NEW ORLEANS —
Crabtree still carries a chip on his shoulder and is out to prove he should have been drafted higher. He held out for 71 days as a rookie before signing in October 2009 and becoming a starter less than three weeks later. He wouldn’t change much about how things have gone so early in his NFL career.
After all, had he gone to the Oakland Raiders with the seventh overall pick that year — they selected Darrius Heyward-Bey instead — Crabtree would be watching after yet another losing season in the East Bay. The Niners grabbed him three spots later at No. 10.
“I watched him as a youngster, I watched him in college,” Baltimore receiver Jacoby Jones said. “When he came out and he held out, I was interested to see what he was going to do. He came in and I was like, ‘This kid can play.’ I like his game. He’s got great hands, great route runner.”
Colin Kaepernick sure thinks so. Crabtree quickly became the second-year quarterback’s top target after he took over the starting job under center midseason.
“He does a lot of things well and he’s a very physical receiver,” Kaepernick said. “He wants to get in the end zone every time he touches the ball. As a quarterback, that’s something you love.”