|ESPN.com: NFC West||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach continues to defend Michael Crabtree from what he considers to be misperceptions about the 49ers' first-round draft choice, as Will Brinson of sportsradiointerviews.com notes in summarizing Leach's recent interview with KNBR radio in San Francisco (audio).
How a player handles himself around a coach might differ from how he handles himself in other situations, particularly with millions in the bank, but that is true for all players, not just Crabtree. Leach rejects any notion that Crabtree shows "diva" tendencies. The opposite is true, according to Leach, who describes Crabtree as quiet, shy and all about football.
Leach had a strong answer when asked whether Crabtree's skills translate to the NFL, as opposed to Crabtree possibly being a product of the Texas Tech offense. I listened and transcribed that part, which is below.
Leach: I think they unequivocally translate to the NFL. I mean, Wes Welker led the NFL in receiving and he is one of our guys, too. As a matter of fact, for the last two years, we had the leading receiver in the NFL and the leading receiver in college football simultaneously. I think he'll do really well in the NFL.
The biggest thing to have an impact early is to adjust quickly, to have the ability to adjust quickly. In any case, I think he's going to turn out to be a really good player in the NFL.
The 49ers probably wouldn't have been in position to draft Crabtree if Alex Smith's career had gone as planned to this point. Pairing the highest-rated quarterback from one draft class (Smith, 2005) with the highest-rated receiver from another draft class (Crabtree, 2009) would seem to have some potential if Smith can get healthy and salvage his career.