Breaking Down the 49ers' 2005 Draft Class
ALEX SMITH QB, Utah, first round (No. 1 overall) Pick analysis: Heisman Trophy finalist is a young, developing talent with tremendous upside at the game's most important position. The Niners liked hometown favorite Aaron Rodgers, but Smith was the best prospect available at quarterback in addition to being the most worthy of their No. 1 overall pick. San Francisco was wise to take this intelligent, athletic player. He'll need growth and seasoning, but the potential to be a franchise QB clearly is there. Where he fits in: Smith will challenge incumbent Tim Rattay for the starting position, and he will have an opportunity to be in the season-opening lineup if his progress between now and then warrants. But the future at the position, most definitely, is his. Who he could bump off current roster: Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett DAVID BAAS OG-C, Michigan, second round (No. 33 overall) Pick analysis: Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year is a tough-guy leader with a strong upper body who can move a pile and play three interior positions. The Niners like both his ability and his nastiness, and see him as an integral OL cog of their future. Where he fits in: Power player will be given an opportunity to take the starting right guard position away from Eric Heitmann. Also could become the top backup at left guard and at center behind Jeremy Newberry. Who he could bump off current roster: Rob Murphy, Scott Peters, Norm Katnik FRANK GORE RB, Miami, third round (No. 65 overall) Pick analysis: Once an elite prospect before injuries to both knees, Gore made a strong return from those injuries last year and could be a steal here if he continues to reach form. A punishing runner who must stay healthy and prove he hasn't lost quality speed, Gore could earn regular carries in the backfield. Where he fits in: Gore will back up Kevan Barlow at tailback and push the team's incumbent starter to get better, sharing the load at the position based on the performance of both players. Who he could bump off current roster: Maurice Hicks ADAM SNYDER OG-OT, Oregon, third round (No. 94 overall) Pick analysis: The 49ers traded the first pick of both the fourth and sixth rounds of the draft to move up and take this big, versatile lineman who will replace the departed Kyle Kosier in the team's plans. The Niners had a need here for a skilled WR or DB, but couldn't pass up a prospect who can play four positions and also could light a fire under Kwame Harris at right tackle. Where he fits in: Snyder will be the team's top backup at both tackle positions, but also could move inside as a backup guard. At 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, he has quality size to play both guard and tackle. Who he could bump off current roster: Tim Provost, Rob Murphy, Scott Peters, Khiawatha Downey RONALD FIELDS DT, Mississippi State, fifth round (No. 137 overall) Pick analysis: A big, middle-clogging defensive tackle who could fit perfectly into the team's new defensive scheme at noseguard. All-Southeastern Conference choice is a 310-pound force who was considered a possible first-day selection and is a great value pick here at a position of need. Has upside and can be a force if learns to play hard consistently. Where he fits in: Fields will challenge Anthony Adams and Isaac Sopoaga for regular duty in the team's 3-4 scheme at noseguard, a position at which both holdovers are unproven. Who he could bump off current roster: Isaac Sopoaga, Chris Cooper RASHEED MARSHALL WR-KR, West Virginia, fifth round (No. 174 overall) Pick analysis: Was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year last season – as a quarterback. Marshall won't play there for the 49ers, but this natural athlete's skills were too good to pass on at this pick. The team thinks he can make an impact as a receiver and/or kick returner and will attempt to maximize his unique abilities. Where he fits in: Marshall will challenge for a roster berth at receiver and will attempt to earn duty as the team's kick returner. If he's a keeper, the Niners also might try to find ways to take advantage of his skills in the offensive backfield. Who he could bump off current roster: Derrick Hamilton, P.J. Fleck DERRICK JOHNSON CB, Washington, sixth round (No. 205 overall) Pick analysis: Three-year starter and team captain last year at Washington had 11 career interceptions and also returns kicks. Good size and decent speed are positives, but he is not very fluid and is best in zone coverage. Mature prospect could help and provide an upgrade at a position of need. Where he fits in: Will vie to be team's fourth cornerback and could challenge for time at nickel back or an even more prominent role depending on the status of others ahead of him on depth chart. Who he could bump off current roster: Rayshun Reed, Joselio Hanson, Mike Adams, Arnold Parker DAVEN HOLLY CB, Cincinnati, seventh round (No. 215 overall) Pick analysis: Began his college career as a wide receiver but was moved to defense as a sophomore, where he became a starter the next year and twice earned All-USA Conference second-team honors. Is a top sleeper pick because of his great speed, but technique is very raw and will have to be developed. Where he fits in: The Niners are intrigued by his potential, and that will have Holly competing for a berth on the roster and a chance to contribute in secondary coverage packages. Who he could bump off current roster: Rayshun Reed, Joselio Hanson, Mike Adams, Arnold Parker MARCUS MAXWELL WR, Oregon, seventh round (No. 223 overall) Pick analysis: Receivers coach Jerry Sullivan saw something he liked in this unheralded prospect, and it's Maxwell's size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) and quality speed. He had an unimpressive senior season with 25 catches, but JC product played in just 18 games at Oregon and is seen as a prospect with upside at the next level, so the Niners took a seventh-round flyer on him. Where he fits in: Will have to earn his way onto the roster by beating out one of the young receivers ahead of him, including fifth-round pick Rasheed Marshall. Who he could bump off current roster: Derrick Hamilton, P.J. Fleck PATRICK ESTES TE, Virginia, seventh round (No. 248 overall) Pick analysis: Huge prospect is not seen as a receiving threat, but already is up to 290 pounds on his nearly 6-foot-7 frame and could add a new blocking dimension for the team at a position that needs it. There also is talk he could gain even more weight and learn how to play tackle. Where he fits in: Estes will be given every opportunity to win the wide-open job as the team's third tight end. Who he could bump off current roster: Doug Zeigler BILLY BAJEMA TE, Oklahoma State, seventh round (No. 249 overall) Pick analysis: Former high school quarterback has the size and the smarts to make it at the NFL level. Was a three-year starter who possesses decent receiving skills and has the size at 6-foot-5 and 261 pounds to provide the blocking punch the team needs at the position. Where he fits in: Will be in the middle of the competition to earn a roster berth as team's third tight end. It may come down to what he can contribute as a blocker. Who he could bump off current roster: Aaron Walker, Doug Zeigler
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