NFC West: Noah Herron
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike SandoThe 49ers hold the 10th, 43rd, 74th, 111th, 146th, 171st, 184th, 219th and 244th choices in the 2009 draft. For perspective, I've singled out the last four players chosen in those spots.
The Lions' selection of USC receiver Mike Williams with the 10th overall choice is enough to raise those familiar red flags for receivers drafted in that range. The last 10 receivers drafted between seventh and 10th overall were Ted Ginn Jr., Troy Williamson, the aforementioned Mike Williams, Roy Williams, Reggie Williams, David Terrell, Koren Robinson, Plaxico Burress, Travis Taylor and David Boston.
How many of those once-highly regarded wideouts would you want on your team right now? Not many. Only four have NFL jobs. For those hoping the 49ers might draft a USC quarterback [Mark Sanchez] in the first round instead, it's been done at No. 10 recently and with unconvincing results.
Justin Tuck at No. 74 in 2005 stands out as a terrific value, but I also credit the Giants for developing him.
The 49ers could use a young prospect at safety. They could do worse than the Ravens did when they made Dawan Landry the 146th player chosen in 2006. Landry became a starter as a rookie.
The Cardinals would like to find a potentially dynamic running back in the upcoming draft, as we have discussed.
Their general manager, Rod Graves, will guide decisions on the matter with input from college scouting director Steve Keim, head coach Ken Whisenhunt and presumably others in the organization.
For perspective on decisions the team might make in the 2009 draft, I've singled out the halfbacks Graves' teams have drafted since 1993, when Graves was with the Bears. His teams also drafted fullbacks Joel Makovicka, Dennis McKinley and Ron Janes, but halfback is the position we'll consider for this exercise.
None of the players listed in the chart became long-terms starters for Graves' teams. Raymont Harris started most of three seasons for the Bears.
With that in mind, I checked the Steelers' drafting history at running back during the years Whisenhunt was an assistant for them.
Willie Parker was undrafted. Jerome Bettis entered the NFL with the Rams. The Steelers did not draft a running back before the fifth round (166th overall) while Whisenhunt was with the team from 2001 to 2006. The team did draft fifth-rounder Verron Haynes and seventh-rounders J.T. Wall, Noah Herron and Cedric Humes.
Perhaps the Cardinals and Whisenhunt can start a new tradition drafting for the positon in Arizona. Tim Hightower showed some promise as a rookie in 2008, but not enough to keep the starting job.