Grading the Draft: San Francisco 49ers

Grading the Draft: San Francisco 49ers

Looking to add the final few pieces for the new man in charge on the field, the Niners looked to fill needs on the line of scrimmage and add depth at receiver. That's exactly what they did.

Round Pick Player Pos School
1 26(26) Kwame Harris* OT Stanford
2 25(57) Anthony Adams DT Penn St.
3 25(89) Andrew Williams DE Miami (FL)
4 27(124) Brandon Lloyd* WR Illinois
5 26(161) Aaron Walker TE Florida
6 24(197) Arnaz Battle WR Notre Dame
7 27(241) Ken Dorsey QB Miami (FL)

UDFAs of Note: WR Bosley Allen (North Carolina), RB Allan Amundson (Oregon), T Ben Archibald (BYU), WR Mike Bush, P Fred Capshaw (Miami), CB Joselio Hanson (Texas Tech), S Kelly Hardy (East Carolina), TE Marcus Helfman (San Jose State), K Nathan Fikse (UCLA), DE LaKendrick Jones (South Carolina State), T Jason Jowers (Wisconsin), WR Troy Mason (UNLV), C Ben Nowland (Auburn), LB Marcus Reese (UCLA), G Shane Riggs (N.C. State), G Greg Schindler (Stanford), LB Raymond Wells (Arizona) and LB Victor White (Winston-Salem).

As there usually is, speculation ran rampant as to which way the Niners would look when they were on the board at pick number 26, but when Kwame Harris fell into their laps the decision was easy. Harris, an athletic blocker with a lot of upside potential, perfectly fits the Niners system and if the light goes on upstairs, he will be a stalwart for the franchise in years to come.

Selecting Anthony Adams in round two raised a few eyebrows but in the end this was a good choice. Taken at pick 57, Adams could just as easily be viewed as an early third round choice. He performed well at the Senior Bowl as an intense, explosive plugger in the middle of the line that will work well in a rotational system. He can start for the team by the end of his rookie campaign and brings a lot of tenacity with him.

Should he develop and meet his upper most potential, Andrew Williams could be a steal in round three. Williams possesses the athletic abilities to be a player in the NFL and has proven in the past that he can translate those skills onto the football field (Williams was a tremendous junior college player). He will need time and is not a sure thing but well worth the risk of a late first day choice.

Likewise; if Brandon Lloyd toughens up and plays to his capabilities, he will quickly slide in and fill the slot recently left void by J.J. Stokes. Lloyd was a productive, natural receiver at Illinois, but ran terribly at the combine and there is concern about his ability to separate in the NFL. Our take; don't worry because Lloyd will develop into a productive pro.

Aaron Walker was good value in round five because the former Gator tight end is not spectacular in any single aspect, but rather a solid performer. He should flourish in two tight end sets and will be able to handle spot duty as a starter.

Again, the drafting of Arnaz Battle in round six was another bargain selection. Battle is a developing receiver who will not stretch the defense deep but can make the difficult catch over the middle. Battle must improve his route running skills and should make it as the team's fourth wide out.

Ken Dorsey in the final frame makes sense. If nothing else, the weak-armed signal caller is an asset to have on the sidelines, holding the clipboard and giving advice.

The Niners best free agents signings came in the form of pass catchers. Bosley Allen looked good during individual workouts despite not playing during the 2002 season and at his best, is a reliable receiver. Mike Bush has great size and is the proto-typical possession wide out. Ben Archibald was a top tackle prospect before breaking a leg last year which many thought would end his career. Center Ben Nowland could be an inexpensive back for the franchise.

Analysis: The Niners did a solid job drafting talent and filling in the few remaining holes on the team. This group of draftees offers both long and short term potential.

Tony Pauline
TFY Draft Preview

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