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What Experts Said after 49ers Drafted Crabtree

Posted May 5, 2014

The NFL Draft is a hotbed for instant analysis. We took a look back at what the talking heads said about San Francisco's 2009 first-round pick to see where they were right and wrong.


Soon after the San Francisco 49ers make their first pick in next week’s NFL Draft, league experts will start giving their analysis.

Not all of it will prove to be true.

Looking back on the 49ers first-round selection of wide receiver Michael Crabtree around this time in 2009, many spoke of the concerns over a stress fracture in Crabtree's foot. The wideout has played in 63 of San Francisco's 80's regular season games, however, breaking out with his nine-touchdown, 1,105-yard 2012 campaign. When fellow pass-catcher Anquan Boldin arrived via trade last offseason, he humbly stated, "This is Crabtree's team."

You might rememebr that despite being one of his draft class' top players, Crabtree lasted until the 10th pick. Of the Oakland Raiders decision to pass on him at No. 7, ESPN's longtime draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr., infamously said, "I’m shocked. I’m happy for Darrius Heyward-Bey… great kid, now a couple games this year he did not catch a pass , but he was shut out in two games. Not the guy that you throw the ball and can depend on. I gave it an F grade. I don’t know how you pass up Michael Crabtree at No. 1. …I’ve got to give it an F. In my opinion there’s no way you can pass up Crabtree."

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Let’s look back at what was said in the minutes and hours after he became a 49er.

ESPN’s Cris Carter: “When you put that tape in and you watch him (Crabtree) play football, you can tell that he loves to play the game … At the 10th pick you’re getting the best. He’s the best receiver ready to play right now regardless of the foot injury. I had the same foot injury, after my rookie year, had a screw in place, a graft off my hip, they’re not going to have any problems with him…he’s a football player and they have a winner in San Francisco.”

ESPN’s Trent Dilfer: “There’s no doubt about it. This is one of the most electric players in the draft. Many teams had him as their No.1 player on their board.”

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson: “It looks like a draft that might only produce one starter in the next year or two, but Crabtree could be a great one.”

USA Today’s Larry Weisman: “Crabtree fell to them, and they grabbed him.”

SI.com’s Peter King: "For a team that hasn't picked a great receiver sinceTerrell Owens, Michael Crabtree's a welcome choice. He's 6-2, 215 pounds ('a faster Boldin,' one personnel man told me last week) and he finally gives the 49ers some respect in the passing game.”

SI.com’s Ross Tucker: “Michael Crabtree fell into (the 49ers) lap at No. 10, giving the Niners the elite playmaker they have been seeking for a long time.”

FoxSports.com’s John Czarnecki: “Everyone referred to Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree as a 'diva,' but on the field he was the best receiver in college the past two seasons with 41 TD receptions while averaging 120.3 yards per game. The 49ers are definitely not worried about his foot surgery for a stress fracture. GM Scot McCloughan made a solid decision in swapping his second-round pick for Carolina's first-round pick next year.”

Fanhouse.com’s Adam Gretz: “Expecting him to come in and instantly change five years of futility in the passing game is expecting a bit much -- receivers, even good ones, take some time to develop -- but he certainly brings the ability and potential to be a difference-maker.” 

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco: “Taking Michael Crabtree (was a questionable move). That foot makes it a risk. So does his diva act.”

SFGate.com’s Kevin Lynch: “I don’t know about this pick. He comes from that spread scheme where he never faced double coverage in a conference without a good secondary. He also has the red flag of the entourage. The history of high picks on wide receivers is not great. However, the 49ers do make a choice that could make their roster more dynamic. I like that aspect. They need touchdowns and maybe this guy can provide it. He can run all the routes. Let’s get training camp started. NFL Network just put the tape of Crabtree doing some amazing things. He can block, he can run routes out of the slot, and he’s fast in pads, so forget his 40-yard dash time.”

The San Jose Mercury News’ Ann Killion: “Granted, we have no idea how either pick will turn out. Crabtree seems as close as you can get to a no-brainer — the most exciting player in college football last fall — but who knows?”

Scout.com’s Craig Massei: “This pick is an obvious slam dunk. In fact, it’s a running-full-speed, 360-degree in the air, windmill spinning reverse double-thunder monster slam dunk. Crabtree will come in and contribute right away. To what degree will be determined by his learning curve and how long it takes him to adjust to the pro game. But the guy is undeniably one of the elite prospects in the draft – perhaps the No. 1 prospect in the entire draft – and the 49ers got him with the 10th overall pick, which is almost thievery for a guy who easily is one of the top five players in the draft without question. This was absolutely the best pick the 49ers could have made."
 

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