The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

4.0 vs 40 Yard Dash

While I may never hear my name called #1 overall, or hold the jersey of my new, professional team next to Roger Goodell, I can say I’ve been through the draft process.

The entire college process felt like the NFL Draft. For four years I worked on my credentials—GPAs, APs and intangibles. Similarly, NFL-hopefuls worked on their sacks, average yards per carry and added stickers to their helmet. While I took the SAT, QBs and WRs across the country ran routes. While I studied for my AP Exams, college players reported to pre-season workouts. While I coached flag football, team captains lead on-field celebrations and post-game film review.

Finally the big day comes. In my case this is spread over a painful two weeks of impersonal letters, mass emails and ridiculously complicated passwords. In the case of college players, what must feel like several weeks is actually just three days.

While my college decision has a lot more impact on my life, almost as important to me is this year’s NFL Draft. From April 28-30, teams will risk their futures on fresh-out-of-college talent. Every 40-yard dash, ‘wonderlic’ question and inaccurate pass from Cam Newton will be scrutinized until the very moment the coaches panic and draft Darrius Heyward-Bey 7th overall—even though he was projected to go closer to 70th.

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The 49ers are drafting in the same position the Raiders did two seasons ago, yet they’re bound to make a better pick. With new coach Jim Harbaugh in place, talent evaluation has been at the forefront of this offseason’s checklist—so no blasphemous picks of receivers without hands or quarterbacks without brains.

Also much like the Raiders, the 49ers have several glaring needs. QB is an obvious issue, as former #1 overall pick Alex Smith has worn out his welcome and is ready to move elsewhere. Two years ago, when the Raiders took Heyward-Bey, the 49ers lucked into the best athlete in the draft in WR Michael Crabtree, and last year, the 49ers added over 600 pounds of man to play on the O-line. Cornerback and outside linebacker are pressing needs too and may be better options in the first round.

A lot weighs on both decisions—college and multi-million dollar 20-year-olds who are expected to change the fortunes of a franchise—but I think its safe to say there’s only one decision that matters.

Here’s to hoping the 49ers don’t draft the next Jamarcus Russell.

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