NFL Nation: 2006 NFL draft

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.
Two of the first 10 players selected in the 2006 NFL draft are scheduled to start in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.

Both are starters for the San Francisco 49ers.

Both were arguably selected higher than their positions warranted in terms of value.

Both have earned Pro Bowl recognition in recent seasons. Both have made high-impact plays in postseason victories over the past two seasons.

Tight end Vernon Davis and strong safety Donte Whitner are key players for the 49ers heading into the team's Super Bowl matchup against Baltimore.

I've singled out Davis in this item because the seventh-year tight end provided yet another high-impact postseason performance Sunday, his third 100-yard receiving game in four playoff appearances over the past two seasons. Davis also had a 44-yard reception against Green Bay last week in his lone playoff performance totaling less than 100 yards.

As the chart below shows, Davis accounts for three of the five highest single-game postseason yardage totals for tight ends over the past two seasons. Davis and Dallas Clark are the only NFL tight ends with more than one 100-yard receiving game in the playoffs since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Each has three.

The Ravens have allowed only one postseason touchdown pass to a tight end since 2001. They have allowed only two 110-yard receiving games to tight ends in regular-season or playoff games since 2001. Philadelphia's Brent Celek had 157 yards against the Ravens last season. San Diego's Antonio Gates had a 105-yard game against Baltimore in 2007.
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.

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