Two-time consensus All-American and back-to-back Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree was undoubtedly the best receiver in the 2009 NFL Draft class and the top pass-catcher on everyone’s board. Everyone except the Oakland Raiders, that is.
The Raiders selected Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick that day, stunning everyone involved, including ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
“I’m shocked. I’m happy for Darrius Heyward-Bey… great kid, now a couple games this year he did not catch a pass , but he was shut out in two games. Not the guy that you throw the ball and can depend on. I gave it an F grade. I don’t know how you pass up Michael Crabtree at No. 1. …I’ve got to give it an F. In my opinion there’s no way you can pass up Crabtree.”
But Crabtree’s reaction to Oakland’s pick was definitely less perturbed and more amused.
It was no secret neither he nor his family wanted to end up in Oakland, so falling to San Francisco at No. 10 was actually a blessing in disguise. Questions about his work ethic and injury issues were silenced when Commissioner Goodell called his name three picks after the Raiders passed on Crabtree.
In five seasons with the 49ers, Crabtree has 279 receptions for 3,629 yards and 22 touchdowns.