The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Patrick Willis - Draft Impact Player

With what would become their first pick of two in the first round of last Sunday's NFL Draft, the 49ers selected linebacker Patrick Willis from Mississippi. I was initially surprised at this pick, not because of Willis' ability or pre-draft rankings, but more because of the 49ers' needs at other positions and an already healthy stable of capable linebackers. With this year's draft being a deep one for playmaking skill positions on offense, it appeared that the Niners would tap a wide-out to aide the development of 3rd year starting QB Alex Smith. However, Willis was simply too valuable a comodity in their eyes to pass up.

Willis has subsequently backed up that faith, at least in early reaction by draft experts, such as Joe Theissman, in being the early favorite for Rookie of the Year. Added to that is the recent fan voting on ESPN of over 200,000 ranking Willis as the safest pick of the first round of this year's draft. Who was the most potential bust you ask? Ted Ginn Jr. from Ohio St., whom I tabbed as the player most likely to be headed to the bay area this year. Shows what I know, right?

Willis is said to play with the kind of tenacity of Brian Urlacher and Derrick Brooks, which is a welcome addition to a promising group of defenders which is the second youngest on average age in the NFL. He is one of the most athletic and explosive linebackers at the collegiate level. He has incredible instincts to "sniff out" the ball carrier and solid tackling skills. Willis has good speed and quickness and can cover a lot of ground sideline to sideline. He is strong and powerful and delivers the big hit to his opponents. Willis brings great leadership on the field and contributes extensively to the community off the field. He has the versatility to play inside or outside linebacker in the NFL. Willis has decent coverage skills to cover running backs and tight ends downfield. He has a great work ethic and determination along with his tremendous skills to be a premier linebacker in the NFL. Willis led Mississippi with 137 tackles which ranked him sixth in the nation. He was also the 2006 Butkus Award winner, which is presented annually to the best linebacker in college football.

With the addressing of the need for a wide receiver through a draft-day trade in the person of Darrell Jackson from Seattle, Willis was a solid pick for San Francisco. He heads up a draft class by the 49ers receiving high marks for filling needs at several positions.

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