49ers draft DE Ronald Blair, OT John Theus and OT Fahn Cooper in Round 5

With Pick 142, the San Francisco 49ers drafted Appalachian State defensive end Ronald Blair.

Blair (6’2″, 285 lbs) is best suited to play defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but the 49ers will attempt to play him at defensive end in their 3-4 defense. Blair was an exceptional run-defender in college, but he played at a small school and is about 15 pounds lighter than he needs to be to play 3-4 defensive end. He will be a project until he bulks up.


With Pick 145, the 49ers drafted Georgia offensive tackle John Theus.

Theus most likely will be the 49ers’ swing tackle off the bench, meaning he can play both left and right tackle. He was a four-year starter in the SEC, which is impressive. But he put up just 19 reps on the bench at the Combine, so he’s not strong enough to contribute as a rookie. Like Blair, Theus is a project.


With Pick 174, the 49ers drafted Ole Miss offensive tackle Fahn  Cooper.

Like Theus, Cooper was an effective starter in the SEC who put up just 19 reps on the bench at the Combine. It’s strange the Niners would spend back-to-back picks on tackles  who must get stronger and probably won’t contribute in 2016. Seems like overkill. Maybe the 49ers plan on trading Joe Staley. If not, this pick makes no sense.


This article has 75 Comments

  1. I agree with your assessment, meanwhile Boehringer(said like the bond movie, “Goldfinger”)gets selected. He should have been the pick over Cooper….

  2. Marshall from Georgia at 219 lbs and 5’11” ran a 4.29 and 4.31 at the combine. Anyone know of any issues with him?

        1. He may have regained his straight line speed, but that did not tell much about his cutting and change of direction skills. Do not think he was known for his blocking or his pass catching skills.

  3. Yep, this was a big message sent to AD, and his tweet just confirmed he got the message loud and clear. This is what should have happened last year. Clear lines of communication.

      1. When AD tweets -Que sera, sera, or whatever will be will be, it just meant that he saw the Niners draft his replacements, and he is moving on.

    1. First he tweets the Niners should select a tackle. Then they do, and he tweets…what… Whatever will be will be? Just how many screws loose does AD have anyway?

  4. We can extrapolate from the selections that the Niners want to improve the pass rush, O line and DBs.
    They obviously thought that they had good enough QBs, TEs, WRs, RBs, STs and LBs.
    My theory on who has the most say on picks may have been proven right when the guy Chip recruited is selected first and Baalke got to select an ACL player later on.
    Wish they had bundled picks to move up and get the player they coveted, but I guess they were content to stay with their picks for the most bodies.
    First day Baalke hit 2 home runs. Second day was meh. Third day is a head scratcher.

      1. Since they missed out on Cardale Jones, Brisett and Hogan, I guess Driskel is OK.
        I think he will fit well into the Chip Kelly scheme since he ran a 4.56 forty.

  5. Huge mistake. Probably would be tending bar already in his hometown if he hadn’t transferred. Getting drafted by the 49ers will be a temporary setback to those plans.

    1. From NFL.com

      “Bottom Line Quicker-­than­-fast running back with the vision and footwork to be a creator, but a potential lack of power and commitment between the tackles to be an every down back. Taylor’s work ethic and toughness should make fans of running back coaches, but his ceiling may be as a change of pace runner in a committee. “

    1. I think Josh Ferguson and Daniel Lasco would have been better picks, but Taylor sounds like a good change of pace back with Hyde.

        1. I was thinking the exact same thing Razor. 2 things that really stand out with Taylor:

          1) Kelvin is of course the son of NFL great, and Pride of the Jaguars, FRED TAYLOR, who was named the top NFL RB in 2007, and is a member of the exclusive 10,000 Rushing Yard Club. Kelvin has been a child RB prodigy, and his father has been developing him since he was in diapers.

          2) Possibly the quickest feet of all the RB’s in this draft class, ala Shady McCoy, and he has outstanding vision to go along with them. He’s a very determined RB who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. And thanks to his father Fred Taylor, ranked 17th all time in NFL rushing yards, Kelvin is very, very well coached and is as fundamentally sound as any college RB you will find.

          I like this pick because of the scheme fit, polish (Kid never lost a fumble last season) and ability to protect the QB. Kelvin is ready to come in and compete for the #2 spot, day one.

  6. Whenever you go in the draft with this many pics in the trenches some are bound to be good players they needed Depth and that’s what they got first time in a long time I’ve liked every single pic

  7. From nfl.com on Burbridge:

    “Bottom Line Outside receiver with good height and weight but lacking the deep speed to beat NFL cornerbacks down the field. Burbridge has enough short-area quickness to be an effective target against zone coverage, but could have problems against tight, press­ man. A move inside as a big slot receiver could be in his best interest. His Senior Bowl week and NFL Scouting Combine 40 time will be huge for his draft positioning. “

    1. On ESPN they felt he was the MVP on MSU. Apparently he catches everything thrown his way and they said he made Cook look better than he really is (in terms of accuracy).

  8. A RB who averaged 4yds per carry last year in college. Ugh.

    A WR who simply isn’t an athlete taken in a round when you’re supposed to take chances on athletes. Ugh

    Drafting 3 O-lineman because you whiffed on B Thomas and Marcus Martin. Ugh

    Drafting a nickel corner early, because the nickel corner you drafted in the FIRST round 2 years ago isn’t good enough? Ugh

    Jed, it’s time. Find another GM tomorrow. Maybe we’ll win 8 games in 2019 if you do.

  9. The 49ers were great a few years ago when they dominated the trenches. Last year they were pushed around too often on both sides of the line. Rebuilding this team requires investment in the trenches.

    Blair is a nice pick as a rotational player. Solid against the run and can generate some pass rush. With Kelly running the offense they will need quality depth on the DL to keep guys fresh and maintain a decent level of play when the main guys are off the field. He might not see much of the field this year, but one for the future.

    Theus and Cooper will add much needed competition with Brown. RT is the main question mark on the OL after drafting Garnett. Let these guys compete and see who wins, the others can be backups. Pears and Devey can be someone else’s problem. Brandon Thomas will also likely be looking for a new job unless he shows real improvement this year.

    1. I hope you’re right, but I don’t see Theus or Cooper as being viable NFL linemen. Last year we took a shot at T Brown who had the potential, and I’m hopeful he’ll workout. I agree barring injury, the line should be much better y/y. But we know Martin isn’t a viable backup to Kilgore, and we didn’t draft a center. We know we’re thin at WR, and we didn’t get a playmaker. The RB we drafted isn’t a playmaker. We had a ton of draft picks, and we’ll come away with 2 starters on a roster that’s one of the weakest in the NFL. Sorry for being a wet blanket.

      1. I believe the 49ers drafted 4 players with 1st or 2nd round talent, and added quality depth and competition to both sides of the line in round 5.

        1. And that is what you expect from round 5. Finding starters isn’t easy that far into the draft. You get lucky on occasion, and taking two guys for the same position doubles your chances of getting lucky.

          1. I suppose it depends on how you define 1st or 2nd round talent. How many of the corners we drafted will start if we drafted well? 1? I think getting a good CB out of this draft would be the great victory. Because it would mean we got three potential starters. Otherwise we’re left with a good DE and possibly a good guard, though unlikely to be of Iupati’s caliber.

            Frankly, I think that my favorite value pick will be our last and our best player is our first

            1. 1st round talent = potential high quality long term starter. 2nd round talent = potential above average long term starter.

              I never believe any draft pick should have to be a starter immediately in order to be considered 1st or 2nd round talent. If they can then great, but the draft is for the future. Redmond and Robinson both showed talent while in college to suggest they could be above average long term starters in the NFL, and without injury/ off field issues both likely would have been drafted 1st/ 2nd round. And that’s not just me talking these guys up – that is based on comments from so called draft experts.

        2. 4 players with 1 st or 2ndround talent? You’re drinking the post draft koolaid Scooter.

          1. For someone that gets titchy at others when they claim to know more than the ‘experts’, I find this an interesting comment. You don’t have to research far to find comments by fairly well respected draft experts saying Redmond and Robinson have 1st/2nd round talent.

  10. Blair had traits from the tape but he reminds me of a slightly bigger James Harrison. He has some serious twitch, with 34 in arms and bench 32 rep means he strong too. Watch the Clemson and Ohio tape he was the dominant.

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