In the wake of the week that was in 49erland

News and views from 49erland, which was bustling at the end of the week with NFL draft activity, including takes on each of San Francisco's first three draft picks, the trade that made Colin Kaepernick a Niner, the return of Alex Smith and the passing of Joe Perry, one of the greatest 49ers of them all.

News: The 49ers select University of Missouri defender Aldon Smith with the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Views: The 49ers could have traded back in the first round and still been able to grab Smith, the speed-rushing prospect they were targeting to pump up their pass rush and provide impact for the future. That surely is what they would've liked to see happen, but GM Trent Baalke was unable to swing a deal with any of the teams behind San Francisco, and Smith probably wasn't going to slide much farther than the 14th pick, and surely wasn't going to drop out of the top 20. So the Niners reached a little to get something they needed, even if they might have gotten better immediate value for the pick by using it in another way. But Smith has undeniable potential and a huge upside, and if he hadn't been hampered by a broken leg last year that kept him out of three games and made far less than 100 percent in several others, he might have had such a monster sophomore season that he wouldn't have even been available where the Niners got him Thursday.

News: The 49ers introduce quarterback Colin Kaepernick at team headquarters barely four hours after they select him with their second-round draft choice.
Views: That's a pretty neat trick by Kaepernick, who was captured by the NFL Network sitting on a couch in shorts and T-shirt at his family home minutes after being drafted Friday afternoon, but later that evening was wearing a jacket, slacks and 49ers cap and smiling broadly before the media during a news conference at the team complex. That's an uncommonly quick turnaround for any draft pick, but Kaepernick was able to make the transformation because his family lives in Turlock, a Northern California town that's just an hour's drive away from the Niners' facility in Santa Clara. Kaepernick's adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa, sat proudly in the back as Colin spilled out joy for becoming a 49er, and let's just say that on this evening, the Kaepernicks were one family of happy campers.

News: The 49ers trade three draft picks to Denver to move up in the second round to select Kaepernick.
Views: Getting a quarterback prospect they wanted didn't come without a price. To move up nine spots in the second round to grab Kaepernick with the No. 36 overall pick, the 49ers sent a bounty of their second-rounder (the No. 45 overall), their fourth-rounder (the No. 108 overall) and their fifth-rounder (No. 141) to the Broncos. But if Kaepernick turns out to be anything close to the QB the 49ers think he can be, it was worth it. Heck, after the strong first impression made by Kaepernick, it's already looking worth it.

News: Alex Smith talks with coach Jim Harbaugh on Thursday, then meets with him Friday.
Views: Recent legal shenanigans surrounding the NFL lockout allowed 49ers players to return – albeit briefly – to the team facility on Friday for the first time since early March. Smith, who has been working out with several of his 49ers teammates in the Bay Area in recent months, was one of the 15-or-so 49ers to make the scene Friday, even though he is technically a free agent and not under contract with the team. Smith had another powwow with Harbaugh, who in the past two weeks has continued his stance as a big Smith supporter, and it's looking more and more like Harbaugh truly does want Smith around this year to compete for the starting quarterback job. So just like that, a team that had so much uncertainty at quarterback just a few days ago might already have a tentative lineup set for summer training camp in Smith, Kaepernick and veteran journeyman David Carr, though Baalke said the team remains on the lookout for improving those options. "We're going to continue to do what our game plan was, to bring in the best three quarterbacks possible for our roster," Baalke said Friday evening. "So whether we're done adding to it, through the draft, through free agency, through trades, that remains to be seen. It's still a fluid situation."

News: The 49ers select defensive back Chris Culliver of South Carolina with their third-round pick.
Views: If you thought the selection of Aldon Smith was a surprise, then you must really be scratching your head about this one. Sure, the 49ers needed a DB – and a DB only – at this slot, the No. 76 overall, but Culliver seems something of a strange choice, considering the light regard several observers were giving him before the draft. Most analysts had Culliver, a cornerback/safety tweener, projected as a late-round selection, if they had him projected to be drafted at all. The 49ers thought otherwise. "Well, obviously with Chris," Baalke said, "he started 31-of-32 games in the (Southeastern Conference) over the last three years, he's a six-foot-plus corner that runs in the low 4.3s (40-yard dash), he has been versatile, has played in the nickel, has played on the perimeter, has played out at safety, and he's also been a solid kickoff returner at the SEC level. So there's a lot of value there."

News: Niners all-time rushing leader Joe Perry dies at age 84.
Views: Perry truly was one of the franchise's greatest performers, and it's always a sad day when the great ones pass away. Perry died Monday at his home in Arizona, but he will never be forgotten as one of the pioneers who built the aura of 49ers football. "The Jet," as Perry was known in his heyday, was the first NFL player to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, and he remains today as the Niners' career leader in rushing yards (7,344) and rushing touchdowns (50), even though he played well before the 49ers hit their prolific West Coast Offense stride, a time when several franchise offensive greats were racking up their team records. On his way to the Hall of Fame, Perry broke the NFL record for most career rushing yards and led the 49ers in rushing eight times, including seven consecutive seasons from 1949-1955. Rest in peace, Joe the Jet. You were truly one of a kind.


Niners Digest Top Stories