NFC West: 2005 NFL draft

Former San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan will be scheming against his former team in the NFC Championship Game as the Atlanta Falcons' defensive coordinator.

The job Nolan did as the 49ers' head coach isn't as relevant as the personnel decisions he made in conjunction with former general manager Scot McCloughan.

Those decisions were quite good ones in many cases. As a result, Nolan will be scheming to stop a 49ers offense featuring current or former Pro Bowl choices in left tackle Joe Staley, tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore, plus tight end Delanie Walker and, less probably, backup quarterback Alex Smith.

Ten Nolan-era draft choices remain with the 49ers. Five have achieved Pro Bowl status: linebacker Patrick Willis and safety Dashon Goldson in addition to Staley, Davis and Gore. Cornerback Tarell Brown, coming off a strong game against Green Bay, and defensive end Ray McDonald are also Nolan-era draft choices in the 49ers' starting lineup.

Smith isn't expected to play against the Falcons, but if he did, his falling out with Nolan over the coach's handling of a shoulder injury would instantly surface as a story line for revisiting.

Nolan was also in charge when the 49ers used free agency or waivers to add defensive lineman Justin Smith and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Both are starters. Smith is arguably the most important player on the 49ers' defense.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Aaron Rodgers is making his first regular-season or postseason appearance at Candlestick Park since his favorite childhood team, the San Francisco 49ers, passed him over in the 2005 NFL draft.

The Rodgers-Alex Smith story ran its course some time ago, but it's worth revisiting if for no other reason than to feature this 2005 draft-day video capturing the raw emotion Rodgers felt when the 49ers and others made him wait until the 24th overall pick before Green Bay finally selected him.

Rodgers, asked whether he was disappointed when the 49ers passed him over, replied: "Not as disappointed as the 49ers will be that they didn't draft me."

NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert passes along Rodgers' current feelings in this post.

Last QB standing from 2005 NFL draft

January, 17, 2012
One quarterback from the 2005 NFL draft class remains in the playoffs this season.

See if you can find him in the chart. A hint: Alex Smith is his name.

Playing connect-the-dots with prominent Seattle draft choices predating the Seahawks' current leadership, which arrived in 2010:
  • 2003 draft: First-round pick Marcus Trufant accepts a pay reduction. Fourth-rounder Seneca Wallace, the only other player remaining with Seattle from this class when Pete Carroll took over as head coach, is traded.
  • 2004 draft: Third-round pick Sean Locklear, the only remaining player from this draft class, has his contract truncated. The team does not re-sign him.
  • 2005 draft: First-round pick Chris Spencer is not re-signed. Second-rounder Lofa Tatupu is released after refusing a pay reduction. Third-rounder Leroy Hill takes a pay reduction, then re-signs somewhat improbably.
  • 2006 draft: First-rounder Kelly Jennings is traded. Second-rounder Darryl Tapp is traded. Fourth-rounder Rob Sims, the third player Seattle selected in the 2006 draft, is traded.
  • 2007 draft: The team had no first-round pick. Second-rounder Josh Wilson is traded. Deion Branch, the player Seattle received in return for that 2007 first-round pick, is traded.
  • 2008 draft: First-rounder Lawrence Jackson is traded. Second-rounder John Carlson is imperiled when the team signs tight end Zach Miller in free agency. Carlson is entering the final year of his contract.
  • 2009 draft: First-rounder Aaron Curry accepts a new contract making him easier to trade or release in the future.

Curry and Carlson are the two remaining early draft choices to watch. Both remain younger players with potential, but their futures in Seattle appear tenuous.

Some of these draft choices would have fared better in Seattle if the team had performed well enough to avoid sweeping changes in the organization. Likewise, those sweeping changes might not have been necessary if some of these draft choices had come closer to meeting expectations.

What stands out most to me: Mike Teel, David Greene, Wallace, Jeff Kelly and Josh Booty are the only quarterbacks the Seahawks have drafted since 2001.

2005 re-draft gives 49ers you know who

January, 25, 2011
A few thoughts on Mel Kiper's 2005 NFL re-draft, covering the first round and available to Insider subscribers:

1. San Francisco 49ers

Actual pick: Alex Smith, QB, Utah

Kiper re-draft pick: Aaron Rodgers

My thoughts: The question, of course, is to what extent Rodgers would have transcended the bad luck and dysfunction that framed Smith's career with the 49ers. Rodgers benefited from having a few years to learn the pro game before taking over for Brett Favre. Rodgers walked into a far more talented offense than the one that helped drag down Smith early in his career. The disparity between Smith and Rodgers has to do with more than circumstances, however. Rodgers has been better across the board. I think his personality would have helped him fare better than Smith has fared. Matt Cassel, the second quarterback selected in Kiper's re-draft, lacks the physical skills Rodgers possesses. I think he might have become another Smith if the 49ers had selected him. The 49ers would have been just fine selecting DeMarcus Ware, the second player chosen in Kiper's re-draft.

8. Arizona Cardinals

Actual pick: Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami

Kiper re-draft pick: Jay Ratliff, NT, Auburn.

My thoughts: Rolle converted to safety and earned Pro Bowl recognition before leaving Arizona in free agency. He wasn't good enough over the course of his time with the Cardinals to justify the early choice, however. Ratliff would have upgraded the Cardinals' defense. Arizona wouldn't have leaned so heavily on veteran nose tackle Bryan Robinson, who has played too many snaps. I might have sent Frank Gore to the Cardinals on a re-draft, however (Gore went 17th in Kiper's version). Taking away Gore from the 49ers and sending him to Arizona would have headed off the Edgerrin James signing while weakening a division rival. Having Gore and Kurt Warner in the same backfield would have upgraded an offense that already had outstanding weapons in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

19. St. Louis Rams

Actual pick: Alex Barron, T, Florida St.

Kiper re-draft pick: Logan Mankins, G, Fresno St.

My thoughts: Mankins would have provided needed toughness and leadership. Barron's tenure became a yellow blur thanks to all the penalties he incurred. Darren Sproles was available in Kiper's re-draft and he would have given the Rams an scary one-two punch at running back, but building along the offensive line would have made more sense. Mankins became a Pro Bowl guard. The Rams wound up selecting guards Richie Incognito and Claude Terrell in this draft. Incognito lacked self-control and flamed out of St. Louis. Off-field issues drove Terrell out of the league. Selecting Mankins early would have averted the mistake on Barron while sending the team in another direction in the later rounds.

26. Seattle Seahawks

Actual pick: Chris Spencer, C, Mississippi

Kiper re-draft pick: Barrett Ruud, LB, Nebraska

My thoughts: The Seahawks got more immediate help at linebacker by selecting Lofa Tatupu in the second round and Leroy Hill in the third. Seattle would not have reached the Super Bowl following the 2005 season without Tatupu bringing together the defense, in my view. Ruud did not start as a rookie. Tatupu went 15th overall to Kansas City in Kiper's re-draft. Some of the other players I would have sent to Seattle in the 26th spot were also gone in the re-draft. Given how Super Bowl XL turned out, the Seahawks could have used another safety. The team liked safety-turned-linebacker Thomas Davis that year. Nick Collins and Oshiomogho Atogwe were gone on a re-draft.