's tendencies like they know their own. Besides, players and coaches switch teams all the time. Former 49er Jeff Ulbrich went from the 49ers to the Seahawks in offseason; offensive line coach Mike Solari went in the opposite direction.
I'm hearing that McCloughan eventually will be made the director of college scouting, although that won't be his role this season. McCloughan, Seahawks GM John Schneider and 49ers personnel chief Trent Ballke all like the same type of players. This could make the draft a little more interesting, but again, a lot of GMs and personnel chiefs around the league have worked together in the past. Something else to watch for: ex-49ers landing in Seattle. As it stands now, several of McCloughan's former picks, including Manny Lawson, David Baas and, perhaps, Alex Smith, will be on the free-agent market next year. Will they wind up wearing Navy blue and cat-vomit green? We shall see ...
Speaking of the draft, what kind of evaluator was McCloughan when he was here? Of his 41 picks, 26 are still with the team and three of those - Frank Gore, Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis - have been voted to Pro Bowls. A further breakdown:
The positives: Willis and Davis are perhaps the best players at their positions, which is something any GM would be proud to claim. Beyond that, you can argue that both have legitimate hall-of-fame chances if their careers are long and they maintain their current level of play. Willis led the league in tackles two out of his first three seasons. Davis, meanwhile, just started to reach his potential last season and his "ceiling," to borrow a phrase from NFL talent evaluators, is higher at this point than Willis'. Davis' production should only improve as Smith and the 49ers offense mature this season. Add Gore, Joe Staley, Dashon Goldson and Michael Crabtree to that list, and McCloughan has a nice topper to his resume.
The negatives: The 49ers desperately needed to hit a home run with the 2005 draft. It ended up, at best, ok. And that has hurt the 49ers ever since. As the worst team in 2004, they had four picks in the first three rounds that should have been parlayed into the foundation of the rebuilding squad. Instead, only one true gem emerged, Gore. Smith is still trying to prove himself, there's little chance that 33rd overall pick David Baas will be with the team next season and there are still questions about whether Adam Snyder is a tackle or a guard. Part of that was bad luck. First, the 2005 draft was terrible in terms of talent. Meanwhile, the 49ers had circled Logan Mankins as someone who could anchor their offensive line for years to come then watched as the Super Bowl Champion Patriots snatched Mankins one pick ahead of them. The bottom line is that the foundation never was built. So McCloughan and the 49ers tried again in 2008, picking two more interior linemen, Chilo Rachal and Cody Wallace, in the first four rounds. The team went back to o-line again this year with first rounders Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati. When a team focuses on one area three times in six drafts, it's a bad sign.
1st QB Alex Smith. Five years later, the team is still unsure whether he's a keeper.
2nd G David Baas. Injured at inopportune times, Baas likely will play elsewhere next season.
3rd RB Frank Gore. One of McCloughan's three best picks. Gore is looking for his fifth straight 1,000-yard rushing season this year.
3rd OT/G Adam Snyder. He can play all five positions on the line. But is a starter at one of them?
5th DT Ronald Fields. Now the starting nose tackle with the Denver Broncos.
6th CB Derrick Johnson. Bounced around NFL and CFL and is now a free agent.
7th CB Daven Holly. Another former CB looking for a job.
7th WR Marcus Maxwell. Has bounced around NFL and UFL. Now on the Seahawks roster.
7th OL Patrick Estes. Converted TE hasn't played since 2007.
7th TE Billy Bajema. Blocking tight end is now with the Rams.
1st TE Vernon Davis. Arguably the best player at his position; tied an NFL record last year for TDs by a TE.
1st LB Manny Lawson. Has not been the pass rusher the team had hoped but is a well-rounded OLB. Hard to see him returning next season.
3rd WR Brandon Williams. Wasn't dedicated to the game and was cut after just two seasons.
4th RB Michael Robinson. Captain of the 49ers' special teams and a favorite inside the locker room.
5th LB Parys Haralson. The former college defensive end is a solid if unspectacular starter.
6th TE Delanie Walker. A talented receiver who has improved on his blocking each season.
6th CB Marcus Hudson. A liability at cornerback but a talented special teams player. Now in Carolina.
6th DE Melvin Oliver. He hasn't played since 2007
7th S Vickiel Vaughn. Most recently played for the Arkansas Diamonds of the Indoor Football League.
1st LB Patrick Willis. He's the best inside linebacker in the league and the face of the franchise.
1st OT Joe Staley. Very solid starter. Still wish the 49ers had held onto their second-round pick and drafted Tony Ugoh?
3rd WR Jason Hill. Talented receiver who's been stuck at the bottom of the depth chart.
3rd DE Ray McDonald. Has a steady job as a third-down pass rusher
4th LB Jay Moore. Couldn't transition from college DE. Now playing DE with the Titans.
4th S Dashon Goldson. Started 16 games for the first time and is looking for a big contract.
4th DT Joe Cohen. Injured early in his career, Cohen is now on the Lions roster.
5th CB Tarell Brown. A nickel cornerback who's competing with Karl Paymah for the No. 3 job.
6th RB Thomas Clayton. Fan favorite was picked up by the Patriots earlier this year.
1st DE Kentwan Balmer. A disappointment so far, Balmer is coming back from a shoulder injury this year.
2nd G Chilo Rachal. Inconsistent starter at right guard, Rachal should blossom under Mike Solari's tutelage.
3rd S Reggie Smith. Drafted as a CB and switched to safety. He's the No. 3 safety as of now.
4th C Cody Wallace. Has struggled early in his career and is in real danger of losing his roster spot.
6th WR Josh Morgan. The jewel of the 2008 draft, Morgan is a starter opposite Michael Crabtree.
7th LB Larry Grant. Cut after his rookie training camp, Grant is now with the Rams.
1st WR Michael Crabtree. Good shot at becoming SF's first 1,000-yard receiver since T.O.
3rd RB Glen Coffee. Bulked up to 220 pounds and will be Gore's primary backup.
5th LB Scott McKillop. Battling for a back-up spot at ILB. Valuable special teamer last season.
5th QB Nate Davis. Firmly ensconced as the No. 3 QB; Needs to show more progress.
6th TE Bear Pascoe. Couldn't nail down blocking technique and was cut last year. Now with the NY Giants.
7th DT Ricky Jean-Francois. This pick could be a true steal if RJF turns out to be the NT of the future.
7th S Curtis Taylor. Safety position is full, but Taylor has a nice shot at a special teams position.
-- Matt Barrows