49ers hit on Day 1 objectives

As the early-evening shadows began to fall Saturday on 49ers headquarters, coach Dennis Erickson proclaimed "it was a great day for us." The veracity of that predictable comment remains to be seen, but nobody can deny that the Niners found what they were looking for on the first day of the NFL draft – wide receivers, potential starters and extra picks.

The first-day haul of receivers Rashaun Woods of Oklahoma State and Derrick Hamilton of Clemson, offensive guard Justin Smiley of Alabama and cornerback Shawntae Spencer of Pittsburgh gave the Niners four young prospects with upside who could be spending a lot of time on the field for San Francisco in 2004.

The Niners also got a fourth-round pick out of Saturday's maneuvering to carry over to Sunday, giving the team good value for the No. 16 overall pick it started with Saturday morning and keeping San Francisco on course with its strategy of bringing in multiple extra draft picks during the next two years.

"We wanted to add to our three most pressing needs – wide receiver, offensive guard and corner," Niners general manager Terry Donahue said. "We got to shoot at those targets, and that was very positive. We hit our objectives. How well these players develop, what they turn into, we won't know that for a while."

Donahue said the Niners considered trading down even further out of the first round, but they just couldn't pass on Woods at the No. 31 pick. Calling Woods a "sophisticated" receiver who met all six points of criteria the Niners were looking for in a top receiver, it's obvious the team expects the Oklahoma State product to come in and grab a starting receiving role that is there for the taking after the departure of last year's starters Terrell Owens and Tai Streets.

The same is true of Smiley, a junior Erickson said the Niners had rated as one of the top three offensive linemen in the draft. Hamilton also is a junior who's best days are ahead of him, and he could pose a double threat as a top return man. Spencer is expected to come in and immediately vie to be the team's third corner, one of San Francisco's glaring voids entering the draft.

And the Niners won't stop here. They have six more picks Sunday and, as Donahue said, "we've been very strong second-day drafting during the last few years. We have some needs, but it will be more of taking the best available player."

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