On your marks, get set, debate Crabtree

We should schedule a Michael Crabtree discussion periodically just to get the blood pumping.

Linking to Matt Maiocco's piece from our latest "Around the NFC West" post got us talking Thursday morning.

2009 Draft: Crabtree and Top Eight WRs

"While fans expect 1,000-yard seasons from a player chosen with the No. 10 overall draft pick," Maiocco wrote, "the 49ers' offense is not one that features the outside receivers.

"Some view Crabtree as a bust. I am certainly not in that camp."

Indeed, there are mitigating factors to explain why Crabtree's production has lagged compared to other highly drafted receivers from the 2009 NFL class. A rookie contract dispute, injuries, the 2011 lockout, coaching turnover, a run-oriented scheme and spotty quarterback play come to mind. Of course, every team has its issues. The 49ers weren't the only ones.

"I agree with Maiocco," red n g0ld wrote. "Pretty hard to judge 'Crabs' when you consider our run-heavy scheme and that Alex Smith prefers the short passing game and tight ends."

"Yep, we're not built to have any flashy numbers out of our WRs," randdles added, "which is why I think that Randy Moss isn't gonna be particularly happy, especially with the other WRs we brought in. He might not even have one catch per game."

"It hurts me to say it," 4tni9er wrote, "but I think Crabtree would have prospered more with an offense that has more emphasis on the passing game (with another QB). There is a resistance from his side to Alex Smith, but it's getting better."

"Of all the 10 people who drafted ahead of Crabtree (Aaron Curry included), only Matthew Stafford, B.J. Raji and possibly Mark Sanchez are better value," 4949centennial wrote.

"I guess one could say it isn't primarily Crabtree's fault for the type of offense they have been running," Prominent_49ers wrote. "You would think he would produce just a bit more than what he has done so far for the team."

"I think the definition of 'bust' needs to be flushed out while trying to view Crabtree," joe_cool585 wrote. "While Maiocco may not view him as a bust, Crabtree sure as heck hasn't lived up to the reasonable expectations of a top 10 draft choice."

The first chart shows where Crabtree ranks among the eight receivers chosen in the first two rounds of the 2009 draft. The chart below shows stats for all eight of those players.

2009 NFL Draft: First Eight WRs Selected