Defense wins in battle and football. It is a great equalizer. This has proven to be a successful premise for the Viet Cong and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Cal Bears pulled off a few upsets the last few seasons. They did it with defense. The anchor of that defense was 6-4, 265-pound All-American defensive end Andre Carter.
The San Francisco 49ers desperately needed a running back in the draft. They did not get one with their first pick, but this may prove to be an ironic twist of fate – in a good sense.
On Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers did the right thing. Better yet, they made a huge step toward making their team a Super Bowl contender again. In this age of free agency and salary caps, the good news is that teams can make the transition from middle-of-the-road to dominance in the NFL, and the team is on the verge of re-entering this rarified air.
San Francisco has Bill Walsh. A smart cookie, Bill. Bill had his thinking cap on Saturday when the Niners traded up with Seattle. This is his swan song. Walsh is a man with a sense for history, and you had better believe the man wants his last one to be a good one.
“I like Carter,” says three-time Bay Area draft analyst Bob Lee, who has been to three Super Bowls. “The 2000 draft was the 49ers best since the John Taylor/Tim McKyer draft in 1986. They had 12 guys and they all stuck.. The trick is to repeat that and upgrade.”
The Carter pick is a very good start. There were some flashy offensive guys still available, including a few quarterbacks. None of them reminded the 49er brain trusts in New York and Santa Clara of Joe Montana or Jerry Rice.
They also could have gone for a couple of celebrated linebackers, Dan Morgan of Miami or Arizona State’s Adam Archuleta.
Carter is a great pick.
He is a local kid from Oak Grove High in San Jose. His father, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, starred in Denver and is coaching the defensive line at Washington. The Redskins probably wish they had the young Carter instead of the old man.
Rubin was an All-American at the University of Miami and a member of Denver’s 1977 “Orange Crush” Super Bowl team. He was tough and smart.
Andre could have taken the money after his junior season, but he stuck around for one more year of the college experience. He is a great example of why this is usually a good idea. Rated the fifth-best defensive end in the nation prior to the 2000 season, Carter improved tremendously.
Now, he will get more money, a chance to play at home, and the maturity to step in and be an impact guy soon.
The Cal connection has taken shape in San Francisco. Steve Mariucci recruited Carter to attend Cal. There is no doubt that he got the word from former 49er Tom Holmoe: Carter is the real deal!
Carter did have minor surgery on his ankle after Spring practice in 2000, but all indications are that health is no issue whatsoever.
San Francisco has not had a Pro Bowl defensive end since 1980. Not that we want to put too much pressure on Andre.
The big year for Carter was the off-season between his sophomore and junior years in college. He was a USA TODAY First Team Prep All-American who was rated the nation’s number five defensive lineman in 1996 by Parade. It was a weight-training program that put on 15 pounds of lean muscle mass between 1997 and 1998 that put him firmly on the pro radar. He refined his skills last year, and is now as close to a finished product as a rookie can hope to be. He can clean and press 380 pounds and benches 415. He has a 35-inch vertical leap.
The NFL is not a mystery to him, either. He spent one summer training at the Redskins’ facility under his father’s guidance. Sports Illustrated predicted that Carter might not even go in the first round prior to the 2000 season, so the All-American Carter, through hard work and patience, has made himself one of the most improved players in the draft.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism