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One of my favorite times of the year is near
April 23, 2013 - Troy Hyde
The NFL Draft is appointment television for me.
Back when I was single and did not have children, I would find a way to have the weekend of the NFL Draft off so I could enjoy it at home on my couch. I am no longer single and no longer without children, but I think I will still find a way to see the draft. It is must-see TV.
I usually order Chinese food, purchase some adult beverages and just sit back and watch an amazing night of sports television hoping my team doesn't mess things up and laughing at those franchises that do -- usually the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.
My team is the San Francisco 49ers. They should have won the Super Bowl this past season but should still be in a prime position to make a return trip in 2013. With 13 picks and so few roster spots available, I expect the 49ers to be players as far as moving up in the draft to fill in spots of need.
They had probably the most complete roster last year from top to bottom so using all 13 of those picks is virtually impossible. And taking a risk on certain players is Ok because of th talent already on the roster. That makes a guy like Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina an intriguing player on the Niners' draft board. He was injured last year and may not play a down in 2013 thanks to a torn ACL. But a team like SF could take him and stash him away for the future because they have so much wiggle room to play with.
Rumors were that the Niners were targeting him in the third round. That is where they got an injured-plagued Frank Gore some 10 years ago and Gore is still on the roster and about to set franchise rushing records. It would be fitting if a guy like Lattimore who blew out his knee would eventually replace Gore, who came out of college with several knee injuries.
Look for the Niners to try to shore up their secondary in the early rounds. If the defense had any issues last year, it was defending the pass. They signed Nnamdi Asomugha recently but I still think the team needs depth in the secondary, especially since they lost Dashon Goldson in free agency.
As I look over the rest of their depth chart, I think it is crucial for the team to nab a mammoth defensive tackle to fill the void left Isaac Sopoaga, who also left in free agency. A future replacement for Justin Smith on the outside would be nice too. As would depth on the OL and a second TE to replace Delanie Walker.
First Round options The Niners have been rumored to be trying to trade up to around the 14th spot to take Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson. Trading up for Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro also is a possibility.
If San Francisco stays put at 31, they would likely be able to fill that back-up TE need with Stanford TE Zach Ertz, who coach Jim Harbaugh is obviously familiar with. Another option would LSU safety Eric Reid. There also are a few options likely available on the DL as well as a possible shot at trying to replace aging center Jonathan Goodwin.
It has been fun to watch the draft in recent years because San Francisco has done a fantastic job of upgrading talent. Guys like Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Joe Staley and Navarro Bowman got the team over the hump. Recent success with OL Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis as well as OLB Aldon Smith made them just that much better. Thrown in Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree and the Niners organization has gotten passing grades all over the place.
That is why I am going to sit back and watch the Niners upgrade the talent once again. I am done questioning what they do on draft weekend. Because what they have done in recent years has obviously worked.
All that is left to do now is order the Chinese food.
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