49ers Productive Day 1
April 21 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The 49ers started off day one of the 2002 draft by addressing one of their largest needs. The team wanted to improve it's defensive backfield in order to compete with explosive, three receiver offenses, and in first round pick Mike Rumph they did exactly that. Rumph brings lots to the table and will give the 49ers a versatility in their defensive backfield that they haven't had in an extremely long time.
In the second round the team traded away its 61st position to the Bills and in so doing, acquired the 69th position (third round) and 102nd position in the fourth round. The move gave the 49ers ten picks in the draft, and two in the fourth round.
With it's newly acquired third round pick the 49ers selected linebacker Saleem Rasheed. Rasheed was a linebacker I had rated very highly prior to the draft. He's fast, and is always around the ball. He's capable of playing all three linebacking positions, and was the guy the team had been targeting in the second round.
"We had six or eight guys on the board at the time we made the trade," added Mariucci. "To move down, acquire more picks and still get a guy we wanted in Saleem was just too good to be true."
Initially Saleem will be asked to participate on special teams to help alleviate the loss of Terry Killens. He will also be asked to be a consistent backup for the team and will see time in rotation as well. Saleem brings to the 49ers another body who can really push the squad the 49ers fielded last season. He adds much needed depth to the position, and continues to improve the over-all team speed.
The third round pick, 69th overall was the 49ers final of the first day. They will start day two off early with one of the top selections of the fourth round. Expect the 49ers to continue trading on Day 2.
Extra Point - The first round time limit should be reduced to ten minutes. Fifteen minutes is excessive especially with 32 teams currently filling out the league. By reducing the time limit by only five minutes, the NFL can go from a first round maximum length of 8 hours to a maximum of 5.33 hours. Wouldn't that be much more realistic?