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Q&A w/ Niners First-Round Pick Michael Crabtree

Former Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, drafted by San Francisco with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, told Sporting News’ Bill Eichenberger and other reporters that he considers himself the best of the receivers class despite being drafted behind Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey, who went at No. 7 to the Raiders. He plans to prove just that in ’09.

Q: How was the wait in the green room? It seemed like it was a little longer than you expected.
A: The key to this situation is being patient. And I feel like I’ve done that my whole life.

Q: Even though you weren’t the first receiver chosen, do you still feel like you are the best receiver in this draft?
A: I always feel like I am the best. I work to be the best.

Q: How did you deal with the all the pre-draft rumors about your injured foot affecting your draft stock?
A: I’m one of those guys who doesn’t watch TV at all. The only way I know is if my little brothers tell me, or my cousins, or my mother. Whatever they say I just turn that into motivation.

Q: Will you feel any extra motivation when you play against those nine teams that bypassed you?
A: I will keep all of that in mind. I feel like I am in a situation where someone wants me and needs me. I can’t wait to put this red, black and gold on.

Q: Any concern about the 49ers’ unsettled situation at quarterback and whether someone can get you the ball?
A: I have no idea. As soon as I get there, I’m looking forward to working hard with all those guys. We’ll try to make each other better.

Q: Do you think NFL teams underestimated Graham Harrell, your quarterback at Texas Tech who went undrafted but later signed on with Cleveland?
A: He’s a football player. When I was working, he was working with me. So I know he’s a hard worker. He’s a steal. He’s going to progress every year.

Q: Do you take pride in the fact three guys who played high school football in Dallas—Crabtree, QB Matthew Stafford and OT Jason Smith—were among the first 10 picks?

A: That’s a good deal. It’s never happened, right? Top 10, three people from Dallas. I bet Dallas is going crazy.

Q: Who was your football idol growing up?
A: Barry Sanders. I loved Deion Sanders, too. There’s something about those Sanders’ guys.

Q: How do you feel about playing for the same team and at the same position as Jerry Rice, widely considered the greatest wide receiver of all time?
A: I know I have some big shoes to fill. I’m looking forward to that, too.

Q: Will you be comfortable if 49ers fans start comparing you to Rice?
A: It’s a privilege to be compared to him. He’s a great player, if not the best receiver to play the game. I just take all of that in and try to get better every day.

Q: Have you met Rice?
A: I met him at Deion Sanders’ place. He came to my cousin’s house when I was doing the whole agent search thing. He’s a good guy, behind the scenes.

Q: Did he give you any advice?
A: We didn’t really talk about football. Mainly it was about off-the-field things. He just told me to keep working hard and keep a level head.

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