49ers Address Offense During NFL Draft

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Although Michael Crabtree might be the best-dressed rookie at next weekend's minicamp, he won't be the only newcomer to the San Francisco 49ers' offense.

The 49ers replenished their stock of skill players Sunday, adding Alabama running back Glen Coffee, Ball State quarterback Nate Davis and Fresno State tight end Bear Pascoe to the draft class led by Crabtree, the Texas Tech receiver chosen 10th overall a day earlier.

Although San Francisco failed to address its needs at offensive tackle or outside linebacker, the club grabbed several players with notable college careers. In addition to their skill selections, the Niners also picked Pitt linebacker Scott McKillop early in the second day of the NFL draft before adding two LSU teammates: safety Curtis Taylor and defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois.

But the Niners' focus was depth for an offense that will have its seventh coordinator in seven seasons this fall.

"I don't want to talk about what we didn't get," coach Mike Singletary said. "I want to talk about what we did get. It's obvious that most (teams) that drafted aren't going to get what they want, and we're certainly on that list. But I think that (general manager) Scot McCloughan and our personnel department did an outstanding job along with the scouts of producing the draft that we had."

The 49ers also introduced Crabtree at a news conference at their training complex Sunday. Wearing a sharp tan suit with a red tie, the fashion-minded receiver looked the part of a new Niner while holding up his new No. 15 jersey - although he said the outfit was picked out weeks ago, well before he knew the color scheme matched where he would spend the next several years.

"I love interacting with my teammates," said Crabtree, who won't participate in much of the upcoming minicamp while resting his surgically repaired left foot. "That's the most fun part, messing with my linemen and my DBs, and just having fun with your team."

The Niners traded their second- and fourth-round picks Saturday to Carolina for a first-rounder next year, so their highest pick behind Crabtree was third-rounder Coffee, the hard-nosed tailback who rushed for 1,383 yards during the Crimson Tide's outstanding season.

Coffee didn't make a pre-draft visit to Santa Clara, but he already has watched Frank Gore enough to know he'll enjoy being the San Francisco star's backup.

"I'd probably want to run you over first, but if I can't run around you, I'm going to try to make you miss and get away from you," Coffee said. "Trust me, if I see a hole, I won't think twice about lowering my head."

Singletary envisions Coffee doing a bit of the dirty work for Gore, who has been incredibly durable in four seasons with the 49ers despite his lengthy injury history. Coffee is just 6 feet tall, but could add 10 to 20 pounds of muscle in the next couple of years.

"Whatever Frank leaves over, whatever little bit Frank leaves on the plate, then (Coffee) can pick it up," Singletary said. "Coffee is a downhill guy. There's not a lot of slash in him. He's just coming right at you."

Singletary valued McKillop, the Niners' first pick in the fifth round, for his versatility and immediate usefulness on special teams. The 49ers won't be in a similar rush to use Davis, the Mid-American Conference's offensive player of the year while leading Ball State to the title game.

Davis has an eccentric style - he wore gloves when he played and didn't always throw the ball by gripping the laces - but he attributes his declining draft stock to his learning disability.

Singletary said the quarterback has a form of dyslexia, which requires his coaches to teach their offense to Davis in easy-to-understand ways. Although Davis is certain several teams passed on him for that reason, San Francisco quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson already has told Singletary it won't be a problem.

"I was very impressed with his openness," Singletary said. "He's the guy that brought it up. (Johnson) is very confident that whatever it is, we can handle it."

The 49ers will groom Davis behind Alex Smith and Shaun Hill, perhaps even making him the No. 4 quarterback behind veteran backup Damon Huard. Davis' draft stock slipped dramatically from the point last year when some believed he was a first-round pick, but he didn't lack for confidence when asked to describe the differences among himself and first-rounders Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

"Personally, I don't think there's really anything different," Davis said. "I think the big difference is (Stafford) went to Georgia, and I went to Ball State. Sanchez went to USC, and I went to Ball State. It's a bigger school, and unfortunately they had better competition, but it all worked out. It doesn't matter what round you get drafted in. You just go out there and show
yourself."

Singletary sees Pascoe as the replacement for Billy Bajema, the 49ers' blocking tight end who signed with St. Louis. Pascoe, a native of Porterville who starred with the Bulldogs, is an excellent blocker who could develop into a dependable pass-catcher.

"He's a good athlete, and he's consistent," Singletary said. "It's definitely an upgrade here."

Jean-Francois had a checkered college career at LSU, which he left one year early. He was the defensive MVP of the BCS title game during the Tigers' run in the 2007 season, but he also played in just two games that season after a 12-month suspension.


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