NFC West: Stephen McGee
That hadn't happened since 1983, when Dan Marino was the sixth quarterback chosen.
The distinction fell to Colin Kaepernick this time. The Nevada quarterback wasn't happy watching NFL teams select five other quarterbacks before San Francisco traded up nine spots to select him 36th overall.
"You want to prove that you should have been the top pick, that other quarterback shouldn't have been taken ahead of you," Kaepernick told ESPN's Colin Cowherd. "To me, I take that kind of personally, that teams thought I was the sixth-best quarterback and not the best quarterback."
Marino, chosen 27th overall in his draft class, fared OK.
The chart lists the sixth quarterback drafted every year since 1999. Kaepernick and Shaun King were the only ones selected higher than 81st overall. Tom Brady was famously the seventh quarterback selected in 2000.
Kaepernick will be trying to defy trends. Not only have the sixth quarterbacks in recent draft classes struggled, but so have most passers chosen in second rounds over the years.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers would draft Michael Crabtree with the 10th overall choice, if available. He says the 49ers would draft Knowshon Moreno over Chris Wells in the unlikely event they decided to draft a running back early. The team would be happy to draft Andre Smith at No. 10, but taking Michael Oher in that spot might not be a slam dunk. LSU's Tyson Jackson could be the preferred defensive lineman, over B.J. Raji. The team probably wouldn't take Malcolm Jenkins at No. 10. Brian Orakpo? Probably not. And it's unlikely the team would take Aaron Maybin or Everette Brown that early, either. Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing could be higher priorities than Maybin or Brown.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee forecasts which players he thinks the 49ers will select with each of their picks. The list: Oher, running back Shonn Greene, outside linebacker Paul Kruger, quarterback Stephen McGee, inside linebacker Scott McKillop, receiver Brandon Gibson, outside linebacker Pierre Walters, receiver/quarterback Julian Edelman and tight end Bear Pascoe.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says there's value in the later rounds. He points to Pat White, Brian Hoyer, Chase Patton, Austin Collie, Ramses Barden, Kory Sheets and Ian Johnson as later-round prospects to watch.
Gary Plummer of 49ers.com says NFL teams can't measure a player's heart. Plummer: "I was never even invited to the Combine and I was never drafted, but I went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL. With those experiences, I've always rooted for guys who don't get drafted."
Niners scout Todd Brunner says the team has spent recent days making sure it has discussed every draft-eligible player.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' public-relations department shielded coach Mike Singletary from reporters in the days leading to the draft. Crumpacker: "It's just as well. General manager Scot McCloughan put the 49ers' draft board together and will be making the call for the club."
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle made me chuckle with this description of the NFL draft: "Today is the worst day of the entire NFL draft process, because it is the day that all the speculation ends and your favorite team is stuck with the choice it made rather than awash in the dozens it could have."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic previews the Cardinals' draft in general terms. Forget about getting specifics from Rod Graves or Ken Whisenhunt.
Also from Somers: It appears receiver Anquan Boldin will remain with the Cardinals through the draft. Trades are often contingent on a player passing a physical. The acquiring team also needs time, in many cases, to work out a new contract with the player. Somers: "The Cardinals are surprised there hasn't been more interest from teams, who apparently think the cost is too high, considering they would also have to come to terms with Boldin on a contract that would pay him an average of $8 million to $10 million a year."
More from Somers: The Cardinals would have no interest in Titans running backs LenDale White or Chris Henry if Tennessee offered either player as part of a trade for Boldin.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com previews the Seahawks' draft options. Johns: "As much as teams talk of drafting the best player available regardless of position, there is an impetus to pick athletes who will be in line to earn starting roles before long in order to justify their draft position and salary slot."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' first-round picks haven't panned out all that well under general manager Tim Ruskell, who has one year remaining on a five-year contract. Yes, this draft is important for him and the organization.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com takes a peek inside the Seahawks' draft room at their new facility. It's 1,600 square feet, twice the size of the old one. The rapport between Ruskell and vice president Ruston Webster transcends location. Webster: "You know what's sad? When we say something at the same time. That scares me. But it really is good. I know how he thinks. And I think for him, it's important to have somebody who understands that. And he knows how I think. For the most part, we were kind of brought up in this business the same way, so our philosophy is the same."
Tyler Dunne of Scout.com says the Seahawks would draft Wake Forest safety Chip Vaughn in the third round if available.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams are putting an emphasis on character in this draft. Wagoner: "Fortunately for the Rams, most of the players they are considering in this year's draft are about as well rounded and mature as any crop of recent potential draft picks. Offensive tackles Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe, linebacker Aaron Curry and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez have received rave reviews for their personality and attitude at every stop they've made along the way. Taking Curry as an example, he has invited 12-year-old Bryson Merriweather, a leukemia survivor from Madison, Ala., to be his special guest at the draft in New York City."
VanRam of Turf Show Times warns against dismissing talk that the Rams could draft Sanchez with the second overall choice.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says he would draft Curry from Wake Forest with the second overall choice if he were making the decision for the Rams. However, all signs point to the team selecting an offensive tackle.
Also from Thomas: The Rams' need at tackle appears too great to ignore early in the draft. Thomas: "Michael Crabtree, the wide receiver from Texas Tech, basically eliminated himself from consideration with what Rams Park sources said was a diva attitude during his pre-draft trip here. Apparently, his rock star mentality was a big turnoff to coaches and front office personnel. Couple that with his foot injury, and the feeling in Earth City was that he wasn't worth the trouble. As for Sanchez, what first looked like pure smokescreen seemed to turn into downright infatuation. To some at Rams Park, Sanchez possesses the leadership qualities -- the 'it' factor -- that may be lacking in Marc Bulger. But at the end of the day, the Rams appear committed to Bulger for at least one more season."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says the 49ers use pre-draft visits to answer lingering questions about a prospect. Lynch on Mark Sanchez: "Possibly the most intriguing prospect because of the position he plays. With the leadership a quarterback demands, having him visit is always a good idea, but with Mike Nolan gone, who's going to run him through ridiculous drills to test his ability to blindly follow authority?"
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee doesn't think the 49ers will draft Sanchez. Barrows: "My read on the subject is that the 49ers feel they have three quarterbacks perfectly capable of running the type of offense that Jimmy Raye is cooking up for this season. Remember, Raye enjoyed his greatest success with Elvis Grbac at the helm. Remember also that Shaun Hill is 7-3 as a starter and that the 49ers' decision makers still believe in Alex Smith."
Revenge of the Birds wonders whether Plaxico Burress' release makes the Giants more eager to trade for the Cardinals' Anquan Boldin. Just about every player can be had for the right price. What would the Cardinals take for Boldin? What would a receiver-needy team offer for him? We've never heard anything tangible on either subject, which probably means the Cardinals haven't been shopping Boldin.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times expects significant improvement from the Seahawks in 2009. O'Neil: "I think the Seahawks figure to bounce back significantly. I expect the defense to be greatly improved under a new coaching staff and an attack-oriented philosophy. Whether the Seahawks can bounce back to the top of the division will depend upon Matt Hasselbeck's health. Will his back hold up for the whole season?"
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune asks 10 questions heading into the Seahawks' upcoming minicamp. One answer: "With [Mike] Holmgren's long shadow gone, this is team president and general manager Tim Ruskell's team now. And whether or not the team rebounds from a lackluster season largely falls on his shoulders. If Seattle returns to its playoff form, he likely will get a lot of the credit. However, if the Seahawks continue their slide, Ruskell, who makes the personnel decisions, probably will get the lion's share of the blame with Holmgren now gone. So this season is an important one for Ruskell."
Charean Williams of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram says the Seahawks are among the teams to have worked out Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee.
Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts considers McGee a likely late-round choice who could spend time on a practice squad in 2009.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams cornerback Tye Hill. Thomas: "Hill obviously is behind that schedule as he prepares for his fourth NFL season. He had a decent rookie year, opening the season at nickel back but eventually starting 10 games following injuries to veterans Fakhir Brown and Travis Fisher. Hill shared the team lead in interceptions (three) on a Rams pass defense that ranked eighth in the NFL. But in the two seasons that followed, injuries prevented Hill from enjoying the breakout season that he -- and the Rams' coaching staff -- had anticipated."
Also from Thomas: Knee issues might have delayed Gus Frerotte's signing with the Rams, clearing the way for Kyle Boller to become the Rams' backup quarterback.
VanRam of Turf Show Times thinks the Rams' run defense needed help at middle linebacker and strong safety as much as along the defensive line. New strong safety James Butler is in place.