NFC West: Nick Mangold

Parys Haralson and Delanie Walker departed the San Francisco 49ers' roster this offseason after entering the NFL has 2006 draft choices with the team.

Another member of that 49ers draft class, fullback Michael Robinson, was a valued contributor to the division-rival Seattle Seahawks when the team released him Friday with age and salary-cap considerations in mind.

The 2006 class has been good to the 49ers. The team continues to get top-shelf contributions from tight end Vernon Davis, one of the team's two first-round picks from that 2006 class.

Mike Nolan was coach and Scott McCloughan was general manager for the 49ers back then. Some of the personnel moves they made continue to sustain the team. Frank Gore, Tarell Brown, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Ray McDonald and Davis remain as players drafted under Nolan. All are valued contributors. Another Nolan-era pick, Adam Snyder, is back with the team as a reserve offensive lineman after spending 2012 with Arizona.

Davis is one of 10 first-round picks from 2006 playing with his original team. The list also includes A.J. Hawk, Haloti Ngata, Chad Greenway, Tamba Hali, Davin Joseph, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Nick Mangold and Mathias Kiwanuka.

Faneca eager to lend leadership

April, 30, 2010
Alan Faneca's interview with XTRA910 radio in Phoenix, transcribed in part by, produced confirmation of how the Cardinals' newest lineman found out about his release from the Jets.

Faneca was having dinner with Jets teammate Nick Mangold when coach Rex Ryan called. It was a "hard phone call" for both men, Faneca said. Looking forward, though, the nine-time Pro Bowl guard says he's eager to get started with the Cardinals. Having Faneca fall into their laps stands as a welcome development for the Cardinals.
Faneca on leadership: "I think guys, especially younger guys, feel better around guys like myself who've been in the league awhile. They love to bounce questions off you, which is great. How else is a young guy going to do it if he doesn’t have someone there to help him and teach him? I was very fortunate, when I came into the NFL, there was nothing but veterans on the offensive line. I’m sitting there going into year one, and I think six or seven of the other guys are on eight years and above. It was the best thing that ever could have been for me, man."

The Cardinals already have a few veteran linemen. Some of the younger ones -- Levi Brown, Brandon Keith and Herman Johnson come to mind -- could presumably benefit from Faneca's perspective. I would think Faneca's addition at left guard could help Brown's transition from right to left tackle (to be fair, though, former starting left guard Reggie Wells did play through an injury that might have limited his productivity last season).

I don't see Faneca's addition reflecting poorly on Wells or any other linemen on the Cardinals. This was simply a rare opportunity for Arizona to add an accomplished player with very strong ties to the coaching staff from their days together in Pittsburgh, a player the Cardinals wanted to sign when Ken Whisenhunt took over as head coach in 2007.

Note: Faneca audio here.

A suggestion for 49ers in first round

February, 28, 2010
Kevin from Sylmar, Calif., writes: Hey Sando, you talk about how scouts do not project Mike Iupati to transition from guard to right tackle. Do you think that it is possible that the Niners could select someone like Trent Williams with the 13th pick and Lupati at No. 17?

That way you could move David Bass to a backup role if he is re-signed. It would be similar to what the Jets did a few years ago with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold.

Mike Sando: I like the Jets comparison because the 49ers have wanted to become a power running team as well. As the Jets' site notes, their selection of Ferguson and Mangold marked the first time since 1975 that an NFL team selected two offensive linemen in the first round of the same draft. The Rams did it with Dennis Harrah and Doug France in 1975.

Your thinking is sound in theory, but the reality is that the values San Francisco places on players in this draft could make it difficult or even impossible for them to justify going that route at the expense of any higher-rated players available to them in the round. It's impossible to know right now which players will be available. It just seems unlikely that the value would justify going that route based on all the other potential scenarios.

I do like your thinking in theory, except that the ideal scenario would be to find effective starting offensive linemen later in the draft, saving the higher picks for positions of greater impact. The 49ers would be addressing an area where a team can't have enough quality depth among the nine offensive linemen that typically earn 53-man roster spots.

Williams unofficially ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.8-second range, pretty remarkable for an offensive tackle. The 49ers will value size over speed as they look for a right tackle, and Williams has that, too (6-foot-5 and 315 pounds). Even though the 49ers have wanted to become a physical running team, it's important for their right tackle to hold up well in pass protection. I think it's an absolute must if they seriously consider drafting a right tackle among the first 17 picks.

Wilson, Willis lead NFC West All-Pros

January, 14, 2010
The recently announced 2009 NFL All-Pro team has as many former Seahawks (two) as current NFC West players.

The Cardinals' Adrian Wilson and the 49ers' Patrick Willis made the team, as did former Seahawks Steve Hutchinson and Leonard Weaver.

Niners tight end Vernon Davis appears capable of making a serious run at the tight end spot next season.