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Monday, April 13, 2009

QB Matt Stafford will visit the 49ers

You may be wondering why this is news. We know that draft prospects visit dozens of teams before the draft. They check out anyone and everyone who is interested in picking them. Teams look at any viable prospect for their first round pick. So, the most touted quarterback in the upcoming draft visiting the team with the 10th overall pick, shouldn't be surprising. However, communications and dealings between the 49ers and Matt Stafford have been rocky at best.

Stafford visited with 49er scouts at the combine. The 49ers were very thorough in their evaluation of Stafford. They even had their team psychologist meet with him. This is where things got dicey. The team shrink pushed Stafford to discuss his parents' divorce which happened during his childhood. Stafford was not comfortable with the line of questioning, prompting the shrink to state that the QB had "unfinished business" with the divorce.

49er Head Coach Mike Singletary backed up the shrink and stated that "If you're looking at drafting a guy in the first round and you're going to pay him millions of dollars, and asking him about the divorce of his parents, if that's going to be an issue, then you know what, maybe he doesn't belong here"

Following the Coach's statement, analysts and fans alike, wrote off any possibility of the 49ers picking Stafford. And, with the Lions looking to possibly get a QB with their #1 pick, it seemed unlikely that the 49ers would even take another look at the Georgia standout. Now, Stafford plans to visit with San Francisco today. Surprisingly, some draft boards even have Stafford slipping to a lower spot, possibly the 10th. This phenomenon is what I like to call "doing a Leinart"; a reference to former USC QB Matt Leinart's drop to the 10th spot in 2006.

Was the whole divorce/shrink thing overblown? You bet. Do the 49ers have the need for a franchise QB? Does a car need tires? Yes. They need a young, athletic, QB to be the face of their organization. Personally, I was hoping for the 49ers to take Mark Sanchez with this pick. But, if Stafford is available, he will be the best talent on the board at the time. I have to admit that I'm glad that the 49ers and Stafford have decided to meet again. If anything, it shows a willingness to communicate on both sides.

If I were a betting person, I would bet that this visit between the Georgia QB and the 49ers will be a moot point. Stafford will go #1 (or at least in the top 5) and the 49ers will never get the chance to draft him with the 10th pick. Then again, I never would have guessed that Matt Leinart would have fallen to the 10th pick either. Anything is possible on draft day.

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