Darrius Heyward-Bey looks highly unlikely to ever live up to his draft status. Entering the third year of his less than impressive pro career DHB has been outperformed by most every receiver taken after him in the ’09 draft including teammate Louis Murphy who didn’t hear his named called until the 4th round.
Despite all that the Raiders are still in a better place for having passed on Michael Crabtree.
On draft day the collective football world laughed when Hey-Bey came off the board before Crabtree. In actuality the real crime is that DHB and Crabtree were picked ahead of Hakeem Nicks. But that’s another topic.
Today we’re just focusing on all the reasons why the 49ers are the team that really whiffed on draft day nearly three years ago.
Since becoming a resident of The City Crabtree has done little to dispel the notions of his diva nature. While his production has been much better than Heyward-Bey’s his attitude has helped to continue the struggles of that other Bay Area football team.
Say what you will of DHB – and I’ve said plenty – the youngster is all heart. He is a hard worker with a team first mentality. Hardly enough to justify the more than $20-million in guaranteed cash but more than enough to explain why the Raiders are rising while the Niners remain stagnant.
Al Davis has had a change of heart in recent years. He’s no longer in the market for locker room destroyers. Davis wants builders.
On draft day Heyward-Bey’s work ethic was a side note. Sure, he was a project and the whole world knew it. But at least he was willing to put in the work.
Crabtree has been MIA in San Francisco’s player organized workouts and once he did attend he made waves by tossing his QB under the bus. While there is no defending Alex Smith there is something to be said for sticking up for the guys you go to war with.
If Crabtree was supposed to be a can’t-miss-talent then why has his production remained the same in two years of pro ball? You can miss me with the QB argument by the way. It’s not like Calvin Johnson has been playing with Joe Montana.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve watched Crabtree play. Dude has some serious game. No doubt about that. But at what cost?
Give me guys with a team first mentality any day over divas with selfish tendencies.
Let’s be real though. DHB can’t get by on his work ethic alone. He’s got to produce and soon in order to have a real horse in this race. Truth be told the days could be numbered for both Hey-Bey and Crabtree. DHB’s lack of production could move him further down the depth chart while Crabtree’s T.O.-Lite personality could have him shipped out of The City.
While there is no defending Davis’ obsession with Heyward-Bey’s size and speed there is something to be said for placing an equal premium on character.
No matter how their careers turn out, I have no doubt the Oakland Raiders are in a better place for having given Crabtree the cold shoulder. Chances are the passing game would be better with a Percy Harvin or a Kenny Britt in Silver and Black. We can debate Davis making a mistake by grabbing Heyward-Bey as high as he did but you can’t deny he got it right by passing on Crabtree.
Have fun with that, Harbaugh.