Saturday night was like Christmas morning for 49er fans, as Texas Tech wide receiver Michael "No Way Does He Fall To The Tenth Pick" Crabtree fell to the tenth pick and was instantly nabbed by San Francisco. The Raiders passed on the "draft's top receiver", in what is being seen as Oakland's most generous gift to San Francisco since the Dru Bell/E-40 remix of "I Got Five On It".
Crabtree caught an astonishing 41 touchdown catches over the last two seasons at Texas Tech, and and also won the Biletnikoff award for the nation's top receiver -- both seasons. He was the most productive receiver in the NCAA two years in a row. He's even the cover boy for EA Sports' "NCAA Football 2010". Is there anything that Michael Crabtree can't do?
Evidently so, and that's why nine other teams passed on him. For one, Crabtree couldn't run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, then cancelled his Texas Tech Pro Day workout. The culprit was a stress fracture in one of his feet, and he's since had a screw surgically implanted into his foot. Feet requiring surgically-implanted screws are often a bad omen for a young professional athlete. Plus, well, teams don't really actually know how fast he can run.
"I think when you look at the film, you see a guy who has a different speed," Coach Singletary said at a press conference immediately following the pick. "I don’t know how fast he is. I just know that when he catches the ball, there’s separation there."
That's some great analysis, coach! Who does your due diligence, Bernie Madoff?
More potential red flags popped up when the Cleveland Browns nixed Crabtree from their draft board. Tony Grossi's Cleveland.com blog notes that Crabtree "brought a diva attitude on his visit to the (Browns') club facility," and that "Crabtree was described by some in the building as "not nice.""
But the most disturbing aspect of Michael Crabtree was pointed out by Coach Singletary himself in the post-draft press conference. "We sat down and talked, and I said, ‘What is your hobby? What is one of your hobbies?’," Coach said, describing his one-on-one with Crabtree. "I’m really into fashion. I like designing things.’ And I’m looking at him, so I said, ‘Wait a minute, hold on. Fashion? Wait a minute now. How can this, what do you mean fashion?’ He kind of broke it down a little bit. But, he’s really into clothes."
"Really into fashion"? "Really into clothes"? Is that what you want out of an NFL player? Or does that just validate the "diva" label?
If Crabtree doesn't work out as a receiver, he can at least recommend to Singletary a nice pair of pants to pull down at halftime.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who wants to know the current balance on Michael Crabtree's Macy's card.