Originally Posted by colkurtz
I'm not here to defend every boneheaded move Shannihan / Allen make. For their mistakes they had a good draft and FA. McKnabb fooled us and the Vikings and most of the NFL "experts" for the last two years. Stallworth didn't play today and as the day progressed AND we needed big plays to win they brought in Paul, Austin, Hankerson. I hope Gaffeny gets the hook next. We had no Moss (#1 Wr), Hightower (#1 RB), left side of OL gone. Brand new QB.
Frankly I'm a lot more worried about the defense and why they're sucking it so bad. We simply can't use another draft simply for the defense. We need a real QB and #1 WR.
You simply can't replace every single position in one year or even two.
We have too many needs elsewhere to spend our first-rounder on a WR. And WR is too much of a hit-and-miss position, more so than other positions, for us to expend our top pick there. While I agree with you that it is a glaring hole on offense right now, I think our future #1 guy is already on the roster. More importantly, I think that the FO thinks that he is already on the roster. Candidates are:
-has all of the tools to be a #1 WR in the NFL. Size, speed, hands, ability to run routes. His problem is that he is not polished and he is not consistent. He needs considerable reps and maybe some football maturity to get it done. This week's INT is an example of the kind of growing pains we will have to endure to some degree with Hankerson. But all accounts are that he is personally mature, works hard in practice and is willing to pay the price to be great. The coaches see that, so they are confident that he will not be a bust. . He supposedly has made huge strides in practice lately, which is why he was activated last week instead of Stallworth.
-like Hankerson, has the ability, size and speed to be a #1 NFL WR. He has been ahead of Hankerson due to his being more football-mature, and he made his first two receptions yesterday. He also seems to have the "want-to" to maximize his talent.
-has been a zero this year, and still has some inconsistency in his hands, but he has blazing speed and enough size. He broke through last year with almost 1,000 yards despite not starting right away. If healthy and given the opportunity, I look for him to start putting up similar numbers now that Moss is out. That is, if Beck can get him the ball down the field.
-I really like this guy. He runs precise routes, has good (not great) speed, and I think he just gets it. Beck and he supposedly have good chemistry from their practice sessions, and I will look to see if he can establish himself as an NFL WR the way Armstrong did last year. Austin does not have prototypical size for a #1 receiver. But neither does the Panthers' Steve Smith or the Iggles' DeSean Jackson.
As far as last year's draft is concerned, we should not forget that we had 5 guys from last year's practice squad make the team in 2011. We already have brought up Maurice Hurt, who may or may not be a keeper. While it is fair to criticize Shanahan for drafting so many WRs and RB, one more each than we needed on the roster given our other moves, it will sure be nice to activate Evan Royster tomorrow when we place Hightower on injured reserve. Ditto with Aldrick Robinson if Moss has to go down for the year.
Wilson had a bad game yesterday, as did Barnes and Landry. But I would not overreact and say we have to draft a whole new secondary based on one game. I think our primary needs next year are:
QB, C, OG, CB, ILB (if Fletcher and McIntosh leave in free agency), backup/future RT. The top two needs are urgent. We may have to wait until the 2013 draft to upgrade CB, unless we trade down in round 1. I have a hunch that Shanahan will become infatuated with one of the 2nd-tier prospects in the draft who will be available in round 2 or 3. That could free up our #1 for a CB, but I think C (Mike Brewster seems to be the only center at this point to be considered worthy of a top 40 pick) has to be a top priority if there is a blue- or red-chipper available.