Niners line-dancing with Davis, Iupati

Posted April 22, 2010 @ 10:29 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Suffice it to say, the Niners couldn't have been more intent on strengthening their offensive line in the 2010 draft.

How else do you explain giving up a fourth-round pick to Denver to move up two spots in the first round to select Rutgers OT Anthony Davis and then selecting Idaho's Mike Iupati, PFW's top-rated offensive guard, six spots later.

The handwriting might have been on the wall that the Niners were going to emphasize the O-line way back in February when they earned high marks after first hiring Mike Solari to replace Chris Foerster as the line's new coach and then adding Ray Brown, a former Niners guard who played from 1996 to 2001, as Solari's assistant.

The 6-5, 328-pound Davis should fit right in either at right tackle, which has been a glaring weakness the last couple of seasons, or at left tackle, with the rock-solid Joe Staley moving to the right side.

Davis is considered a terrific pass blocker with excellent feet. There are some observers probably wondering whether the team might have made a mistake by not taking Iowa's Bryan Bulaga instead of Davis, whose work ethic and weight problems were red flags in the eyes of many.

But Niners head coach Mike Singletary has displayed a magic touch up to now with players who have been perceived as lazy on occasion, the best example being his work with TE Vernon Davis. Look for him to get Davis in line in a hurry.

As for Iupati, the best guess is that he will make a serious push to become the team's starting left guard, his natural position. But look for incumbent David Baas, who came on after a slow start last year, to have very different ideas, with a healthy battle likely to materialize.

At the Combine, Iupati appeared to be extremely mellow, and you have to wonder just a bit if he will be ferocious enough on the field. But he's a big-time mauler who should quickly make his presence felt.

In a perfect world, Singletary would prefer a run-oriented smashmouth offense featuring RB Frank Gore. With Davis and Iupati goring opposing D-linemen, the Niners' head coach might get his wish sooner than later.


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