The 49ers’ best and worst draft picks of 2016

Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to think about the draft, which 49ers picks do you think were their best and which were their worst? Here’s my list.

Best picks

1. Jeff Driskel, QB, Round 6, Pick 207

Thirteen teams drafted quarterbacks before the Niners took Jeff Driskel, and at least six of those teams reached. The Jets reached for Christian Hackenberg in Round 2. The Patriots reached for Jacoby Brissett in Round 3. The Browns reached for Cody Kessler in Round 3. The Raiders reached for Connor Cook in Round 4. The Cowboys reached for Dak Prescott in Round 4. And the Bills reached for Cardale Jones in Round 4.

The Niners waited until the end of Round 6 and took a quarterback with more potential than all the other ones I just listed. Driskel is an explosive athlete who played very well last season at Louisiana Tech. He’s similar to Carson Wentz, another athletic quarterback who had success at a small school – North Dakota State.

2. DeForest Buckner, DE, Round 1, Pick 7

I’m guessing DeForest Buckner was Plan B and Ronnie Stanley was Plan A for the 49ers.

They probably could have gotten Stanley if the Chargers had taken offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the third pick like most people expected they would. But Tunsil dropped to Pick 13 after a video emerged of him smoking marijuana, so Stanley became the first offensive tackle drafted. The Ravens took him with the sixth pick.

And the Niners ended up with Buckner, a good Plan B if that’s what he was. He’ll be a tremendous upgrade over Quinton Dial as interior pass-rusher on third downs next season, but probably won’t play much on first and second downs until he gets stronger.

I rank Buckner No. 2 and not No. 1 because I’m not sure he was the right player to take with the seventh pick. Offensive tackle Jack Conklin, whom the Titans drafted with the eighth pick, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, whom the Bears drafted with the ninth pick, and even Tunsil, whom the Dolphins ended up drafting, may have better careers than Buckner.

3. Joshua Garnett, G, Round 1, Pick 28

Of all the 49ers’ picks, Garnett probably will make the biggest immediate impact. He was by far the best guard in the draft, he should start right away and he should significantly improve the 49ers’ running game until Carlos Hyde gets injured.

But I rank Garnett No. 3 for a couple reasons: One, he’s a terrific guard, but there were a lot of players at different positions who were available and may be better than Garnett. Two, he probably won’t play more than five season with the 49ers. They don’t re-sign guards.

Instead of taking Garnett, the Niners could have taken the best defensive end available, either Vernon Butler or Chris Jones. And instead of taking Buckner with the seventh pick, the Niners could have taken Conklin or Tunsil, played either one at left guard for a couple of seasons and move that player to left tackle when Joe Staley retires.

Worst picks

1. Will Redmond, CB, Round 3, Pick 68

Nickelback was one of maybe three positions at which the Niners already were set.

They spent a first-round pick on that position just two years ago when they drafted Jimmie Ward. They also spent a fifth-round pick that year on a nickel back – Keith Reaser.

With all of the holes the Niners currently have on their roster, holes at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, running back and wide receiver, the Niners spent their high third-round pick this year, which practically is a low second-round pick, on yet another nickelback.

And not just any nickelback. An injured nickelback. A nickelback who tore his ACL in October and may or may not play next season. Probably shouldn’t play season. Even if he could play next season, where would he play? Nickelback?

Wasn’t there someone the Niners could have drafted in Round 3 who plays a different position and doesn’t have a reconstructed knee?

Instead of Redmond, the 49ers could have taken outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun, outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell, nose tackle Andrew Billings, cornerback Keivarae Russell, cornerback Eric Murray, running back Kenyan Drake, running back C.J. Prosise, inside linebacker Nick Vigil, inside linebacker B.J. Goodson, inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, wide receiver Leonte Carroo or wide receiver Braxton Miller.

2. Rashard Robinson, CB, Round 4, Pick 133

I don’t have a problem with the Niners taking a cornerback here, but I do have a problem with the cornerback they took.

Robinson is stiff. He lacks agility. He’s weak. He’s thin. He has poor feet and poor technique in press coverage. He’s a bad tackler. He started only eight games in college. He intercepted only one pass. And he hasn’t played football since midway through the 2014 season because LSU suspended him indefinitely.

Other than that, he’s terrific.

Instead of Robinson, the 49ers could have taken running back Kenneth Dixon, running back DeAndre Washington, running back Paul Perkins, running back Jordan Howard, running back Wendell Smallwood, running back Jonathan Williams, running back Alex Collins, wide receiver Jordan Payton, wide receiver Trevor Davis, wide receiver Rashard Higgins, cornerback Zack Sanchez or cornerback LeShaun Sims.

3. Fahn Cooper, G/T, Round 5, Pick 174

Cooper was the third offensive lineman the 49ers drafted.

The first was Garnett, who will replace Alex Boone at left guard. The second was John Theus, whom the Niners took with their second pick in Round 5 and will compete with Erik Pears to be the backup swing tackle.

I understand why the Niners drafted Garnett and Theus. I don’t understand why they drafted Cooper. He’s not big or athletic enough to play tackle in the NFL, so he’ll have to move to guard, which he didn’t play in college. He has to learn a new position and get a lot stronger.

He’s a project. Down the line, he may develop into a dependable backup guard.

How badly did the Niners need another guard? They already had Garnett, Andrew tiller, Zane Beadles, Brandon Thomas and Marcus Martin.

Instead of Cooper, the Niners could have taken running back Keenan Reynolds, inside linebacker Devante Bond, tight end Jerrell Adams, wide receiver Cody Core or outside linebacker Dadi Nicolas.

  1. “Of all the 49ers’ picks, Garnett probably will make the biggest immediate impact. ”

    Not coincidentally he was one of the only selections to a position of need.

  2. With the exception of Driskell, I agree across the board. Their best picks were the first two and it’s questionable as to whether they took the BPA with either one.

    I really hope I’m wrong on Driskell because he could make this a much better draft if he is as good as some around here think he is.

    1. If I’m wrong about Blair being a mis-fit for this defense I think he could end up being one of our better picks as well.

  3. “’m guessing the DeForest Buckner was Plan B and Ronnie Stanley was Plan A for the 49ers.”

    If that’s true they should have used that 4th to move in front of the Ravens and drafted Stanley.

  4. “2. Rashard Robinson, RB, Round 4, Pick 133″

    go ahead and delete this after you make the correction

      1. *Sigh Buckner will be groomed for the Justin Smith role. Lynch will slide over to play off him in the Aldon Smith role. The “Smith Brothers” that were our entire pass rush during the Harbaugh years will look to be recreated. Ward will eventually be moving to free saftey and Reid strong safety with Redmond taking over the Nickleback. Tart will play a hybrid LB/safety role similar to what the Arizona Cardinals do, to free up Bowman from a lot of his coverage responsabilities. Robertson, Prince, Cooper and even Driskell are projects for the future. Once you understand the purpose of what they were drafting for, it paints and clearer picture. This was an awesome draft. Easily the best draft Balke’s had so far. 9 to 10 players drafted could make the final 53 man roster. That doesn’t happen very often in the NFL. Very under the radar and under-rated draft.

  5. Seahawks best picks:
    1. C.J. Prosise
    2. Jaran Reed
    3. Alex Collins

    Seahawks’ worst picks:
    1. Germain Ifedi
    2. Rees Odhiambo
    3. Zac Brooks

    1. Ifedi might take longer to develop then you would like most first rounders but I think overall he’s going to be a fine right tackle one day. The value of the pick will be questionable until that point but ultimately I think that he’ll make Seattle look good for making it.

        1. Except they really didn’t fix their most glaring issue, O line. Instead of taking three backs, Maybe taken three O linemen would have proven more prudent. I think Surprisingly, I thin the Seahawks are going to struggle against our line next year. Too bad our offense will probably suck once Hyde gets hurt.

  6. Raiders best picks:
    1. Jihad Ward
    2. Shilique Calhoun
    3. DeAndre Washington

    Raiders worst picks:
    1. Connor Cook
    2. Karl Joseph
    3. Vadal Alexander

    1. Grant ..

      I’m assuming you think Cassie’s daddy
      drafted camp fodder @ Rd 4 – Pick 133 ..

      … and you’re surprised .. ?

  7. Grant, I agree with much of the draft breakdown.

    I’m sure I’ll be surprised down the road when some of the picks I thought were good flop, while others I thought were blah turn out to shine.

    I like most of the picks, but I have the sinking feeling the 49ers could have gotten more.

    I like the really Buckner pick. The 49ers are desperate for stars, and Buckner has pro bowl written all over him. But the cost was steep. The Browns got trading 8+176 for the Titans 15+76+*2017 2nd. Wow. That’s a nice haul. From a chart standpoint, the Browns got a free upper 3rd rounder (*Based on Football outsiders having the Titans picking 16th in 2017). The 49ers could have made that deal.

    But I still feel pretty good about Buckner. I can’t wait to see him in action.

    I like Garnett too. The trade-up price was painful though. Good players to be had at 105.

    Redmond better turn out to be good. Baalke passed several probable starters for Redmond.

    The Blair experiment will be really well or flop. That’s fine for a 5th rounder. He’s not a 3-4 fit. I don’t see him being a starter. But if he can pressure in nickle packages he’s well worth the 5th rounder. Who cares where he lines up. Its a gamble pick.

    1. The Blair Experiment will be interesting. You’re right, he’s a Nickel player. But he’s also a run-defense specialist. Could be useful against Seattle who likes to run out of 11 personnel on 1st and 10.

      1. Grant

        Good breakdown, I like how you included alternatives. I like your take on Driskel, and I agree with what you wrote about Redmond, Robinson, and Cooper, because of the alternatives you gave. I think Buckner will play a majority of the defensive snaps, however, and I believe Garnett was their best pick, and if he doesn’t get injured (a la Iupati), he will get a 2nd contract with the team. Guard is a more important position than Tackle in Kelly’s offense, surprisingly.

        What are some reasons you believe would be used by Baalke in support of drafting Robinson and Cooper? I’d like to know what you think their positive attributes are as well.

        1. Thanks. Good questions. I think the Niners like Robinson because he fits their athletic prototype for an outside corner, which I’m guessing is 4.4 speed, 32-inch arms and height of at least 6-1. Very few corners fit those semi-arbitrary numbers in this draft.

          Cooper is tougher to figure. My best guess — the team is preparing itself in the event it cuts Brandon Thomas.

          1. Thanks. Robinson seems like a flyer to me. Big boom potential, with a season of professional conditioning. Hope he can stay clean with his professional pay checks.

          2. While I agree with a lot of this Grant, I do disagree with a couple of your evaluations.

            I think your description of CB RASHARD ROBINSON is way off. I have my reservations about this pick due to character concerns, but as a long, tall press corner, his skill set is very impressive, and his potential ceiling is sky high, IMO.

            I’m assuming you took a look at his long slender legs, and thought that automatically translated to him being “weak”, because I can think of no other reason why you would use this description. He sure doesn’t play that way on film. If you watch the film VS Mike Evans, who’s bigger and stronger than most NFL WR’s, Robinson’s strength stood out, not just me, but most NFL scouts. Sure, he’s got a slender build, especially his lower half, but some athletes are simply built that way regardless of strength. Kaepernick is a perfect example of someone who’s legs are a whole lot stronger than they look. The work he has put into building up his leg strength puts most quarterbacks to shame, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his slender legs, would you? Robinson will put on weight, and he’ll get stronger, but his legs will always look slender, just like Kap.

            And I think you are simply making up all of the other descriptions you used for Robinson because, while he’s a bit raw, and needs to tighten up some of his technique, he’s certainly doesn’t lack agility or look stiff for a guy with his length.

            And if you had listed his strengths, for example:

            He’s a tremendously long athlete with cover skills to blanket his target in press-man. Recovery speed allows him to sit on short and intermediate routes. Can flip hips and accelerate with his man down the field. Smooth change of speed to mirror double movers. Thin, but not soft. Plays to his height and it often spells doom when he has receivers pinned against the sideline. In 2013, held then-Aggie Mike Evans to four catches for 51 yards. Willing to do his part when he has to tackle. Explosive from stand still and can close quickly on throws or receivers. “Robinson has just 8 career starts under his belt, but that tells you what the 49ERS think about his upside. Robinson is a long, press corner leaking with talent. If he stayed clean off the field, he’s likely a top 40 pick. There are plenty of question marks, but he’s an early candidate for steal of the draft”. –Mark Dulgeria (NFL.COM)

            you would see, his strengths outweighs his weaknesses, big time!

            As for WILL REDMOND, if you had been following Baalke’s assessment and plans for JIMMIE WARD, you would know that the team was always planning on moving him back to Safety, which is his natural position he played in college. They only moved Ward to Nickel Corner because they desperately needed a good slot corner, and it was never viewed as anything more than a temporary move.

            As for REASER, it’s clear the brass view him as more of a backup at this point. So, while you may be in the minority of people who don’t see Redmond’s rare athletic qualities, especially the hips, as well as his technique, which could make him an exceptional Nickelback, not liking the pick based on position of need is simply misguided, IMO.

            1. Robinson posted awful agility numbers and just five reps on the bench.

              Is the Ward experiment at nickel back over?

      2. Great spot. Seattle likes to spread defenses out, hypnotize them with Wilson run/passes, then gouge them with inside runs.

        With the Willis-Bowman combo now history, the 49ers have to pull an ILB off the field on passing downs like the rest of the mere mortals.

        When Tartt’s on the field in nickle he will be tested by runs. That’s where the Blair experiment can come in handy. He has good run instincts, can hit gaps, and stack-n-shed too.

        1. Keys to the 49er defense
          – Rush the passer
          – Stop the run when Tartt subs for an ILB

          If they can’t, its going to be a rerun of last season.

          Keys to the 49er offense
          – Healthy Hyde
          – Healthy O-line. Stanley, Garnett, Kilgore, Beadles, Brown is far better than the typical game O-line out out most of last season. But if one gets hurt…
          – A young WR emerging from the cast of thousands. Patton, Ellington, Smelter, Rogers, White… anyone?

          1. I agree with this. One surprise could be Andrew Tiller beating out Zane Beadles. Tiller was good last season.

              1. Strange, if it’s true what Maiocco says, for 2 reasons: (1) Garnett said he was looking forward to playing next to and learning from Staley; and (2) the right side of the line would include a rookie and a 2nd year Rd7 pick.

                Somewhat related, Brown looks awesome this season already, looks to have really taken to professional conditioning, and his size and athleticism put him into a potential HOF category. And he’s smart, vocal, and mean.

                Totally unrelated, looks like the 49ers, through their website (since we read into it so much these days), are promoting a Bowman-Hodges partnership. Check it out. Hodges appears to be blown away by Bowman’s work ethic and leadership, and wants to emulate him; if Hodges has been so clueless to elite work ethic until now, and based on the growing bond between the two guys, we might see a huge jump from Hodges next season, which would explain why we didn’t draft Scooby Doo.

              2. I think the best pairing will be Garnett on the left and Tiller on the right. What has Beadles done lately?

                You’re probably right about Hodges. I think the Niners want to like him.

              3. Yup, and I liked the Tiller/ Brown combination last year. Imagine if they had started all year at those positions.

                Beadles may disappear like the 2015 Free Agents.

            1. I would think they would put Garnett on the left side due to it being his natural position and the fact he would be next to Staley. If Beadles did win the RG job, he in turn would be the vet on that side next to Brown. I can’t see them moving Tiller to LG at this point either.

              1. Garnett seems perfect for pulling from the left side with runs to the right. The perfect counter play if ends are crashing on the inside zone.

      3. Blair has nice, low pad level. I wonder how he’d work in goal line defenses. Not as an NT or DT, but out a little wider disrupting runs to a particular side of the field.

  8. I agree with this fully. The CBs were terrible picks and i feel makeups for the CBs drafted in 2014 and also not being able to secure a free agent like Norman or Smith

  9. “until Hyde gets injured” you’re so pessimistic.

    Remember when last year when practice squad guys, Chris Davis and Cromartie got playing time? Yeah, that’s why you can’t have enough DB’s. Especially in a pass happy league. Plus, 49ers most likely will not be picking up Ward’s option, and/or most likely will be moved to safety. Ward has foot concerns too. Redmond provides a solid backup for a few years to develop for his starting position. R. Robinson has the athleticism and is tall, in his Freshman year he was starting at LSU and did a good job against Tex A&M WR Evans who was a top 1st round pick. Your assessment of Robinson is exactly what “experts” said about Richard Sherman.

        1. I guess we differ on what constitutes a valid point. Justifying the ignoring of a need areas by saying it was a terrible draft for that position is not a valid point.

          Saying the team most likely won’t be picking up Wards option is not a valid point.

          Focusing on one game to try and pump up a player buried in red flags while ignoring all the negatives is not a valid point.

          Anyway I think you get the picture now. This is another cheerleader/team apologist who believes everything is just dandy and the team made all the right decisions. We have a growing collection now.

          1. Meh, I think you’re butt hurt over Goff and wake up in the middle of the night with cold sweats. Always the same image, The Twin Towers collapsing on him….

            1. Hey at least my assessment of Goff was the right one as far as where he would be drafted and viewed by the league. Not one of your finest arguments on this board.

              1. Yet, he may be thrown to the wolves, and get the Alex treatment. Goff better get stronger really quick.

              2. Your assessment has to play the game, and he has to do it in one of the most physical divisions in the NFL. Plus, he’ll be tutored by Jeff Fisher. These are the excuses you can make when he is a NFL bust….

                I watched some footage of Goff from Rams cam, and his legs looked like twigs. Break a leg buddy….

              3. My assessment was that he was a franchise caliber QB deserving of being a top 5 choice. Yours was well. incorrect.

              4. Yea, a top 5 pick at the quarterback position never, ever is a bust. When exactly did Goff prove himself a NFL franchise quarterback?

              5. This isn’t even about his prospects at the NFL level Razor. You were disparaging this kid relentlessly and didn’t think he’d be a first round pick at one point. You have already been proven wrong in that regard. I think he’ll be a very good NFL QB too, but the assessment I’m referring to is the one about his draft standing.

              6. I said he would not be drafted in the top ten, and that I wouldn’t take him until the top of the second round. Why? Because he’s not ready and needs to sit a year. Since when have the Rams been a good assessor of quarterback talent?

      1. Rocket

        It beats having just another ‘down-in-the-mouther’…yeah, we’ve got enough of those too

        1. Oregon,

          Is it really bad to point out the negatives if they are true? Seriously, tell me what I have been, or am completely wrong about and let’s figure out if I’m a down in the mouther as you say, or just a guy who sees reality instead of fantasy.

          1. I think you’ll have your hands full when Goff and his little Rams play against the 49ers. Your feelings will be conflicted and you’ll need to come to grips with it sooner rather than later. Will you root for the defense to crush Goff, or will there be a little something deep down inside that says, go Goff, go!

            1. There won’t be any conflict. I’m a Niner fan and he plays for the Rams. I went through the same thing when the Niners took Smith and Rodgers went to GB. The sweater overrides the individual player.

          2. Rocket

            “…One man’s trash is another man’s treasure;….” sort of ‘one man’s reality is another man’s fantasy’….your reality means nothing to me….

        2. I suppose listening to the down-and-outer’s IS something of a drag. And then you see that the same people who have been making the decisions that put us here, are still here-making the decisions.

  10. Everyone needs to stop with the “didn’t draft ILB” rhetoric. This was a horrible draft year for ILB talent, last year too. Every guy Grant mentioned is on the same level or not better than Shane Skov. Hodges, with an offseason with 49ers will be a good fit with fellow Penn St. LB and mentor Bowman.

  11. Grant keeps mentioning RB need. They have Hyde, Mike Davis. Remember Draughn? They picked the guy off the street and did a serviceable job. Harris even looked good. Now they draft Kelvin Taylor who obviously has the pedigree, and the “best RB foot speed in the draft” says Greg Cosell. He will fit in very nicely.

    1. Davis may not make the team. Draughn is a receiver out of the backfield. And Harris isn’t a lead back. the Niners are screwed once again if Hyde goes down.

      1. 4th round pick a year ago RB Mike Davis isn’t making the team? What are your sources on this? or was he not in enough mini camp pictures for you?

          1. Exactly… every running back in the league should be able to average what Davis did last year. And, while I’m not a big fan of Taylor, if they are close he should get the nod.
            The truth is, even if most of us don’t want to admit it our running back talent is below average. Because Hyde, while good, has yet to prove he can stay on the field for any significant amount of playing time. And what backups do we have that could be looked at as an every down back?
            This is why I hate teams that draft change of pace backs… its code word for one dimensional.

            1. Shoupbj

              It’s pretty amazing what some good Oline play can do for some below average RB’s….I DO expect some of that….Something that peeves me a bit, is that to read some of the posts..one might think that our opponents never get old or injured…remember, we were in the SB only 4 years ago…we had our shot and we blew it…but there are still some good players wearing Scarlet and Gold, and we just added to them….

  12. According to Pro Football Focus, Kelvin Taylor forced only 48 missed tackles on 258 rushes last season, but he forced 11 missed tackles on just 18 receptions. That’s his value. He’ll be receiver on screens and check-releases out of the backfield.

    1. I like Taylor. The 49er passing game hasn’t been very good overcoming TFLs that force 3rd and long situations. Taylor’s quick feet in the backfield and vision should help limit TFLs. Zero fumbles should help too. A solid pick for a rotational back.

      But this draft was deep in quality rotation backs with power and speed. Jonathan Williams would have been my ACL pick at 145, or Darius Jackson or Daniel Lasco at 211.

  13. I love it when reporters use terms like stiff hips like they have any clue what they are talking about. All of a sudden they have a deep understanding of scheme and technique when evaluating football players like they are somehow football people now. And then they want to draft Rb’s every round like this is fantasy football! Stick to being a reporter and stop playing “look at me I can evaluate football players” I’m embarrassed for you

  14. Grant

    In regards to your analysis of drafting Cooper I disagree. Mind you I am going off of feedback from numerous folks like yourself. But, based off of the information provided he seems like a better pick than Theus. Beadles is one of those two years deals to bridge a gap. Thomas seems more and more like a failed project, Martin is a bust, Tiller is up for debate, and Cooper received positive feedback about his athleticism and what he put on tape when filling in for Tunsil. I am not crowning him a future starter but it was a solid late round pick that could pay dividends in the future.

    1. Since Cooper was one of my 3 hits in the draft, I will champion him day and night. Still, I could see that he does have flaws, but like Scott said, I like his athleticism.

      Should be a spirited competition, and with Flaherty as the O line coach, I hope he creates another SB line.

  15. When the Chargers made the mistake of taking Bosa, the 49ers had to be pleasantly surprised. Buckner is the best DL in the draft, and his stamina is unparalleled. Not to mention a perfect schematic fit.

    Garnett has what Stanley doesn’t. A mean streak. Every offensive line needs at least one guy that brings a nasty disposition to the party.

    The 49ers seem intent on eventually moving Ward to FS, and either Reid or Tartt to SS. Bethea will either play one more year or be traded, so Redmond is fine as long as his knee is healthy. Robinson has all the potential you could ask for in the 4th round, and they need to develop another outside corner.

    The Blair Fifth Project looks like a potential steal along the lines of Lynch-Pin.

    Cooper and Theus are rolls of the dice but he came up sevens with Trent Brown in the 6th….

  16. After your hyperbolic previous post, this one was well reasoned and insightful.

    My only criticism is the Driskel optimism. He was picked 14th for a reason. Those Florida games were not pretty, and excelling against lower level competition is exactly like Wentz. I foresee him struggling, too.

    However, if Driskel can sit, study, learn and get stronger, he will get the Aaron Rodgers treatment. Lucky he has Kaep and Gabbert ahead of him.

    I would put Buckner, Garnett and even Blair ahead of Driskel, because I think they will play a lot more than him. Driskel does have potential, just not this year.

    1. You’re right, the Florida games weren’t pretty. But I don’t think Wentz would have played any better at Florida when Driskel was there.

      1. You may be right, Florida did have turmoil due to the coaching. I am just wondering how they will do in the NFL, and both may benefit from not having to start right away.

        Actually, I am hoping Driskel can be utilized as a TE. With his size and speed, he could be a formidable weapon, and then there is always the flea flicker possibilities.

          1. Gosh. I guess you have never heard of a QB being converted to another position.

            I guess you are deliriously happy living in your world of absolutes, but Chip Kelly is smart, and will see those possibilities.

            1. Well, guarsh Seb, if a guy isn’t a top-pedigree QB, then yeah, give him a chance to play somewhere else, Miller or that Raiders QB/WR now on the Browns.

              But not when that QB is Jeff Driskel. Learn about him. He’s got everything it takes to be great.

              If any QB on this team is getting moved to TE/WR, it’s Kap.

              1. Kaepernick will give Chip Kelly his first triple option and the Three Headed Hydra will be looking for meat….

              2. Well golly gee willikers, that makes a ton of sense. Lets convert the last QB that took the Niners to the Super Bowl into a TE.

            2. Seb

              Any one who has been on this blog for any amount of time BS (Before Seb) knows that you are the biggest Kaeperholic of all time, and would come up with any and every excuse/reason to keep Kaep on the team despite his struggles getting traded, Arizona QB camps, inability to see the whole field, can’t find his second receiver, and inaccuracy. Most recently turning the worm and suggesting trading our first string QB (Blaine), and now turning our second string QB (Driskel) into a tight end. Do you really think nobody noticed ?

              1. Oregon, I find it deliciously ironic when you decry the negativity of this blog, yet you are one of the most implacably, relentlessly and predictably negative posters about Kaep.

                Yes, I fully admit I like Kaep, and the main reason is, because I think that he gives the Niners the best chance to get that sixth ring.

                I have suggested trading Gabbert, because I think he will give the best value, and unlike you, think that a QB with a 5-28 record is not Super Bowl material. In fact, he has never even sniffed the playoffs, so he may be a swell guy who is popular with his team mates, but that will not translate into wins. Gabbert was lucky that Quinn went brain dead, the Bears missed 2 kicks and the Rams had a FG blocked, or Gabbert may have been 2-31.

                I have suggested turning Driskel into a TE because Chip may like Thad better, and the Niners will not carry 4 QBs on their roster.
                You may consider that an insult to Driskel, but I am just trying to find him a role, and a place on the roster. He may even be able to step onto the field next season, and help contribute.

              2. Oregon, maybe you had not read my posts, but for a long time, I considered Kaep to be gone. I wished him well, but lamented the fact that the Niners would be relegated to the cellar. Jed would be happy being rewarded with the first pick, but just whiff by drafting another ACL pick.

                I worried that with Kaep gone, the Niners would be forced to draft a QB early, and miss out on an elite defender. Thank goodness that the Rams and Philly reached for the 2 best QBs, so now the Niners could not draft one of them, and their deals had ramped up Kaep’s trade value so much, that the Broncos could not afford him any longer.

            1. Seb

              Deliciously ironic…well maybe…I DO decry the negativity on the blog…and yes, I probably am THE most implacably, relentlessly, and predictably negative posters about Kaep…I do freely admit to this.

              I ask you how can you state that you believe that Kaep gives us the best chance to get that sixth ring given the shortcomings that I and many others have pointed out ?

              Gabbert isn’t a QB with a 5-28 record ….he was on a team that had a 5-28 record…I don’t have to tell you that…you already know it.

              Yes, I DO read your posts, and I’m sure you’ve seen where I have complimented several of them…you also know that had Kaep been the QB on the Jacksonville teams that Gabbert was on, he probably would have fared even worse than 5-28…

              I agree with your last paragraph…in my opinion, I believe that Kaep’s biggest mistake was refuting Denver’s offer…..pi$$ing off both Elway and York…bad odds there……

      2. those FL teams were fairly god awful on offense. i dont watch a lot of college fb but for some odd reason i recall the ‘next Tebow’ show vividly. Chip Kelly has shown a pattern of taking what is given in terms of talent and making a productive offense out of it while giving a variety of QBs the best opportunity for success. it makes sense, therefore, that SF would have 3 QBs possessing a lot of measurable size, speed, and arm talent. the rest of it is the hard part, the pocket presence, game sense, and intuition at the position. again, Kelly typically puts his QB in a position of needing less time (quick play timing), fewer opportunities to make improper read (again quick timing & also quick to los fewer delays), enhancing arm talent (by putting receivers in space). less is required of Kelly QB in terms of throwing receivers open, or otherwise challenging defenders & taking chances with lower probability throws. in the red zone, these principles become more challenging, with shrinking of field & increase in pressure (holding of ball). if Hyde can be more healthy he obviously increases the red zone productivity, as would a young WR or TE being more effective in zone.

    2. Guy went through three coordinators and lost Meyer before he even started. He ended up with Muschump, the first FL coach since 1950 to have two losing SEC records. LA Tech is far more indicative of what we drafted than Florida.

  17. I almost stopped reading this article when referring to Buckner “but probably won’t play much on first and second downs until he gets stronger.” However, I’m a fool and read on.. until this one regarding Garnett took the cake “should significantly improve the 49ers’ running game until Carlos Hyde gets injured.” It’s no wonder you blocked me on Twitter because of arguments like this. Hyde sat out half the season last year because the team was horrible. Further injury prevention. If you didn’t notice, Buckner was the 7th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He won’t be riding the pine on 1st and 2nd downs. Yuck.

      1. Yes, when the roster was loaded with talent. At the time, Aldon Smith was a situational pass rusher who needed to get stronger. Buckner needs to work on some areas but he will see the field more then Aldon did in his rookie year.

        1. He played behind Parys Haralson, who was a role player. Buckner is a situational pass-rusher who needs to get stronger. Teams would run right at him on first and second down.

          1. I don’t care who starts. Is the number of quality snaps that’s important to me. Aldon was a great addition as a sub player. The pass rush role is a nice way to introduce rookie defenders to the NFL.

            If Dorsey and Williams are healthy at some point, I won’t mind a bit if the starting line is Dorsey, Williams, Dial as long as Armstead Buckner are getting snaps. Fresh legs are key late in games/seasons.

            The delima to me is the traffic jam of defenders pegged to play inside pass rusher. Armstead, Buckner, Carradine and now Blair. How does Carradine and Blair get on the field?

            On passing downs, maybe its something like Lynch edge, Armstead inside, Buckner inside, Blair outside. I think some TE stunts looping Buckner outside and Blair inside might work. But what’s Harold’s role?

            1. Cosell suggested Buckner is so athletically gifted, he could even line up in the wide 9 spot on pass downs. Its going to be fun to see what O’Neil eventually trots out.

          2. Buckner is a much more polished player then Aldon was coming out of college. He led the nation in pass rush productivity in 2015 and was 8th against the run. I understand why Armstead rode the pine in 2015, specifically on 1st & 2nd downs.. because he was nowhere near as polished as Buckner is today. He was actually considered a “project”. Not to mention, Ian Williams likely won’t be ready for week 1 vs. the Rams and Dial will probably slide to NT. I’d be surprised if Purcell starts over Dial week 1. Teams are not going to run right at him. He’s disruptive and is going to be a star in this league. Like someone else on this board said, I’ll eat my hat if he’s not a day 1 starter.

            1. Teams ran at Buckner in college and he couldn’t hold his ground against double teams. Watch him against Michigan State. He put up only 21 reps on the bench at the Combine. Aldon put up 20.

              1. He was a great college player, but he will struggle initially against the run in the NFL.

              2. Starter, schmarter. If I were a coach, I’d ask Buckner to do what he can do, and prepare him to do what I want him to do. He’s going to get snaps. He’s going to crunch people. Down the road, he will crunch more people, more frequently.

              3. Grant

                The NFCW is a division with great RBs, but subpar OLs. And I’m not sure the NFL is really geared toward the running game, so unless the 49ers are playing 16 games against the Cowboys, I think you’re missing the point on Buckner. This draft, if nothing else, shows that Baalke expects opponents to pass the ball more than they run it. Whether this is because Kelly will get leads or simply due to offensive trends is up for debate.

              4. Like you have any idea of what putting up reps on a flat bench actually translates to on the field. Stay in your lane Grant.

              5. Grant those players have 34 & 35 inch arms. not exactly fair to expect 40 on the 225 bench. come on. pretty sure Kevin Durant didnt get even 1. Iupati i believe is very long limbed, yet managed high reps. ill give you that, but Iupai is a pretty unusual player. SF was ripped for taking Iupai so high, b/c of course he couldnt pass protect. as such I fully expect Garnett to be similarly successful, though that was under Harbs, who runs a very 1975 concept on offense.

        2. I agree. By the time Dorsey and IDub return from PUP, he’ll be on his way to becoming a monstrosity….

  18. Best picks were:

    – Buckner: 49ers added an elite level DL that can rush the passer. That’s always a good thing.
    – Redmond: Sure, if he doesn’t recover this goes into the worst category, but the upside is huge on this guy. Watch him play. He’s a Bradley Roby clone. And despite Baalke saying he’ll initially work in the slot, he will end up playing both perimeter and slot.
    – Garnett: Needed a guard, got the best run blocking guard in the draft.
    – Blair: Great fit for the 49ers nickel front, which they play 67% of the time. Can play DT or DE, providing a nice rotational piece with some much needed pass rush skills.

    Worst picks were:
    – Robinson: I can see the upside, but the off field history, more than a year away from football and beanpole physique make this an odd pick. Though I don’t see it as odd from a position point of view. 49ers clearly were aiming to address CB in FA and flunked out, so they were always going to look at CBs in the draft.
    – Cooper: Understand the philosophy (OL was dreadful, so draft some OL to compete), but just not a big fan of the player.
    – Theus: Understand the philosophy (OL was dreadful, so draft some OL to compete), but just not a big fan of the player.
    – Iworah: Its a bit rough putting a 7th rounder in the worst picks list, as these are Hail Mary’s anyway, but adding a 7th round CB to the team didn’t seem useful after drafting 2 in the mid rounds and already having a number of young guys at the position. But, good chance anyone they drafted here wouldn’t make the final 53 anyway.

    1. That’s about all you can really ask for from a draft. 3-4 viable starters and a bunch of potential….

    2. Roby has longer arms than Redmond. Redmond doesn’t have the length to play press-man on the outside in the NFL.

      1. Its hardly Roby’s arm length that makes him the CB he is.

        Redmond doesn’t need to play press, he actually has the speed and quickness to mirror.

        Both guys have similar speed and click and close ability, as well as willingness to throw themselves around. Very similar types of players.

        1. Except one has the size and length to play on the outside and the other doesn’t, and one has a reconstructed knee and the other doesn’t.

          1. Wow, that whole 1″ of arm length makes Roby an outside CB but precludes Redmond from playing there? I doubt it. How does Tramaine Brock manage it?

            The knee injury is why Roby went in the first round, and Redmond went in the third.

            Look, we are just continuing to go round in circles on Redmond. You don’t like the pick, even though initially you did. I think he’s a very good talent that dropped due to injury. Lets leave it at that.

            1. Brock has long arms and contests passes at the catch point. That’s how.

              Redmond pre-injury had very little in common with Roby. Buster Skrine is a better comparison.

              1. Redmond is already a season NFL caliber tackler. The only thing I worry about is because of his aggressive nature, he’s susceptible to the double move, a la Janoris Jenkins….

              2. I just can’t fathom how you can disparage a pick in the 3rd round that has the capability to start in the NFL, at a position of need. What more do you want?

              3. CB was taken exactly where he did before with Culliver, and it was taken in order of need. DL/OL/CB.

              4. He has a need at Nickel next year, and it’s always advised to prepare a year before the need is upon you….

        2. Scooter,

          Are you concerned at all about the fact Redmond has 7 career starts and didn’t start until his Sr. year?

          1. Sure. I have concerns with every draft pick.

            Its worth noting though that while he didn’t start as a junior, he did play extensively. Which is one of the reasons he entered his senior season as one of the top rated CBs.

            As for not facing anyone good, he played in the SEC.

            1. Playing extensively is not starting though. He was clearly not thought of as one of the top CB’s on the team or he would have started before his final year. Another question is: how good were the guys he was playing behind?

              1. Ahh, Grant–let the coaches do their job and coach these guys up.
                Much will be reveiled by the second half this year about a lot of players.
                Their was NO player development last year.

              2. That may be more prophetic than intended. I imagine much will be reviled by the second half of the season if the 49ers don’t have a winning record…

  19. Marcus Martin is a bust, and was an overrated prospect to begin with, which was why he fell all the way to the 3rd round in the draft to begin with (and probably would have fell further if it wasn’t for the niners). Brandon Thomas hasn’t been the same since his torn ACL and even when healthy was good in college but nowhere close to elite. Andrew Tiller has had small amount of playing time and is a back up at best. And Zane Beadles is slightly above average stated that apparently he only plays strictly at left Gaurd. With all that in mind Fahn Cooper is an obvious selection in that (if you read up on him) has played every position on the O line other then Center so not only is he versitle but played in the hardest college conference. He is at worst a solid back up Gaurd. But the corners Baalke picked up are terrible, and are actually a downgrade to what we have for sure. Ronald Blair is the steal of the entire draft and will be an elite nose tackle in the NFL. Book it.

  20. I’m still confused about Ballke and his relationship to BPA. My understanding is that “need” does not factor into Best Player Available. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Baalke put the board together based on BPA regardless of need.

    I don’t have a problem with that, but I don’t understand why one would continually pick BPA without considering need, at least at some point. If CB keeps coming up as the BPA every time the team picks, then does it make sense to keep picking a CB (I realize that this is an extreme interpretation of BPA). But to me, I think part of the expertise of drafting is knowing when to insert “need” into the BPA pick. Frankly, it doesn’t seem that hard especially when you have needs everywhere on the team. I’d be curious to know what others think? Thanks.

    1. Baalke may go with the Best Value Available. He does not mind the ACL issues and red flags.

      When the Niners need help everywhere, the BPA may be the Most Important Need, also.

    2. Cubus,

      What you just said here is the exact problem that I have with this draft and Baalke’s drafts in general. It’s fine to stack the board with BPA at each level of the draft, but as the draft goes on, there is less and less of a gap between players and it becomes more of a value in the eye of the beholder situation. I don’t believe Will Redmond for example was much better, if at all than Calhoun, and the need was greater for a pass rusher, so why draft the guy coming off of an ACL? Was a This is where your point about being able to insert need into the BPA argument comes into play.

      Garnett is contrasting example. As good as we think he is and will become, was he really the BPA available at that spot in the draft or was he a need that Baalke targeted and gave up a 4th round pick for? He wasn’t rated as a first rounder in any draft rankings I saw, and other OG’s slid in the draft, so I would guess he was not the BPA.

      So there are two examples of conflicting moves made by Baalke in the same draft. He reaches when he targets a specific player and is stringent in his BPA belief even to the detriment of passing on a greater need later on.

      1. Calhoun represents the same value Harold did. He was always going to get another chance. He doesn’t get it done this year, draft Carl Lawson next year. Redmond was all you could ask for from a talent perspective in the 3rd round, not to mention adds depth at a position of need. Garnett was easily a pick where both the HC and GM both looked at each other, smiled and knew right away what the other was thinking. Same goes for Uncle Buckner….

        1. It doesn’t matter what Harold did or does this year. If you have a chance to add talent to an impact position that is also a clear need, you do it. Calhoun was viewed as the second best pass rusher in the draft by PFF if I remember correctly. He started for 3 years and put up 27 sacks. Redmond started for one year and was gone for the season after 7 games. That may be all you can ask for but not me.

          There is little doubt they reached for Garnett. He could pay off big time or not, but they reached for him.

          1. Garnett was a brilliant move. Goff was an example of an epic reach. I find it amusing that you believe Calhoun was not drafted where he should have been, but Goff certainly was….

              1. That too, but you cite the experts proving you “right”, and then when the experts were proven wrong, you refuse to accept it….

              2. I’m still unsure of what you are referring too here. If you’re talking about Calhoun, he was projected to go in the 2nd to early 3rd so that was fairly accurate.

          2. He could pay off big time or not, but they reached for him.

            Can Garnett really be called a reach if he does pay off big time?

            1. He would still be considered a ‘reach’ in terms of draft value. If the Patriots had drafted Tom Brady in the 1st round, it would be a ‘reach’ because you could have drafted him much later.

              Based on where evaluators had him (2-3) & where Whitehair was drafted, there is grounds to call him a reach.

              Of course, we don’t know whether he truly was one or not. Even the ‘9ers don’t know what other teams boards look like, who they would pick, or what is real information vs misinformation.

              Trading up to 28th from 37th for a G is a bad move imo given where people were projecting him; all we can hope for now is that he’s an all-pro… but I’m disappointed we didn’t wait until 37 because 105 is almost a 3rd round pick.

        2. Actually, I was thinking more of Robinson. Why not draft Dixon instead of Robinson, especially for a team that is committed to the run? Because of that I expected the team to pick a RB before the 6th round.

          And even though it was a 7th round pick, did they really need to pick another CB? That seems to have a high probability to be a throw-away pick. Why not pick a LB or even a kicker since this is probably Dawson’s last year.

    3. I don’t buy alot of Baalke’s “competition” statements. If he were totally happy with DBs and O-line I don’t think he would have drafted 3 CBs and 2 OTs.

      As far as BPA vs Need, Baalke’s a little different. If too many players are “targeted” a team can lose out on alot of value. If none are targeted, it leaves a big roster hole. Baalke tries to split the difference.

      Most GMs try to balance BPA+Need in the same player. Baalke spreads out BPA vs Need among his draft class by “targeting” on key player early, leaning BPA later. It doesn’t mean the targeted player’s taken over above his worth. It mainly means he likes to nail down his primary early to buy flexibility later.

      Targets are usually the first or second player taken. Aldon Smith, Anthony Davis, Jenkins, Reid, Ward, Tartt, Garnett. All picks criticized as “over drafted” at the time. In Baalke’s mind once these guys are nailed down, he can relax and let BPA fall to him.

      This draft Buckner was BPA, Garnett seems to be this year’s target pick. After that he stood pat and never traded up.

      1. I just can’t fathom how he had a nickelback with a torn ACL that high on his board. Aaron Colvin was a fourth-round pick.

        1. At least Kelvalrae Russel, Daryl Worley and Kendall Fuller, all chosen after Redmond, were healthy CBs.

          Jonathan Bullard DT, Shilique Calhoun DE and Shon Coleman OT were all rated higher, so they would have been the BPAs.

        2. Me too. I can’t criticize the pick because I don’t know that much about Redmond, but his pick was a surprise to me.

          Since I’m a fan I have the luxury of being hopeful. Redmond is a nice roster math role player. He allows Ward to move to safety in a pinch or down the road. He can also play slot+outside in the dual Carlos Rogers role, helping with depth at 3 spots… slot CB, edge CB, safety.

          It could provide draft flexibility too. Baalke won’t be forced into drafting a safety in 2017-18 if Reid eventually goes.

          Redmond also reflects a league wide trend where the value of nickle slot guys has risen to starter status.

            1. They wanted him to hone his cover skills with the idea of transitioning him to FS, his natural position. Meanwhile Reid moves to his natural position, SS as they move on from Bethea, or Tartt takes over and Reid goes into F/A….

            2. I remember when Ward was drafted, Fangio pretty much said that the nickel CB was Ward’s to lose. That surprised me because, if I recall correctly, Fangio rarely talked up rookies. It may be that the new coaching regime has different plans for Ward, which they communicated to Baalke prior to the draft.

        3. well Daniel Jerimiah and Mayock thought he could have been a 1st rounder if healthy. I’ll take their opinion, as they actually know what they are talking about vs Grant’s any day of the week

      2. Brodie: It seems like the beginning of the draft went the way you described. It’s the 3rd round plus that mainly has me wondering.

        1. 3rd round plus looked like BPA to me… just doesn’t seem like it because some of the picks were so puzzling. That fact that he didn’t trade up on day two and three tells me he just let players fall to him.

  21. The fact you labeled Redmond as the worst pick based mainly on his ACL injury is a weak argument with little to no merit. Robinson is clearly the worst pick of the draft due to his high bust potential. He has huge question marks on and off the field, and a recent report from Niner Fans from someone that saw Robinson on the field at his current weight questioned whether he could really add any more given his frame.

          1. Chris Harris got better. Adrian Peterson, Gronkowski, Palmer, Von Miller, Revis, Rice, so many high octane guys return to prominence. Don’t count Carradine or Thomas out, as the second year back should be considered Year1. Again, if Redmond plays this season, it’ll be shocking (and likely a bad idea).

          1. ACL tears are so common that it might be worth taking a Rd1 ACL guy in Rd3, due to his apparent athletic/work ethic superiority over what’s available at Rd3.

            That is, maybe it’s worth the gamble if you can get a Rd1 talent in Rd3.

            Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see Carradine and Thomas contribute this year.

  22. Here are the picks the Niners should have made:

    7. Jack Conklin
    37. Xavien Howard
    68. Shilique Calhoun
    105. Nick Kwiatkoski
    133. Kenneth Dixon
    142. Ronald Blair
    145. John Theus
    174. Temarrick Hemingway
    178. Dadi Nicolas
    207. Jeff Driskel
    211. Kavon Frazier
    213. Kenny Lawler

    1. That’s just mean Grant.

      Hey Scooter I would have been ok with this. Arguably 4 starters right from day one.

          1. Yet PFF gave Buckner a +6.3 grade for the game, the highest grade of any player for the game, and Conklin got a… whoa, didn’t even make it into the top 5 for Michigan State that game. Oh well, guess he showed Buckner up.

              1. Did Conklin only play well in that game when he came up against Buckner? Why didn’t he post a better grade for the game?

              2. If he played so well, so much better than Buckner, how is it Buckner ended up with the best grade for the game and Conklin didn’t even crack top 5 for his team?

              3. Buckner got moved out of the hole on the first play before Conklin fell off the block. Then Buckner over ran a draw on the second play. Were those his best clips??

              4. Ha! Yeah, I guess that is one way to look at it. Another would be that Buckner shoved Conklin aside and onto his butt on the first play to make the tackle in the backfield, and in the second drove him back so far that despite over-running the play he was able to turn around and still make a tackle for a loss.

              5. Conklin wins the down initially in the first clip and Buckner can make a play after the runner is tripped up in the backfield by another Oregon Duck. In the second clip, Buckner can make a play only because the running back runs into his offensive lineman.

                Conklin moved Buckner in the running game most of the night and allowed no sacks or quarterback pressures.

              6. Conklin was never winning the battle initially in the first play. At best it was neutral. Buckner was never moved off his point, which is kinda the goal of the OL on a run play. Create movement. And the only way Conklin was able to even hold his ground for maybe a second (if we are being generous) initially involved him getting off balance, which allowed Buckner to completely manhandle him, shedding him easily to make the stop for a loss. If you don’t see that as a big win for Buckner, I honestly don’t know what to say.

                On the second play, Buckner can make a play only because he drove Conklin so far backwards he ended up right next to the RB. He should have been on the opposite side of the field to where the running play was meant to go, and if Conklin isn’t on skates then Buckner isn’t there to make the stop.

              7. The only time Buckner moved Conklin back the whole game was on a draw play when Conklin was backing up anyway. The other play Buckner made late in the down after his teammate set him up. Not a big win at all. Conklin won the matchup that night.

            1. Heard all the Conklin dominated Buckner chatter. Watched every draft breakdown snap of the game. Looked like a nice battle. Buckner won some snaps. Conklin won some snaps. No domination.

              Conklin does well vs power rushers. Speed rushers not so much. I’d take Buckner in the draft over Conklin.

              I’ll re-watch the draft breakdown when I get a moment.

              1. B2W, I saw the same thing as you did. Both had their moments.
                However, Whenever I studied Buckner, it seemed like he moved his man. Buckner was rarely stymied.

          2. Have you seen Conklin hold, and even wrap up, opposing players? big nasty T are great, but he is widely described as a holding penalty waiting to happen. CBs are also described in such a manner, Eli Apple chief among those. Apple was 2nd team all Big 10, and is my worst pick of entire draft.

    2. Grant,

      Are you a scout now all of the sudden? How did you determine why the niners should have picked the players you listed above? I think the niners did just fine with the draft. You cracked me up as last week in a article where you wrote you stated that Buckner will have to get bigger because at 291 pounds he is too thin. Really? 291 is too thin? Buckner plays the weekside 5 technique DE, and by all reports from all the so called experts he was very productive and disruptive at the weight he is now.

      I disagree with you in that Buckner was plan B, and not A. I believe San Diego screwed up by choosing Bosa over Buckner, which worked out for the niners just fine. Buckner is going to have a better career than Conklin, Floyd and Tunsil – Buckner to me is a supremely talented player who plays hard every play.

      Lastly, you want to talk thin, and that would be Leonard Floyd. I like Floyd, but if he is not able to keep his weight up in the mid 240’s to 250’s he is going to get eaten up.

      1. nailed it Richard. Grant knows absolutely nothing and only has this forum thanks to his daddy. The comment section is the only reason people come to this blog.

  23. “The 49ers could have taken … ”

    And why are we to presume the guy “the 49ers could have taken” would be any better than the one they took? “The 49ers could have taken” any number of players at any point. “The 49ers could have taken” Jeff Driskel in the first round, but they didn’t. “The 49ers could have taken” any of hundreds of draft-eligible players who went undrafted. Heck, maybe “the 49ers could have taken” Jared Goff by trading their entire drafts for the next eight years.

    But I’ll say this: The 38 seconds of video highlights I’ve seen on Jeff Driskel and DeForest Buckner, whose names I’d never read before the draft, are certainly impressive. I’m putting down a deposit on Super Bowl tickets now.

  24. The Niners draft two highly potential pro bowlers in the first round and it seems people are complaining about it. Go figure!!

    1. I think the draft could have been better undercenter, but I’m not complaining about Buckner and Garnett being on the team. They both look to be day one starters and were arguably the best players at their positions. I just saw Buckner as the same player we drafted last year, and I question the logic of taking the same position two years in a row. Buckner is a great talent, but there is an argument to be made that they could have taken somebody else or traded down etc. Garnett is another player who looks to be a very good and I’m glad to have him, but I question whether he was BPA and how much impact he will have as a first round pick. Hopefully he becomes our Osemele and is a mauler who helps this offense run the ball better, but I don’t think it’s out of line to question the picks.

      The root of my dissatisfaction is the fact I haven’t changed my opinion on what needed to be done this off season. There were so many in here – myself included – who wrote endless entries about how this team needed to be active in FA, draft an ILB, pass rusher etc. However, now that the team hasn’t done these things for the most part, a lot of flip flopping has transpired, and there is now an acceptance and belief that the team has done the right thing. Draft was great, we didn’t need an ILB anyway, guys will step up who have done nothing previously, etc. etc etc. I just don’t buy into the notion that you happily accept things because that is what the organization did. Their record shows they don’t deserve that.

      1. Rocket – I understand the argument against the picks and agree with them for the most part, and myself Garnett would not of been my second pick. It just seems to me these two picks have great potential to be pro bowlers and that just makes it hard to complain about. Complain may not be the right adjective but you get the point.

      2. They did draft a pass rusher, two in fact, and after they traded up for Garnett they no longer had a shot at an ILB that would be anything more than a backup.

        1. Scooter,

          You’ve said this before and I’ll say the same thing I said then. they didn’t draft an outside pass rusher to play opposite Lynch which was one of the biggest needs they had. Buckner could turn out to be an outside guy, but from one what I’ve seen and read, he is going to be playing inside most if not all of the time.

          Blair is a developmental guy who’s best trait is effort right now. He has a long way to go to become a consistent pass rusher.

          I don’t agree with the idea that there was no one after the second round who would be more than a backup ILB. We are going to see a few guys taken after that who will be starting at some point.

          1. And as I said then, there is more than one way to rush the passer.

            I thought they needed a LB to start this year, not just some point in the future. Which guys after the Redmond pick are going to be better than Hodges/ Wilhoite this year?

              1. I like Tartt and his potential to play a hybrid ILB/Safety. But if the team relies heavily on that strategy in the nickel defense, what will happen if he goes down with an injury? I don’t see anyone else on the team that can play that role.

              2. Johnson did it last year when Tartt moved to SS. As I have said before, I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson ends up making a switch to safety/ nickel back/ dime back on a more permanent basis, now they have added more CBs.

              3. And who would have supplanted Tartt in nickel?

                Why would you have to supplant Tartt in Nickel?

              4. I know rocket will just say this is confirmation bias again, but whatever you want to term it, I think the players the 49ers drafted this year is telling of how they intend to play this year. And its not the way most of us were thinking when we were outlining what positions they should address.

                I expect to see a lot of nickel fronts. There was little need to draft an ILB unless they could get a great one if they are playing mostly nickel fronts, as they added their ILB in round 2 last year. And they traded for Hodges last year too, who isn’t great, but in his 3 seasons has shown he is a serviceable starter/ good backup. For a guy that is unlikely to play the majority of snaps, serviceable is fine.

                And adding a guy like Blair doesn’t make a lot of sense for a team that plays a lot of 3-man fronts. Neither does keeping Tank and asking him to shed weight, but then keeping him on the DL rather than moving him to OLB. Tank and Blair will be both edge and interior players in nickel fronts this year. The 49ers added an edge pass rusher (Blair), just not the type of edge rusher most of us thought they would (an OLB type).

              5. “Why would you have to supplant Tartt in Nickel?”

                So they should have used a 3rd round pick on a guy that, even if he turned out to be good, would play around 1/3 of snaps? Seems like a wasted pick to me.

              6. Scooter,

                It’s trying to find reason in what they did. I get that, but we really don’t know what they are going to do and O’Neil’s defenses have used two ILB”s quite frequently, so it’s really trying to find a way to make sense of it at this point.

                If they plan on playing Tartt as a LB they are going to have to prove they can stop the run out of that set. They didn’t last year which is why I believed an ILB was needed this year. I really think a FA like Trevathan would have been a great signing and given them a lot more flexibility.

              7. So they should have used a 3rd round pick on a guy that, even if he turned out to be good, would play around 1/3 of snaps? Seems like a wasted pick to me.

                No it would depend on down and distance. In 3rd and long it’s going to be Tartt, 3rd and 5 or less you play your LB’s.

                Even if the ILB did only play 35-40%, you still need to have somebody able to stop the run in those situations. That is what I don’t get about the opposition to drafting somebody. We clearly saw that this defense couldn’t stop the run consistently or cover RB’s in base or Nickel. We had ILB’s that couldn’t tackle or diagnose a play. Adding nothing in FA or the draft doesn’t make any sense to me.

              8. Me too rocket. He was one of the guys I thought they should go hard after. A player like Trevathan would make any team better.

                There were some good looking ILB this year in the draft I thought they would be interested in too. But the ones I thought would have a legit shot at starting this year were gone by round 3. The 49ers would have had to have given up either Buckner or Garnett to get them.

                Failing taking anyone in FA or getting a guy in the opening rounds of the draft, I saw a bunch of guys I liked the look of (Kwiatkoski in particular, though I appreciate Vigil looked pretty good too), but I had a hard time convincing myself either of those guys would be better than Hodges or Wilhoite as rookies. They may end up better than them in time. So taking a guy like that would really be about improving the depth, not the quality, this year. And in all honesty, I think both Hodges and Wilhoite are good backups than can be serviceable starters if the team around them is strong.

              9. Wilhoite and Hodges are bad. The Niners could have found better run-defenders in the mid rounds. Vigil or Kwiatkoski would have been an immediate upgrade.

              10. As with rushing the passer, there is more than one way to stop the run. And the most effective way is to clog the running lanes with your DL.

                I will be very interested to see what alignments they use on 2nd down this year. As I have suggested, I think an over front would very much suit the personnel and would provide some starch on the DL to help stop the run. But, they probably won’t do it.

                I wouldn’t be shocked however to see them use Buckner from the edge on 2nd downs a bit. Basically play a 3-4, but move Lynch up to the DL. He was good as a 3-4 DE at Notre Dame, and provides a nice option as a strongside DE in a 4-man front.

              11. If the opponent uses 11 personnel on 1st down or 2nd-and-short or 2nd-and-medium next season, I expect the 49ers will align their DTs head-up over the guards in a 2-technique.

              12. Fair enough Scooter. It’s too late now either way, so we are going to sink or swim with who they have.

              13. I liked your idea when you mentioned it before Scooter. I think putting Dial alongside Armstead and Buckner would be the best option for stopping the run. You are right though, they probably won’t do it.

              14. “Wilhoite and Hodges are bad.”

                Wilhoite looked bad in a bad defense. When playing in a strong D he looked ok. He’s a fine backup. Hodges meanwhile seems to get graded pretty well by PFF, doesn’t he? He should be better for a full offseason with the system.

                “Vigil or Kwiatkoski would have been an immediate upgrade.”

                That’s a mistake a lot of people make. Assuming mid round picks will be upgrades over seasoned vets right off the bat. Its unlikely to be true.

              15. They’re seasoned vets, but they’re not starter-quality players. Vigil and Kwiatkoski are.

              16. “I expect the 49ers will align their DTs head-up over the guards in a 2-technique.”

                Interesting idea. Which guys would you play there? Dial and Armstead?

            1. So why not draft somebody like Calhoun, Ngakoue or Kaufusi along with Buckner?

              I wish I was clairvoyant but I’m not, so predicting which guys will be better is tough. I think a few good ones will come out of this draft though. Guys like: Vigil, Goodson, Martinez, Perry, Kwiatkoski are all good instinctive players I could see becoming starters at some point.

              1. I can see some of those guys being pretty decent starters at some point too. Some point. Probably not as rookies though.

                As for an OLB, I would have been ecstatic if they had drafted Calhoun in the third round. It doesn’t make taking Redmond a bad choice.

              2. I just saw an OLB as a greater need than another mid round CB. There are so many young guys at this position already who we saw for the first time last year. Adding another 3 to the mix was overkill imo. I would have been fine with taking one in the first two rounds if you believed they were #1-2 caliber Corners who would be starters from day one, but taking two in the 3rd and 4th just looks like more of the same to me. It’s even worse if Baalke is truly viewing Redmond as a nickel.

    2. UC, if the Niners had continued with the second day like they did the first day, I would agree wholeheartedly with you. However, Baalke reverted to his ACL picks and red flagged players because of their value and potential, so the draft was meh in the second and third day.
      Please save your money, we may need funds for more banners.;p

      1. Still flogging the draft? Here’s the deal skipper — we’re changing defenses. The corners Fangio liked aren’t suited for the pressure-man defense we’re playing now.

        Those corners were two of the better cover corners in the draft. One had a bad knee — Round 3. One had character concerns — Round 4.

      2. You mean like Bowman? (Some serious character flags.) LIke Borland? (Serious shoulder durability issues.) Gore? (Two bad knees.)

        Thomas? Effectively was a rookie converting from OT to OG. Hard to write him off as a failure if you’re honest.

        Carradine? That’s on the coaching stuff. About 350 pro snaps (about 6 games worth) and has 4 sacks and quite a few pressures. All while at the wrong position and weight. He’s been successful on the field, why they haven’t played him the last two years is beyond me.

        Smelter? Redshirt. He’ll be a rookie this year.

        Lattimore? A major talent and well worth the risk. It didn’t work out. Oh well, almost 90% of 4th rounders never do.

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