NFC West: Tony Jackson
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The first six players NFC West teams selected that year have not met expectations: quarterback Alex Smith (49ers), cornerback-turned-safety Antrel Rolle (Cardinals), tackle Alex Barron (Rams), Spencer, guard David Baas (49ers) and running back J.J. Arrington (Cardinals).
The next four players NFC West players selected -- Lofa Tatupu (Seahawks), Ron Bartell (Rams), Frank Gore (49ers) and Oshiomogho Atogwe (Rams) -- have either achieved Pro Bowl status or become front-line starters.
The Seahawks, Rams and 49ers each have four members of their 2005 draft classes on their active rosters. The Cardinals have two.
The Rams found four current starters in Barron, Bartell, Atogwe and third-rounder Richie Incognito.
The 49ers found Gore and right tackle Adam Snyder, while Baas and Smith could wind up starting this season.
The Cardinals have only Rolle and backup guard Elton Brown to show for that 2005 class.
Tatupu and Gore are the only Pro Bowl players from the 2005 NFC West draft class.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Ikee from Philadelphia writes: Ok Mike, I asked you a question before asking if Nolan was fired do you think Alex Smith might come back to San Francisco for a pay cut or if he still had a chance to be the No. 1 QB.
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|Could Mike Holmgren make a return to the 49ers?|
I would still like to know if Smith may be back next year, but I also would like your thoughts on the future of the franchise. Do you think Mike Singletary will remain the head coach and what about Mike Holmgren? Everyone knows he wants to join the 49ers in some way in the future. Could that be as a head coach or a GM and if so how soon?
Mike Sando: Mike Holmgren told his family he would take the 2009 season off. I expect Holmgren to honor that promise. He'll have other opportunities, perhaps even in San Francisco. But unless his family urges him to dive back in right away, Holmgren will probably sit out next season. I have wondered, however, if his thinking could change based on what happens this season. If the Seahawks finish with a horrible record, would it make Holmgren need the year off even more, or would he be itching to bounce back sooner?
Whatever timeline Holmgren follows, I'm sure he will do his homework about an organization before taking a job, for reasons explained in this 2005 Holmgren profile I wrote from the NFL meetings in Hawaii. In short, Holmgren clashed with then-Seahawks president Bob Whitsitt. As Holmgren put it then:
"I really came to Seattle thinking it was something else. I'm not throwing anybody under the bus, but I thought it was going to be something, and it wasn't that, and then you kind of live with it. Then at some point you say, 'Man, what was I told when I first came here? This is not even close.' But you know what? Having said that, I don't regret my decision at all."
You can count on Holmgren taking precautions to ward off a repeat in his next job. He'll get things in writing to make sure the organization is set up the way he wants it set up.
As for Mike Singletary, I think he'll have to grow into the role in a hurry and win games to keep the job. Nolan was learning how to be a head coach while being a head coach. He wasn't very presidential in his dealings with people. The head coach should be able to handle people more effectively. And by people, I mean people beyond the players. Holmgren does that very well. Singletary must prove he can do that better than Nolan. He has to win games and this is not going to be a consistent team with a first-year starting quarterback.
It's too early to make a call on Alex Smith's future with the 49ers past this season. Having Nolan leave doesn't hurt the odds, that's for sure. But we still do not know who will be coaching the team in 2009. That's the key.