Top picks provide a top matchup

The Green Bay Packers picked A.J. Hawk with the fifth selection in last April's draft. The San Francisco 49ers wanted Hawk, but happily snatched Vernon Davis with the sixth pick.

A.J. Hawk or Vernon Davis? That was the debate when the Green Bay Packers were on the clock to use the fifth overall pick in April's draft.

The Packers selected Hawk, an athletic and hard-nosed linebacker from Ohio State. The 49ers, picking sixth, pounced on Maryland's Davis, a freakishly athletic tight end who ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.

Hawk and Davis will be in the starting lineup when the Packers visit San Francisco on Sunday.

The Packers are pleased with their selection. Hawk leads the team with 126 tackles, and is on pace to break the team rookie record of 166 tackles, set by Rich Wingo in 1979. The type of big plays you'd expect from a No. 5 draft pick, however, have been few and far between.

"I liked the area and the coaching staff a lot," Hawk said of his April visit to San Francisco. "I thought it was definitely a possibility at the time, but I'm obviously happy where I am."

So is Davis, who upon his introductory news conference in San Francisco said, "It's a pleasure to be here. I've always wanted to come here. I was sitting at the table yesterday and Green Bay was up, and I was telling my agent, ‘I hope Green Bay doesn't take me. I definitely don't want to go there.'"

Davis hasn't had nearly the rookie season the 49ers were hoping for. He missed six games with a broken right leg suffered Sept. 24 against the Eagles, and enters Sunday's matchup with just seven catches. His first career catch, in Week 1 against Arizona, went for a 31-yard touchdown. His lengthy absence, however, set back his development and learning curve in the offense.

Hawk is looking forward to matching up against Davis.

"I'm sure it can happen," Hawk said of the possibility of facing Davis in pass coverage. "I've seen him on film and he looks great. He's a big, strong, fast guy who can run straight routes, and he's a good blocker, too. I knew that before he got there. I think that now that he's healthy, he's going to have a great year."


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