49ers mock draft: Thinking like Trent Baalke

These aren’t necessarily the picks I would make. These are the picks I think Trent Baalke will make.

Round 1. Danny Shelton, NT, Washington. Baalke likes to build from the inside out. Every player he has drafted in Round 1 primarily plays in the middle of the field (except A.J. Jenkins). Shelton is a nose tackle – he plays in the middle of the defensive line. Baalke will draft him hoping Jim Tomsula can make him the next Vince Wilfork or Haloti Ngata.

Round 2. Laken Tomlinson, G/C, Duke. (This assumes Stephone Anthony already has been picked.) No one blocked Shelton better than Tomlinson at the Senior Bowl. Tomlinson is a powerful interior lineman who can play guard or center.

Round 3. Jaquiski Tartt, SS, Samford. Tartt is 6-1, 221 pounds, he runs a 4.47 40-yard dash and a 3-cone drill of 7.03. He is big and athletic enough to cover fast tight ends like Jimmy Graham.

Round 4. Mike Hull, ILB, Penn State. Hull has traits Baalke likes in an inside linebacker. Compare his athletic numbers to NaVorro Bowman’s.

Hull: 6-0, 237 pounds, 4.64 40-yard dash, 31 bench-press reps of 225 pounds, 6.99 3-cone drill, 4.15 20-yard shuttle, 110-inch broad jump. 30.5-inch vertical jump, 30.5-inch arms.

Bowman: 6-0, 242 pounds, 4.62 40-yard dash, 26 bench-press reps of 225 pounds, 6.70 3-cone drill, 4.20 20-yard shuttle, 127-inch broad jump, 35.5-inch vertical jump, 33-inch arms.

Bowman is a better athlete than Hull, but not that much better. Hull is one of the most athletic inside linebackers in the draft. He has the strength and speed to play “Mike” for the Niners.

Round 4 (comp). Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville. One of the best cover corners in the draft. He will fall to the fourth round because he’s small (5-10, 180 lbs.). But the Niners aren’t put off by small corners. They recently signed Shareece Wright (5-11, 182 lbs.).

Round 5. Ty Montgomery, WR/KR, Stanford. Big, explosive kick returner and slot receiver. Injuries have slowed him down a bit.

Round 6. Matt Jones, RB, Florida. Big, powerful running back who averaged 4.9 yards per carry in the SEC last season.

Round 7. Bryan Bennett, QB, Southeastern Louisiana. Small-school prospect who has the talent of a first-round pick.

Round 7 (comp). Terry Poole, OT, San Diego State. A powerful run-blocker who can play right tackle or guard.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. The best way to improve your team is by adding blue chip talent up front. We can find talent at other positions in the later rounds. Great O lines and D lines have the ability to make average receivers, corners, running backs, etc look better than they are. My dream draft scenario has everybody going receiver and pass rusher crazy and Brandon Scherff (spelling?) falls to us.

  1. “Baalke likes to build from the inside out. Every player he has drafted in Round 1 primarily plays in the middle of the field (except A.J. Jenkins).”

    uhh…what about Eric Reid? Jimmy Ward?

      1. okay…fair enough…but usually when someone says “build from the inside out” they mean from the lines outward.

          1. again, I take that more to mean DTs, NTs, and Inside Linebackers.

            in pass and run defense the SS often drops down into the flat and will play with some perimeter run defense responsibilities.

          2. SS in the 3rd? will they be moving him to CB because that sounds like a waste of a pick when they spent both 1st rounds on safety and Betha was a pro-bowler last year.

            Give me a WR in the 3rd…other than that I like!

            1. Bethea turns 31 in July and Ward might never be big enough to play SS. He certainly isn’t big enough to cover Jimmy Graham.

              1. Bethea is 31 but is still under contract until 2017…so is Tartt gonna play when Graham is on the field and not Bethea or Reid?

              2. The Niners could use a big dime defense with three safeties and three corners and one linebacker.

              3. how is safety depth overlooked? They draft two in the 1st round in the past 2 years, brought in Bethea and still have Dhal….that is a position of strength.

              4. It only took Jimmy Graham 2/3 of a game to break Jimmy Ward last year. Playing against him 2 (3?) times a season just won’t fly.

              5. That’s why Ward can play FS (or SS)and Reid SS… Not to mention no way in h*ll they go NT round 1. they develop late round lineman well and wouldn’t waste a first pick on someone who plays 35ish % of downs… Won’t go safety that early either. Do like the ILB pick.

              6. Safety is an overlooked depth issue [this year].

                I still don’t see Ward as a durable safety. I think he can play the position well, but I don’t see him holding up.

                I love LJ McCray’s athleticism, but I don’t know if he will ever be more then an ST guy.

          1. Right and he’s basically a RB…he runs awful routes and drops balls like it’s his job. IF we come away with TY as our only WR in this very good class I will be disappointed.

      2. What an asinine comparison. Everyone plays between the numbers except outside WRs and outside CBs (as distinguished from slot receivers and corners). 82% of the starting roster plays “inside” based on your standard. Baalke has used one of six first round picks on an outside player (assuming we credit him for Davis and Iupati), meaning he’s used 83% of his first round picks on inside players. Sounds pretty proportional.

        1. Baalke hasn’t drafted a an outside cornerback before Round 3. Baalke has drafted only one wide receiver before Round 4.

          1. And that might be a more apt area for analysis.

            There’s no doubt that Baalke hasn’t excelled at adding WRs. Though as you note, he’s really only done it one time with a “starter” pick. That one time was a disaster, of course. It’s at least as much an indictment of Morton that we never came close to developing a WR during his four years, though. I’d be at least a little surprised if we didn’t add a WR somewhere in the first three rounds this year, though I said the same thing last year.

            On the flip side, Baalke has been as good as anyone in the league – with the possible exception of the Seahawks’ brain trust – at finding CB talent. We haven’t had a top-tier guy, but the D hasn’t suffered. Given the results, I have no problem with him waiting on CBs, though I would also be fine with taking a CB as early as the first round this year.

            1. I have similar thoughts about Tomsula developing defensive line talent. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for almost free?

              But never say never. If Baalke thinks a players truely transformative, grab him no matter what the position.

      3. Just as a means of comparison, since Baalke assumed a prominent position in the Niners’ FO (2008), Ozzie Newsome has drafted “outside” players at the same rate (one of six).

          1. and with McCloughan in DC the contrarian advantage is still there, but a few more teams are targeting similar players.

            Want a power running back? Better hope he falls past DC, Buffalo, Baltimore, Seattle and any other team switching to a “win the middle” model.

    1. Really? Eric Reid is a center field FS which means he lines up in the “MIDDLE” of the field. Jimmy Ward plays safety and nickel back which places him “inside” also. Non football guys should comment on football articles.

  2. Do you think D-line is the Niner’s greatest need? IMO, it’s a need but not the greatest need. Corner and ILB seems to be the greatest need. Would Baalke go DB three years in a row? Maybe TE (though they seem to like some of their scrap pile acquisitions: Carrier, Celek and Cleveland) and then there’s what they think of McDonald.

    Is Shelton a good value at #15? This I don’t know. If he is a potential Ngata or Willfork, then yeah…you gotta grab him.

    What about Bendarick McKinney?
    Jalen Collins?

      1. both are lower 1st to mid 2nd rounders from what I’ve seen. I’m always an advocate of trading down…so I would trade down to fill holes and gain depth. I like the potential versatility of McKinney who could cover and rush the passer. But I’m not sure if he’s physical enough for Baalke.

    1. I think Baalke might view Shelton as the best player available. I also think Baalke might give McDonald one more season before replacing him.

      1. Agree on both those points. This is a decent guess from TB’s point of view.
        My $.02 is SS & FS do count as up the middle.

      2. If they want Shelton it might require a move up,Chicago and NYG are likely interested (depending on how things play out on top).My two cents, if they want DL help trading down in the first and picking up a third still might snag Eddie Goldman or Carl Davis. I like Tartt a very good player in a weak grouping,Hull is a left field choice I like there Grant,Ty Montgomery eh not so much although I do think a KR would be nice(see Mario Alford in the 7th!).I’d be tempted to go WR Chris Conley instead if available.

  3. It’s hard for me to think of a worse possibe first round pick than Shelton. Nose tackle is a part time position in this defense, playing ~half the snaps. Investing a pick as high as 15 on one is silly, especially when we have two good ones already on the roster. Pick 15 isn’t worth a minor upgrade to a part time position.

      1. Shelton isn’t the pass rusher that Ngata is, he isn’t going to see the field on pass rushing downs over Dockett, Smith, Carradine, Dial, or possibly even Ian Williams.

    1. Shelton would have to be an elite wrecking ball of a player to warrant a 1st round pick. one that can break into the backfield and destroy runners and passers alike. Shelton supposedly has pretty good pass rush moves and is quick and explosive (but slow…he’s not chasing down my grandma). he’s gotta be more Ngata or Willfork and not B.J Raji (decent NT/DT…but not worth a 1st round pick).

        1. I think it could be argued that Shelton is better than Ngata was at this stage in his career. Shelton hardly ever left the field and nearly lead the team in tackles.
          He doesn’t get a ton of sacks because he seldom disengages from the blocker but rather crushes the pocket by pushing the blocker back into the quarterback.

          There is no glory in that but its incredibly valuable. This makes it hard for pocket passers to step up and avoid edge rushers and with qb’s like wilson you want to squeeze the pocket more burst through and allow gaps for them to break through.

      1. Disagree, he’s a good pass rusher for a NT but there’s plenty of natural 3Ts who offer more pass rush. He compares more to Brandon Williams than Ngata or whatever other exception to the rule that people are throwing out there. The NFL agrees too: http://www.rotoworld.com/recent/cfb/132840/danny-shelton (3rd story).

        He just isn’t going to play on passing downs over Smith, Dockett, Carradine, and Dial and he will only be a slight upgrade at NT considering how well Williams and Dorsey have played the last couple years. I would absolutely hate it if they picked Shelton.

      1. This seems to happen every year about this time….everyone gets all excited about our draft choices and we end up with 2nd and 3rd round players where we should have 1sts and 2nds. Too damned cute with all of our ‘redshirt’ gambles. We have twice as many choices as positions, and we’ll be lucky to come out with 4 contributors to next years team. I sure as hell hope that TB doesn’t read these blogs….

  4. Grant do you think they would pick Shelton with the 15th pick or trade back towards the end of rd1 and draft him there?

      1. Heeney is like a shortstop with great range, the more balls you get to the more errors you will make. Heeney has great speed and an incredible motor and got to runners that other ILB’s were still 5 yards away from.

  5. Nice insight Grant. Baalke’s all about winning the middle. I’ll probably put together another inventory of Baalke’s draft tendencies later this month.

    The 49ers had a contrarian personnel advantage. In the pass happy NFL, few teams went after the same type of players the 49ers did.

    Its been speculated that because of the shortage of pro-set QBs in the college ranks, teams desperate for generating offense will start valuing running backs more.

    With Scot McCloughan in Washington and Roman in Buffalo, there’s a little more competition for the same type of player over the long run.

  6. I like your second round pick. My belief is that the offensive line started having problems when the center position was beset with injuries. Plays two positions very well, good pick Grant.

    1. i thought that too. i think they missed Goodwin. Not because Goodwin was an overpowering or elite Center…he was often overpowered and driven backwards. But because he was a seasoned veteran that got everybody lined up, made line calls and probably helped out Boone, Iupati and maybe even Davis.

      1. “But because he was a seasoned veteran that got everybody lined up, made line calls and…”

        Allforfunnplay – That was my thinking, I really believe we missed that experience.

  7. About time you’re thinking grant. This isn’t baalkes thinking its logical thinking.

    Regardless of what you say we have enough O lineman and don’t need to WASTE a first rounder on one. Brandon Thomas will most likely win the guard spot. ACL injuries aren’t as big an issue with lineman or even a qb as t is in positions where heavy cutting is involved. Plus Boone isn’t going to hold out like last year which is why he was rusty for the first part of the season. Marcus Martin will be better and Kilgore will be back. Joe looney is still there and we have Erik pears for veteran insurance.

    If we do indeed trade up In The first we are getting Kevin white or Amari cooper. If we stay still we will see if devante Parker will fall. Probably not though. The big decision is if we will take a corner like Waynes Collins peters or a d lineman like Danny Shelton. Arik armstead has bust written all over him like most Oregon players do coming into the league. We have no corners. Justin smith will be gone even though he is “contemplating” a return. So Danny Shelton would be a good choice. He takes up space and is aggressive and commands blockers. We shoulda got haloti ngata but that’s a different convo.

    In the second if we do get a defensive player we should see if possibly funchess is there and convert him back to a TE or another productive receiver is there. Maybe even a rb like duke Johnson or the kid from Boise. I think we should get rb David Johnson If he’s there in the fourth or possibly fifth.

    Whatever we do we need to address TEAM SPEED because really thats what we have been lacking for years on both ends and that was maybe the difference in us winning two superbowls (’11 and ’12). Baalke never has addressed the issue and that might’ve been our downfall. But we want to take chances on unprovens even in college and take chances on injured players that never pan out. We wasted so many picks on garbage that we can’t afford to drop the ball in this draft.

      1. is Funchness:

        an undersized receiving TE that can’t block?

        or a slow (ran a 4.7 40…I know 40s aren’t everything…but a 4.7???) but jumbo sized WR? (didn’t the Niners have one of those with Jon Baldwin?)

      2. Funchess might be a bit of a reach in the second but at the same time we need a big redzone target. I don’t think he’s fluid enough to be a wr but he definitely would be an upgrade over Vance. He has decent hands and can go up for the ball. He doesn’t need to be a blazer per say.

        Vance was just the worst pick. I mean we could’ve had Eddie Lacey or even Keenan Allen. Just imagine if we would’ve had gore and Lacey. Or even Keenan Allen. Even last year if Odell beckham would’ve been too high we could’ve traded up 3 spots and got kelvin. Then his year we wouldn’t have to deal with a wr and go for a best player available stud.

  8. Shelton is a monster. I’d be excited for us to get him. You can tell how I feel about him based on where I just put him in my all-32 mock.

      1. I don’t know. Williams and Dorsey are very capable and Dial can back them up if necessary. Plus the nose tackle is only on the field typically less than half of the downs.

        Didn’t Tomsula say at the NFL owner’s meeting that the defensive line has the most depth he’s ever seen (or at least seen in a long time)? Maybe that’s a diversion tactic, but since it came from Tomsula and not Baalke, I’m inclined to think that it was not stated as a diverstion tactic.

          1. OK. Let’s assume you are right. Where do you have Glenn Dorsey playing? As Justin’s replacement or backup? And Dial is the replacement set for McDonald? What does your defensive line look like in this scenario (please include Dockett)?

          2. I agree with Tomsula when he says the D-line was deep. I’d classify Shelton as BPA. One of those opportunity picks that you can’t pass up.

            The 49ers have had a great D-line, but they didn’t have a pocket crashing bowling ball like Wilfork or Ngata.

            Shelton inside, Aldon+Lynch outside would be the terror of the NFL.

  9. Peat is located close to the middle. So is a top running back. I think Baalke might draft two.

    I believe Baalke when he says he uses draft input from coaches. I see it going both ways with Tomsula. He could push for Shelton, but Tomsula has a gift for developing players acquired on the cheap.

    Ian Williams, Tony Jerod-Eddie, and Glenn Dorsey were free agents. Quinton Dial was a 5th rounder. As the saying goes… why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for (almost) free?

  10. Uggh ,your thinking stinks,I don`t like any of those Picks except D Shelton,just awful,But leave it to you Grant this does not surprise me at all ,I wonder do you really like the 9ers or do you Hate the 9ers, Iask this because you are always writing unfavorable articles about the 9ers

  11. I like shelton, but I think he is gone by 12. I really like Ty montgomery. He was projected late 1st early 2nd after his junior year.

    I still have a feeling the niners either trade up to 10ish or trade down to mid 20s.

  12. Love Shelton, he could be a great one. Doubt he lasts past Chicago. I like the second pick as well. Montgomery in the 5th would make the fact we didn’t take a WR with 1, 2 or 3 acceptable. He’s a beast, and could be used to great effect in a 0-RB formation since he can motion into the backfield and be a legit RB.

    I know he has turtle arms and is slow afoot, but can’t you see Nick O’Leary as an awesome H-back? They guy just knows how to play, catches everything, blocks exceptionally well, and has a competitive fire like Draymond Green. 6th rounders have been used on far less talented players, and I think he’ll have a job if VMac’s back problems are permanent.

  13. Another 4th Rd ILB to consider – Jake Ryan, Michigan 6’2″ 240 lb. – 31″ arms

    4.65 sec. 40yd, 20 reps, 34.5″ vertical, 120″ broad hump, 7.11 3-cone, 4.2 sec. 20 yd shuttle.

    Jake plays with non-stop motor, also Combine top performer in in the 60 yd shuttle – 11.65 sec.

        1. Yes and what a swinger with the blue hairs,he wows em with the triple knit – poly Beatle suit and patent leather Jodhpurs !

  14. We need to draft WR in the 1st Rd I like DGB his size will be the red zone threat we needed for years. His work ethic is suspect but with a leader like Anquan he will teach the kid how to harness his inner beast. 2nd round we have to draft Denzel Perryman this guy reminds me of Ray Lewis. He will be an instant starter next to bowman. Rest of the draft DB, OL, RB, TE, DB. In no particular order. I have faith in Baalke come draft day. That 2012 draft will be forgotten. Last year he hit very well. We need another draft like last year and we should be good to go!

  15. Assuming Justin doesn’t return, it would still be a pretty packed D-line.

    Shelton, Dorsey, Williams, Dockett, Dial, Carradine, TJE. Alot for a 3-4 (4-3 Under). Most are cross trained.

    That still leaves Okoye and Ramsey as possible stretch run pocket crashers. If Shelton was the first pick, I’d expect someone to be on the trade block.

  16. Do you see Shelton playing nt or end? I believe the d line being crucial for the future. You can have less quality inside lbs if you have studs up front. You can have lesser quality cb if you have studs who can put pressure up front. All of our inside linebackers have given all of the credit to the d line every year even bowman. I believe we have done so well because of the play of our d line and outside pressure from the outside linebackers. What are your thoughts?

    1. Grant stated above that he plays nose tackle. That’s why I’m not thrilled by the pick, because I believe we have good nose tackles already. I’m leaning towards OLB (Dupree) or CB (Peters) with the first pick.

      1. I agree with either of those but i would go de if the quality is there. However there is a lot of de talent in the second and probably third rounds.

      2. Shelton plays Nose. The question is if his pass rushing skills (which are said to be pretty good for a big man) are good enough to keep him on the field at DT in the Nickel package.

        1. The Niners rarely use a 4-man all out pass rush because it leaves the defense vulnerable against a scrambling QB like Russell Wilson. The Niners usually put one guy in the A gap and have him push the pocket, even in the sub packages.

          1. as with most things it’s probably based on the specific match up. against Wilson, sure keep someone home to push up the middle. Against Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer (to use an NFC West opponent)…charge the gaps and go get him.

          1. Whoops sorry Cubus, checked out after I posted. I haven’t done a mock yet.
            I was chuckling with a friend today that the list of positions SF wouldn’t take at BPA#15 is shorter than what they might.
            Not: P, K, TE
            Probably Not: DS, QB, RB

    1. BarNone I see Dawson as a 2 down ILB in the 9ers current system, running a 4.76 in the 40 means he wo’nt be covering TE’s. Like Borland if the 9ers change their D to one where the safetys cover TE’s he might be able to stay on the field.

    2. I thought I read that his Combine workout numbers were disappointing, slow 40, and so the buzz on him faded some.

  17. This is a very soild draft. I would not be made about this. It’s flat out smart. I don’t believe it shakes out this way cause I believe the Niners D line will be very strong with or without Shelton. Now I do understand that there are injuries with Dorsey, Williams, Dockett etc.. I believe when training camp rolls around they will be fine. I also believe Justin Smith will play out his contract. I believe that Jed York wants a splash this draft. So does Balke. It’s been known that balke attempted to trade for beckum jr last year according to him. I believe balke trades up for a Wr… Just my gut feeling… I don’t agree with it but this front office is under a lot of pressure for what and how things have transpired. I hope im wrong.

    1. I agree about the pressure but i pray they keep our gm.he’s not perfect but he is far better than what is out there and what most teams have. I would say he isa top 10 gm at least.

  18. I believe Seattle has adopted the same philosophy but improved on it. They’ve had a great d line doing most of the work and safeties who are awesome. Their corners are tall and don’t have to cover very long. That is why Atlanta shredded them in the playoffs a few years ago. Once their d lineman went down Atlanta had more time for their wrs to out run the Seattle corners. I hate Seattle but you have to give credit where it is due.

  19. Grant:

    I’m still learning defenses so bear with me. The Ravens play a 4-3 or a version of it. The nose tackle has a 1 gap responsibility not the typical 2 gap responsibility of a 3-4. One gap responsibility allows for more aggressive play off the snap than 2 gap does. So, I’m not sure why you are comparing the way you expect Shelton to succeed in the niners defense with the way Ngata has succeeded with the Ravens. As I understand it, nose tackles in 3-4 defenses don’t typically get a lot of sacks, they’re pluggers. Seems to me that Dorsey and Williams already do that quite well.

    I wanted to comment on the Patriots, but I couldn’t find what defense they predominately played last year. I did find articles where there was debate about the Patriots playing either a 4-3 or 3-4.

    1. The Niners’ nose tackle has one-gap responsibility, too. Both the Niners and Ravens use a 1-technique nose tackle. He lines up between the center and the guard.

      1. Check out this link.


        Under the section titled “The 4-3 Under Hybrid”, the author states the following:

        “In recent years, though, the gap responsibilities in 4-3 Under have become muddied.

        You see, when Pete Carroll took the defense to USC in the early 2000s, he toyed with the idea of a hybrid 4-3 Under, which asks some players to 2-gap and some to 1-gap. This gives the defense more flexibility, as it doesn’t need quite as many players to cover all of the gaps.

        The result is what you see on the chalkboard above – a mostly one-gapping defense, but with a 1-technique DT who is 2-gapping on the strong side. That’s what the Ravens used in 2013 and, based on their roster, what they’ll continue to use in 2014.”

        So according to this article, I was mistaken when I assumed that the Raven’s nose tackle plays a 1-gap 0 or 1 technique. You might be mistaken as well with regards to the technical side, but your overall assertion might be correct.

        These hybrid defenses bring an extra level of complexity when trying to figure out what is going on from a layman’s point of view. Some players play 2 gaps while others play 1 gap.

        1. Most fronts are shaded to one side or the other. Not many teams use three 2-gaping defensive linemen anymore.

        2. 1st (and hopefully for the last time) the Niner’s defense was not a 4-3 Under…not even a 4-3 Under hybrid…. but I can understand the confusion.

          The Fangio defense was a 3-4 with some 4-3 Under elements. meaning they could and would line up straight up as a 3-4 defense. But would also often shade to one side or the other (Over/Under) based on the match up. the difference is where they wanted to funnel the ball carrier and the gap responsibilities of the Ends vs. the OLBs. (force and contain vs. fill and spill).

      2. they often line up at the 1 technique but not always or predominately. You’re right they both 1 and 2 gap. But based on the descriptions of their responsibilities in interviews by various Nose Tackles that have played for Fangio (Sione Fua, Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois) it sounds like they 1 gap read. Engage and control their blocker, read the play, shed and then penetrate (as opposed to staying home and creating a pile at the line of scrimmage clogging 2 gaps).

        I’m wondering/guessing if the Niners used more Under fronts with more penetration when they played against zone blocking opponents and used more 2 gap force and containment run defensive schemes against more conventional man run blocking opponents.

        I will be interesting to discover if there will be any changes to the defensive scheme with Mangini as the DC. I believe Mangini favored more traditional 2 gap defensive linemen…but did utilize some hybrid scheme work on the D-line.

        1. to clarify the old (as one gapping was before the late 70’s/80’s) one gap read, the D-linemen had 2 gap responsibility but after reading the play, would choose their gap and penetrate.

        2. “Engage and control their blocker, read the play, shed and then penetrate (as opposed to staying home and creating a pile at the line of scrimmage clogging 2 gaps).” Isn’t this what 2 gap defenders typically do? Instead of attacking a gap, 2 gap defenders attack a man and have to read the play to decide what’s next? This keeps them from getting into the backfield as aggressively.

          I realize that what you said was a relation, i.e. the first part provides penetrating more quickly than staying home to create a pile. But from what I’ve been reading, the 1 gap should read more like attacking a gap rather than a man and the 2 gap would read more like what you wrote for a 1 gap.

          Just to be clear I’m not attacking your knowledge as I know you are fairly knowledegable in these things, but I’m trying to get these concepts clear in my own mind. Thanks.

          1. 2 gap – engage blocker, stay at home (line of scrimmage), read play, clog gaps , keep linebackers clean of blockers, shed blockers and make tackle if possible. OLBs push ball carriers back inside.

            1 gap read – engage blocker, read play, shed blocker, pick one of two gaps and penetrate to make tackle or push runner outside to SAM or Will backers.

            1 gap attack – predetermined gap selection. no read just penetrate gap to make tackle or push ball carrier to SAM or WILL backers.

            but there’s a numbers problem for defenses. 8 gaps and 7 front line players. so you either bring up a Safety. You have one or more players responsible for 2 gaps. Or you push ball carriers to one side or the other so you don’t have to defend the backside gap as much (which is how Over/Under defenses tend to work).

            so before the 80’s most 1 gap schemes were read ones. the problem in the 70’s was that in college option offenses became popular and the time it took for D-linemen to engage and read, the play had gone by them. Jimmy Johnson when with Oklahoma simplified his defense so that the linemen just attacked gaps and blew up plays in the backfield either by tackling the ball carrier (before the option) or pushing the ball carrier into the teeth of the defense (the outside).

            it’s sort of the same against zone blocking offenses. it’s hard to engage a blocker, control him and defend 2 gaps when the linemen are moving in front of you and the gaps move on you. it’s why penetration tends to work better against zone blocking run schemes.

            So what you have are hybrid defenses that try to match up against specific blocking schemes and do their best with their personnel to fill all 8 gaps (through 2 gaps, Under fronts etc…)

          2. A risk of opening a can of “4-3 Under or 3-4” worms, the 49ers sometimes shade the NT over the centers shoulder.

            They don’t always crash the gap like a 4-3. They can hold point and keep the center away from ILbs… or hit the gap, forcing the O-line to double team. This gives ILBs a numerical advantage.

            Dorsey, Williams, Franklin, Sopoaga all thrived in this role. It was a re-birth for Dorsey, who did well in KCs 3-4 but seemed happier in SF’s version.

            I wouldn’t see the Shelton pick as a waste, because his role could be far more then just holding point.

            1. Yes, I’m starting to see that now, but I think we’re in good enough shape that we don’t need to take Shelton, unless he really is so explosive that our pass rush will be much better than last year. I thought you were beating the drum for a shutdown corner.

              1. I’m still liking a shutdown corner or receiver. I’m addressing Shelton because he’s the subject of the article.

                As for corner… only if (a big if) Peters really is a rare, transformative “shut down” corner who can play one-on-one without safety help.

              2. How can we know if he is a shutdown corner before he plays in the NFL. I think Sherman was a 5th round pick. If he was known as a shutdown corner he would have been selected earlier.

              3. Even the best scouts can’t know for sure.

                Pete Carroll has a good eye for DB talent. He also exploited an officiating behavior flaw… refs are hesitant to flag guys after the first 2 or 3 PI/DH penalties. The era of the big, grabby CB was born.

                Peters has many qualities elite “shut down” corners do. Great backpedal. Flips to forward run fluidly. Ball skills like a receiver. And my favorite… great closing speed.

                Closing speed covers for msitakes, and even lets CBs goad quarterbacks into throwing INTs. Sanders had great closing speed.

                If Peters was a fudge taller and his head was screwed on right, he could be a top 5 pick.

  20. Shortly after Dial was drafted, Fangio mentioned he had “untapped pass rush potential.”

    Dial played out of position last year as NT. I think he picked up alot of good leverage experience at NT. I’m excited to see what he can do at his natural spot over guards and tackles.

    1. The Dockett acquisition tells me they are leaning towards more line rotation.
      Docket 2015 = Gary (Big Hands) Johnson.

      In the 3-4 DE role, I think Dial can disrupt passing lanes and stuff the run.

      1. Can’t wait to see Tank and Dockett line up with Lynch and Aldon off the edge on 3rd and long situations.

        Also I am excited to see Dial in a starting role at DE.

        1. Tank was rounding into form towards the end of last year. Three sacks in three games from an interior spot.

  21. Michael Crabtree is signing with the Raiders. You heard it here first. My best friend just dropped him off at sfo. Funny thing is he didn’t even know him, lol. NFL players know how to party. That’s all I’ll say.

    1. should your buddy drop him off at the oakland airport instead? i won’t believe it until i see on the wall.

      1. So he left a pair of Jordans in the SUV, size 12, baby blue and white. What to do with them?? Wear them? Send them to crab15, I don’t have a man cave….
        he’ll be coming back in two months, what’s in two months? Training camp?
        Oh, wait. He picked him up at the Hilton Oakland, I think, hmmmm wondering if he signed a contract and it hasn’t been announced yet. Now I’m thinking too much, lollll

  22. Danny Shelton is a good player, and if drafted he would offer some potential to play all 3 downs (NT in 3-4, strong side DT in 4-man front). But I agree with others that he would be something of a superfluous pick. The 49ers have good NTs and DTs, and he’s not going to greatly upgrade the team. I see him more as a Vince Wilfork (true NT), less like a Haloti Ngata (NT + able to play 3 or 5 tech).

    If they want to take a DL, they are probably better off taking Goldman over Shelton, as he offers the versatility they like (could play NT or Ray McDonald’s spot), does a good job winning matchups when left 1-on-1, and holds up well against double teams.

    Jacquiski Tartt is someone I suggested previously as a guy the 49ers could think about to come in on big dime (or even big nickel), to act as a pseudo coverage LB. I wonder what would be a better pick – Tartt or Kwon Alexander?

    I’m really not a fan of Ty Montgomery. He’s not a good WR.

    1. Goldman doesn’t have the length the Niners prefer their 5-techs to have.

      Montgomery isn’t a wide receiver, he’s a jack of all trades.

      1. Goldman is 6’4″ with 33 1/8″ arms. He’s got enough length for the 5-tech spot, and is also a good NT or DT option. Shelton on the other hand is 6’2″ with 32″ arms. He’s limited to the inside.

        Montgomery needs an OC that is willing to manufacture ways to get him the ball in space. I’d rather take a player that is able to create space for himself.

        1. On the Niners, Goldman is limited to the inside. The Niners want their 5-techs to have 34-inch arms. McDonald’s arms, Dial’s arms and Jerod-Eddie’s arms are longer than 34 inches.

          1. Want vs need. Ideally I am sure they would like their 5-techs to have that sort of length. But Goldman has enough length to play the position. I don’t think they would look at Goldman and say he can’t play 5-tech.

              1. Yeah, I liked him as a run-stuffer in the base defense. He was drafted in the fourth round. He was freaskishly strong (38 bench press reps) and fast (4.95) for his size, which helped him make up for his arm length. Goldman doesn’t have that kind of strength and speeed. He has a smaller tackle radius than Bryant. Bryant could chase plays to the sideline. Goldman can’t. The Niners should not spend a first-round pick on him.

              2. Not arguing the 49ers should draft Goldman in the first round, I don’t think they should either. Just saying that he offers more versatility than Shelton and can potentially upgrade two spots. Shelton not so much.

              3. I look at it differently. Shelton would be a terrific A-gap pocket-collapser in the sub-packages. He would be a three-down NT like Wilfork. Goldman would be a two-down player like Bryant.

              4. Fair enough. I agree Shelton would be able to play all 3-downs and is not limited to just playing in the 3-4 base. But I don’t think he’ll be anywhere near as damaging a pass rusher in the NFL, his biggest strength will be occupying blockers. And I’m struggling to see the benefit of trying to upgrade a position that has three pretty good players already in Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey and Quinton Dial. There are other far more pressing needs.

              5. It would be, but I don’t think he’s the next Vince Wilfork. He’s a similar style of player, but I don’t think he’s as good.

                Personally I think the Bears would be silly not to take Shelton. They need a NT for their transition to a 3-4.

    2. Not a fan of Montgomery either Scooter. Alexander seems more suited to be a starter at the Will in a 4-3, but Tartt has the potential to be a star at Safety. It’d take some time to develop Tartt into a LB….

      1. Tartt will likely be a best fit for a more in the box/ robber role at SS, a la Kam Chancellor. The 49ers like their SS to be more interchangeable.

        I’m not suggesting they move Tartt to LB, but use him as an in-the-box safety in dime or even nickel instead of a LB (thus a pseudo coverage LB).

  23. This sounds counter intuitive, but its more important to me if Shelton (or any “elite” player) falls to 15 then if the 49ers actually select him.

    Shelton would be good trade-back bait and good BPA if selected… and if Baalke stands pat it means he’s getting his targeted player.

    1. Could be. But as you’ve mentioned several times, the niners are selecting near the inflection point of elite to “less than elite” players. So while the idea is great, the teams selecting ahead of us may have the same idea and with other players as well.

  24. They really should draft a kicker in the 6th or 7th rounds. Dawson’s $4mm+ salary this year is too expensive IMO. they can sign the entire draft class with that salary.

  25. On MM’s Q and A earlier today:

    @boardmix Baalke seems to value injured players with low draft stock, but high ceilings. Who are some names that fit that criteria in this year’s draft class?

    MM: With nine draft picks, the 49ers might feel as if they have that luxury again. One possibility is WR DeAndre Smelter of Georgia Tech, who fits the mold pretty well. He sustained a torn ACL late in the season and should be available with a late-round draft pick.

  26. I think trying to figure what Trent Baalke will do in this draft is nothing but a crap shoot. I don’t think we can compare his actions this draft with what he has done in the past because the situation and variables are entirely different than he has ever faced. He has never had to draft to fill so many holes in the roster before. Also how much will he be influenced by the need for the team to show early success in order to justify the front offices’s getting rid of Harbaugh. I think in drafts past he has had the luxury to make deals that would emphasized his reputation as smart GM rather than drafting for actual need. It was image over substance. I think York will give him more time than most believe because their reputations are tied together. But will TB use that time or will he try to hit a home run this draft. I could see him going in either direction. ?????

    1. I have a hard time counting holes because I don’t know the healthy/durability of so many players. I can’t ever remember a draft that hinged on medical reports more then this one.

      The 2010 draft had alot of holes, but who knows how much of it was Baalke/ McLaughlin/Singletary.

      A. Davis, Iupati and Bowman are Baalke type picks. I heard Taylor Mays was a Singletary insistence, but who knows.

      1. Very true Brodie.

        I think its definitely a testament to how bad last year was in regards to injuries. It was just one after the other hitting the IR every week. I don’t ever remember it being that bad. This year will be interesting to see how much of a residual effect last year’s injuries will have as far recoveries.

        I’m hoping for a healthy camp and exhibition.

        When healthy, this team is still a threat and can be a 10-11 win team IMHO.

        1. The 1982 49ers had a losing record in major part because they lost 8 starters after winning the Super Bowl the year before.

          The 2014 49ers lost 8 starters on defense alone. It was absurd. If healthy, the 49ers will be dangerous.

          I think its a sign Baalke feels good about Reaser/Acker/Johnson when he let Cully and Cox go. He could have signed one of them without too much cap pain.

  27. I would certainly never say I know what Baalke will do, since I’m flatly never right in that regard. So I can’t say Grant is wrong about a single one of these guesses, any more than I can say I know what Grant or Baalke are having for lunch tomorrow. But if he drafted a NT No. 1 this year, I’d really be shocked. He tends to draft for immediate impact in the first round – he sees an obvious glaring need and tries to fill it. He has done this every year, whether successful or not. With Williams and Dorsey in the middle, NT has to be very low on the priority list.
    WR is a high priority because of Boldin’s age and their lack of belief in Ellington and Patton – although I still say Patton should be somebody. However, the signing of Smith makes this less than priority No. 1.
    I wouldn’t guess safety in the first or second rounds because Reid is meant to be a fixture and Ward will move there after Bethea leaves.
    No needs at RB or QB or TE pressing enough to go 1 or 2, or even 3 unless there’s an insane value pick to be had. Likewise, they’re strong with outside LBs.
    If he drafts ILB No. 1, that means he knows something bad about Bowman’s rehab, or he just doesn’t believe in Wilhoite longterm. There’s basically no one behind them.
    Ditto OG; that means Thomas isn’t expected to contribute right away.
    If still drafting for need after Rds 1 and 2 instead of BPA, he might go DE.
    So if there’s a stud (read: 1st-or-2nd rd talent) ILB or OG (or OL convertible to G), I think he goes that way. But again, while I’ve occasionally been right about the position he picked, I’ve never been right about the player.

  28. Shelton won’t be on the board at #15…and there’s no reason to trade up to get a “big”. Eddie Goldman’s a more versatile DL and just about as big…he was FSU’s best DL, and they’ve had some dandies in recent years. I don’t really get the Tomlinson pick…not when Brandon Thomas is healthy and raring to go. He can fill the LG position. That’s not saying Baalke shouldn’t draft both an OT and an interior OL, just not that early. Same goes with the SS pick…not really a big need, at least that I can see. Again, too early to take a SS. As for the Penn St LB, that school’s produced a bunch of ’em. I know Baalke really likes Anthony, and he might trade up a few slots to get him in the 2nd rd. Another 2nd rd possibility is TE Clive Walford. He can’t and won’t ignore the need at that position. Vernon’s in his contract season and there’s little in receiving talent (save perhaps Carrier) behind him. Taking a playmaking TE is very important now that he’s acquired Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson (not to mention having Ellington and Patton) to stretch the field…which should open it up for Boldin and our TE’s. But, you’ve got to have guys who can catch the ball, and Walford can do that and make excellent YAC. I don’t see him taking Montgomery, either. There are better options, and he has guys who can return kicks and play the slot already. I see TB taking a bigger WR…someone like Vince Mayle, or Darren Waller to replace the size they lost w/Crabtree and will lose when Boldin’s done.

  29. I’ve seen a lot of people post that Baalke tends to draft for need in the first round. But in today’s chat Maiocco is saying the opposite is true:

    “You can definitely make an argument that cornerback is a top position of need. But their selection at No. 15 will have a lot more to do with what they think of the players they are considering to draft at that spot than their need. If they love Waynes more than, say, Arik Armstead or any wide receiver, they should take him. At that spot, you take the better player.”


    1. That’s something Baalke has always said. You draft the player that is highest on your board. If you have two players you rate of equal value, you then take the one at a position of need. I guess the only time this wouldn’t be the case is where you really just don’t need a player at a certain position (e.g., if you had an excellent starting QB and capable backups, you aren’t about to take a QB in round 1 even if they are the best player on your board).

      What often gets overlooked in this discussion, however, is what role need plays in the ranking of players on your board. For example, would a team that is desperate for a CB place more value on the CBs than a team that is stocked at CB?

    2. “Need” vs “Targeted”

      If you were going strictly by current roster make-up, a durable power back to compliment Hyde might be the biggest “need.” But this draft is loaded with running backs, so Baalke isn’t likely to target one in the first round.

      So instead of thinking need, Baalke thinks “target.”

      The pattern is clear. Baalke identifies a primary player with a reasonable chance he can be had round one. Need is a consideration, but not the only consideration. He targets this player well before draft day. Sometimes before the March owners meetings.

      And he will “reach”, either by trading up, or standing pat. He won’t care if people think he reached. To Baalke, its all about fit.

      With the “targeted” player is secured, he does his usual day two draft ninja for BPA and trades.

      2010 – Traded up for Anthony Davis
      2010 – Stood pat for Iupati
      2011 – Stood pat for Aldon Smith
      2012 – Stood pat for Jenkins
      2013 – Traded up for Reid
      2014 – Stood pat for Ward

      Not one trade-back. Baalke was accused of “reaching” in all of these picks. Even Aldon smith.

      But the pattern’s clear. Secure day one target to buy flexibility on days 2-3.

      1. The talent make-up of the draft (a few GMs say talent is flat after mid first) and multiple 49er needs might change the pattern.

        Some think (or want) Baalke to trade 15 back for more picks. Nail down “needs” day two and three.

        To me it boils down to assessment of who falls to 15.

        1. I only see that happening if all of the players Baalke thinks are worth a high pick are gone. And I don’t think that will be the case.

        2. Of course, if you then look at the first round calibre players they are known to have met with or will be meeting with (Peters, Goldman, DGB, Armstead, Dupree, Gregory, Parker), you could make a strong argument that many of those guys could well be available in the early 20s or even later, so perhaps Baalke is indeed doing the groundwork for a trade back!

              1. That goes to show you we don’t know everyone the Niners have met with or will meet with.

              2. Absolutely. I find it hard to believe the 49ers aren’t meeting with some high round OL, but yet we’ve not heard anything about it. Sounds to me like they are intentionally keeping those meetings more under wraps.

              3. Should say they ‘could be’ intentionally keeping those meetings under wraps, not that they are.

              4. Scooter, my understanding is they do private meetings over the computer via video conferencing….

          1. Could be like 2013 second. Baalke traded the 34 for the Titan’s 40 and 2014 3rd. Baalke said there were several players in that range he valued equally. It was a freebie.

            According to chart, trading 15 back five spots should get a 3rd. If Baalke valued any 5 players equally, its a risk trade.

            If “covet” players like Parker or Dupree fell, Baalke might be able to garner 2nd rounder for a modest 10 spot trade back. Many mocks have Peat, Armstead and B. Perriman still there. Some even have Peters there.

            If Baalke loved Peters, he could package the extra 2nd with 46 to move up to the low mid-low 20s. Peters at 23. B. Perriman at 25. Keep the two 2nds.

            That’s why I’m rooting for a “faller” to hit pick 15. Its a win whether he uses the pick or trades back.

      2. Some good points Brodie. I thought Reid was a need and that’s why he traded up.

        The concept of BPA may have to be qualified by whether or not there is a trade up or down. So, for example, if Baalke had stayed at pick 31 in 2013, then his selection could probably have been classified as BPA. But he moved up to 18 (I think) to select Reid. In that case, I don’t think you can characterize it as solely BPA. If you do, then you can say that about any draft number. Why not move up to 1 to select BPA? I’m thinking he moved up to 18 because there was a need. In this case I would say the “need” portion of the “target” equation was dominant.

        Now what if he moves back. Surely, there is a BPA at slot #15 this year. But Baalke might trade back. I could see one reason being to secure more players to fill needs.

        So, how do we define BPA? Can we only define it for the pick that the 49ers are supposed to have and not for any move up or down?

        In the end, none of this matters, but I am curious about when the term BPA applies. It seems to me that it applies at the preset slot that a team is to pick and is pretty much position independent (but not entirely as Scooter points out in a post above).

    3. “You can definitely make an argument that cornerback is a top position of need. But their selection at No. 15 will have a lot more to do with what they think of the players they are considering to draft at that spot than their need.

      That’s a nice claim, but it doesn’t hold any water. One thing that is forgotten about Baalke’s first round picks is that not only do they generally fill a need but also an area where the team was exposed in the previous season.

      2010- drafted a LG and RT because of need and those two areas were the weakest points on the OL
      2011- drafted a pass rushing OLB because of need and lack of pressuring the QB
      2012- drafted a ‘deep threat’ WR because of need and lack of someone other than just Davis as a deep threat was severely exposed against the Giants
      2013- drafted a FS because of need
      2014- drafted a NCB because of need and the position being exposed throughout the previous season

      Baalke may indeed be drafting the highest player that is on his board, but it’s fairly clear that he’s been drafting to feel a need.

      1. In regards to the BPA vs Players of Need here is a very simple overview of how teams run their draft.

        From my understanding almost every team rates the players and places them into tiers. Then at their selection they will look at the players available and where they are tiered, if all the players are ranked in the same tier they will select the player at a position of need. If the best player available is not at a position of need but is ranked in higher tier than the other players then that player should be selected.

        From my understanding tiering of players is also probably closer to creating a range of comfort for reaching. ie Tier 1 – players with grades of 90-100 (depending on grading system), Tier 2 – players with grades of 80 – 89.
        In this grading system no one would flinch over selecting an athlete at a position of need over the BPA even if they are in different tiers provided they have a close enough grade, for example if the player at a position of need has a grade of 89 and the BPA has a grade of 91… this would not be the case however if the difference in grading was 83 to 91 however.

        Almost every team in the NFL has multiple positions of need, so they are going to try to fill them up with the BPA at one of those positions. So it could be argued that every team in the NFL drafts for position of need.

        *note* the only position that throws this all out the window is the QB, there is no way that Winston grades out as a top 5 selection but he will be taken number one overall.

  30. Maiocco on Bruce Miller’s status:

    “No. We’re still probably some time away from hearing something from the Santa Clara County D.A.’s office. You’ll definitely hear something when a decision is made, but I don’t believe it will have an impact on Miller’s standing on the team. I believe that if the 49ers felt there was much there, he would’ve already been dismissed.”

  31. Am I the only one that finds it odd that despite the 49ers being considered by many as a team that needs to address OL early in the draft, they aren’t known to have met with any OL expected to be drafted before the third round? Is it a sign of where the 49ers place OL in terms of priority of need, or a smokescreen to hide their intent to grab one early?

    1. Grant: In the bleacherreport article, where you discuss who the draft experts are picking the niners to select at slot 15, you say that the Danny Shelton pick “makes sense”. In this thread you are discussing what you think Baalke will do and not necessarily the pick you would make; but you list Baalke as selecting Shelton with pick #15. It appears that you are not leaning towards DL for the first pick whereas before you were pushing for an OL selection. Why the change?

    2. Grant, you are right on the money, especially when it comes to Arik Armstead.

      National media mocks are only paying attention to departures without examining actual roster depth or scheme.

    3. Good write up Grant.

      Your reasoning for Baalke not selecting CB is that he’s never taken one higher than 3rd. Well what’s the highest he’s ever taken a NT.

      Last I checked our best NT is an UDFA.

  32. Elite prospects at #15? Making the case for Marcus Peters.

    This is my fourth and probably final instalment of potential elite prospects I think are likely to be available at #15. Though I may do profiles for some other players, these are the four potential elite prospects that have caught my eye. So far I’ve profiled Bud Dupree, Cameron Erving and Breshad Perriman. Today I look at Marcus Peters, CB from Washington. Before I get started, a shout out to tkamb and razor for their persuasive arguments that convinced me to take a deeper look at Peters.

    Full disclosure, Peters is the player I currently think the 49ers will draft if they stay at #15. They are spending a lot of time with him (combine, pro day and a private visit organised), so its either an elaborate smoke-screen or there is genuine interest from the 49ers.

    So why are the 49ers interested? Lets look at the measurables:

    – 6’0″, 197 lbs, 31 1/2″ arms, 8 3/8″ hands
    – Bench: 17 reps
    – 40: 4.53s
    – Vert: 37.5″
    – Broad: 121.0″
    – 3 cone: 7.08s
    – 20 yard shuttle: 4.08s
    – 60 yard shuttle: 11.26s

    As can be seen, Peters has a good frame for a CB, and is strong and explosive. He lacks top end deep speed, but he possesses good quickness. While Peters tested well, unlike the other prospects I’ve profiled his measurables probably don’t do his overall athleticism justice. What these numbers don’t show is just how coordinated and fluid an athlete Peters is.

    Of course the most important thing is how the player translates their athleticism and skills to the football field. Lets take a look:

    – 129 tackles, 11 INTs and 35 passes defensed in 34 career games, including:
    – 3 INTs and 11 passes defensed in 13 games as a freshman.
    – 5 INTs and 14 passes defensed in 13 games as a sophomore.
    – 3 INTs and 10 passes defensed in 9 games as a junior.
    – Allowed just 38.1% of passes in his direction to be completed past two years.

    There are a few big things that stand out in these stats. First, he makes a LOT of plays on the ball, and has the ball skills to convert plays into turnovers. Second, he doesn’t allow many plays when thrown at, so he’s not making his plays by gambling. Third, he’s been consistently excellent every year, stepping right in as a freshman and making plays. Finally, he isn’t afraid to stick his nose in and make a tackle.

    Peters has been one of the toughest CBs in college to beat since he arrived at Washington. According to Ian Wharton (Bleacher Report feature columnist), Peters had the best burn percentage of any prospect he’s charted the past three years, at 12.6% in 2014. The next closest was Kyle Fuller in 2013, a full 5 percentage points higher.

    The stats are compelling reading in themselves, and highlight a player that converts his athletic gifts into strong on-field production. Watching the game film reveals some other interesting things about Peters’ game, and how good a CB prospect he really is.

    What really stands out on film is how instinctive a player Peters is. For all his good athletic ability, his greatest asset is his football instinct. He does an excellent job of reading where the QB is going with the ball and, most importantly, when.

    In off-coverage, his timing for breaking on the ball is first rate, and he often arrives just at the right moment to break up the play or make the tackle for no gain without arriving too early and being called for pass interference. To go with his instincts (and in no small part because of his instincts), Peters has excellent click and close ability to break on plays in front of him. Peters also displays good awareness in situational football, knowing where the first down marker is and doing a good job allowing short gains on third down without giving up the first down.

    Peters is not just good in off-coverage. He displays a fast backpedal and top notch hip and ankle flexion to turn without losing speed, providing the required quickness and fluidity to play tighter coverage. In press, his technique is very good, using his length and strength to his advantage. He also uses the sideline very well, working the receiver to the boundary and giving the QB very little room to target.

    As the stats above show, Peters is also a willing and able run defender, and able to come up with the ball for his team. He has excellent ball skills and awareness, knowing where the ball is and timing his leaps very well to make a play on the ball.

    For all his good qualities, Peters doesn’t come without warts. Peters’ game when playing off coverage is largely based on reading where the ball is going, and as a result he can get caught peeking at the QB and lose coverage on occasion. He also gives up too much space underneath on occasion. This was partly due to the system, but there were occasions he simply left too much cushion, appearing as if he was trying to bait the QB into throwing his direction and giving up an easy completion as a result.

    Peters is a highly emotional player, and like Dez Bryant those emotions can drive him to great things, but also sometimes get the best of him during a game. He is a player that will need to be handled to get the best out of him, and prevent him from losing focus and making costly outbursts. His behaviour is not limited to game days, and his outbursts eventually led to him being kicked off the Washington team last season due to disagreements with the coaching staff. While he patched things up with the staff this offseason, and his teammates speak highly of him as an individual, getting kicked off the team is a major red flag that needs to be vetted.

    Assuming he checks out personality wise, Peters brings a perfect match to the 49ers in terms of desired skillset for the CB position, which is a position of need after losing Culliver and Cox. He can play multiple systems, has very good size and the speed and quickness to stick with WRs one-on-one. While Baalke doesn’t typically draft CBs high, I think Peters is a case where the need meets value at #15 for the 49ers.

    1. Great work as usual Scooter and I believe Peters would be a great addition to the 49ers secondary. He has the physicality, instincts and tenacity I like to see in a corner. I hope this won’t be your last installment, and I think I speak for the rest of the gang in here when I say how much your work is appreciated. Go Baalke!

      1. Scooter,
        I’m with Razor in hoping this isn’t your last player breakdown, but if you’ve run out of mid-1st round players you think are worthy of the 15th pick, by all means feel free to start with the 49ers 2nd round pick. I think most of the regular readers and posters of the blog appreciate your efforts and your insight as much as I do, so by all means keep it going! Who do you like for the mid 2nd round?

        1. Thanks mate. I’ll be looking to provide some profiles for 2nd/ 3rd round prospects I like, as well as some guys I think might be later round “gems”.

      2. Thanks razor, and thanks for persuading me to take another look at Peters. I think you are right about him.

        I will likely continue to provide profiles of prospects, but I think Peters ends my list of “potential elite prospects at #15”.

    2. Scooter_McG, Great wrote up. Thanks for putting in the work.

      From SI


      “… Perhaps the most startling aspect of Peters’s skill set is his closing speed, which shows up on tape and which was even more readily apparent a few feet away in person….”

      Peters has many qualities elite “shut down” corners do. Great backpedal. Flips to forward run fluidly. Ball skills like a receiver. Most of all, “Closing Speed.”

      Closing speed covers for mistakes, and even lets CBs goad quarterbacks into throwing INTs. Sanders had great closing speed.

      There are alot of high profile head cases in this draft. Three supremely talented ones in the first round alone. This draft is going to get alot of GMs fired.

      Some GMs might be fired for skipping DGB or Peters and they turn out to be fine. Just youthful indiscretion. Others could be canned if they draft Winston, DGB or Peters, and they revert to their college ways.

      1. Great read Scooter. I already liked Peters and thought he would be a good pick for the Niners, but you just cemented that belief with this write up. I really think he is a need that just might fit the BPA criteria as well.

        1. Thanks rocket, glad you enjoyed it.

          “I really think he is a need that just might fit the BPA criteria as well.”

          That’s what is tipping my belief that Peters is the guy Baalke will want at #15, more so than all the visits they are having with him.

    3. C’mon Scooter! How about some detail? What’s he eat for breakfast? Favorite music, movies, cars or trucks?

    4. Outstanding write up Scooter you have a knack for synthesis and overview.If you start your own blog, and I think you should, I would visit it regularly.

      1. Scooter….I hope to continue reading your posts on the draft, in that you provide a great Point-counterpoint with both Jack Hammer and Grant….you are well informed and intuitive in your posts…I look for your opine every day….

      2. Cheers hightop. Maybe starting my own blog is something I’ll do down the track, but for now I’m happy to keep posting here :-)

    5. Enjoyed the read, thanks for what clearly was a lot of work. Nice job.

      One question I have, if Baalke hadn’t made himself so conspicuous at the workout would we be discussing this player? You question if the lack of offensive lineman visits means anything and I’d say it means as much as Baalke making himself very visible at the Washington workout. He’s going to try and do things that make you look one direction while he’s really going another.

      1. That’s the one thing that has me questioning how much genuine interest there is in Peters. You are right that he likes to make people think he’s going one direction then fool them.

        But, in this case, I think I’m willing to believe the interest is genuine.

    6. Awesome work Scoot.

      You’ve made some great cases and I would be happy with either one. Peters is more who I’m leaning towards, after that an OG.

      I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read Grant’s latest write up, but he made some comments on Collins. From what I’ve seen he’s the only one who has been negative regarding him. What are your thoughts on Collins at 15?

      1. I like La’el Collins. I think he’s a solid pro prospect. But I haven’t included him in my potential elite prospects at #15 profiles because I don’t see an elite prospect there, I see a pretty safe pick for a good pro prospect. I do think he needs to move inside though, rather than stay at LT.

    7. Nice to see you come around on him. I’ve been very high on Fuller and Trufant the last couple years but I think Peters is a better prospect than both. I think he’d be a top 5 pick, especially in this class, without the off-field stuff. Even with the character concerns though, I think he’d be a steal at 15 and the 49ers should absolutely take him if he’s there.

      1. The discussion with you and razor made me go back and take another look, you made some excellent arguments in favour of Peters. In retrospect I gave him too cursory an initial look, and in all honesty a part of me just wanted to not like Peters because of the antics.

        1. Well, to my surprise, Dez Bryant has proved to be worth the drama. On a team with a struggling or developing QB? Hmmmm, not as confident in Dez.
          So maybe Peters could work under Jim T. & Mangini’s no nonsense handling. Torrey and Anqwan work him over in Minies he’ll get some respect.

  33. The achilies heel for the 49ers for the past 3-4 years have always been their CBs and WRs. They have to address it in my opinion within the first 1-2 rounds. Niners have depth on DLine and Oline. don’t see them sacrifice high picks to those positions with higher needs at WR, LB, TE, and CB

  34. I also have a crush on Peters which means he will be gone or Balke will draft someone else, If he has a chance to be a star head case or not, I think that is where we need to go! Good write up scooter and fun to read every ones take!

  35. Niners Nation posted yesterday that we are looking at Darryl Roberts, CB, Marshall. Very impressive measurables:

    187 pounds
    Pro Day stats:
    40-yard dash: 4.36, 4.39
    10-yard split: 1.48
    Vertical: 39″
    Broad: 11’1″
    Shuttle: 4.08
    3-cone drill: 6.66
    Bench press: 23 reps

    Earlier this morning, I posted some video that SRPD rejected for some reason. So I won’t try that again. Recommend you take a look. The young man can tackle and cover. Very long arms. Great leaper. Seems to love the game.

    1. “Swaag” was indeed impressive during his pro day, but he’d probably still be available in the 5th Round….

      1. I already didn’t like Armstead with Niners, just not enough production at the college level to be selected that early. If he falls to the 2nd, possibly. But I am really hoping they don’t pick him so we can prove every single “analyst” at NFL.com wrong. You would think, just to be creative, some of them would start actually looking at our roster and start thinking outside of Armstead. There are just so many options for us at 15, and for them to continuously just copy and paste Armstead and his reasoning at #15 every single time really is just a testament to their laziness and ignorance.

    1. Damn, that headline was such a tease! Maiocco made it sound like he was going to report some big news, or a new quote from Baalke or Tomsula or just anything newsworthy, and then it’s just the same old reports about who the Niners have talked to or met with. I personally hope he’s right and Baalke does luck into and pick a highly touted WR like Parker or DGB or Perriman with #15. But there wasn’t any news in his article unfortunately.

  36. Jarryd Haynes’ attendance at the 49ers offseason conditioning program is big news in Australia.


    The cost of Levis Stadium holds great fascination. I’ve yet to read an Australian article that fails to mention “the $1.3 billion San Francisco 49ers headquarters.” At least someone’s impressed with Levis. Its kind of charming. I’ll take it as a compliment to American sports.

  37. Barrows made some interesting remarks in his chat.

    1) On a question regarding trading Ahmad Brooks to Washington:
    “Interesting. I know the Rwords would like to trade back to accumulate picks. (Chances Scot McCloughan drafts an OL in the first two rounds: 97.8 percent). Baalke might want to trade up if Cooper and/or White is still available.”

    Perhaps some of those rumors aren’t so far-fetched after all.

    2) Q: How would you rank our top draft needs? 1-CB, 2-WR, 3-ILB, 4-OT, 5-TE?

    Barrows: Yeah, I guess. My issue with drafting a CB in the first round is that CBs take a while to adjust to the NFL. The rules are so stacked against corners that they need a year (at least to adjust). Receivers can have a more immediate impact.

    Also, the 49ers need to think about safety. Eric Reid has had three concussions in two years and Jimmie Ward has had two Jones’ fractures to his foot in one year. The depth beyond them? Crickets, bro. Crickets.

    3) Barrows first two projected picks : “My bold prediction: Marcus Peters in first; Sammie Coates in second.”

    4) Regarding a question on edge rushers: “Eh. I think any of the elite ones who fall to 15 might be too small for Baalke’s liking. Bud Dupree is getting a ton of pre-draft pub, but he doesn’t have as much production as you’d like to see. The guy I like is Preston Smith. But he’s probably a late first, early second type of guy.”


    1. Preston Smith is a guy I really like too. Of all the first and second DL prospects available he is the one I’d take. I don’t consider him an edge rusher for the 49ers though – I see him as a 3-4 DE (either 3 or 5 tech) that can slide inside on four man fronts.

      1. Yea, we discussed him over a month ago, before he started climbing into the first round. Perfect 5-Tech….

      2. Scooter, concerning Barrow’s bold prediction above; Peters in 1st and Coates in 2nd, how would you grade that portion of the draft? I think you’re pretty much in on Peters but don’t remember you mentioning Coates.

    2. Nice to know Barrrows sees the safety depth issue.

      I asked about safety in Maiocco’s chat. He said it was unlikely because Ward can play safety and the 49ers drafted first round safeties the last two years. (MM might have thought I was talking about round one. I meant any round.)

      Alot hinges on LJ McCray. He’s a big, fast thumper that forced his way onto the roster last season. He has the physical tools, but can he play?

        1. MattM I think had a quote that the coaches really like him. I’m never quite sure what that means; real or fluff?

      1. I agree. He fits the 4-3 better than the 3-4, but he could bulk up a bit like Tank did to be a 3 or a 5 technique in this system.

        1. Maybe. You have to figure he’d have to add at least 25 pounds. That’s a lot for a body to add and maintain it’s athleticism and speed. Not saying it couldn’t be done but he’d have to be a special athlete to pull it off and I don’t see anything that suggests he is.

      2. Preston played all across the line in college, but did most of his damage playing within the 0 to 5 tech area. He’s better off being closer in rather than out wide as a 6-9 tech.

          1. Any 4-3 team that drafts him to play DE I think will end up a little disappointed, unless they kick him inside on passing downs.

            1. If he’s on a 4-3 playing edge he’s going to play in the 270’s, he’s not sliding down to a 3 tech at 270 in the NFL. I don’t think it’s common for teams to think they can slap 25 pounds on a kid and think they’ll have the same player or even a better version of him. Moving him to a 3-4 end is taking a bigger risk then using him at a more natural position which is a 4-3 end.

              1. He has, have we seen him play at that weight? The other point is, Tank is the exception. Yes there are some athletes that you can add 20-25 pounds of body mass to them and they’ll be able to still play at a high level but that’s not the norm. If it was you’d see 3-4 teams drafting 270 pound kids and beefing them up to 295 all the time but it doesn’t happen.

              2. 1) We have seen Tank play at that weight. He looked good at the end of the season and racked up 2 (or was it 3) sacks on one game.

                2) I think you’re right that if it was the norm, we would see more teams doing it.

                Do you think the 49ers were pretty certain that they could add weight to Tank before they drafted him?

              3. Yes I just meant as a full time starter playing at 295.

                As far as the 49ers certainty I’d have to say yes on some level because otherwise they wouldn’t have used the draft pick. He was 276 at the combine.

              4. It would seem they must have had some idea that they could. Draft prospects don’t undergo physicals by teams when they come in for visits, do they? If they don’t, I wonder how they made the determination that they could add weight to Tank without negatively impacting his athleticism.

              5. Why is that his more natural position, CfC? Because he’s 6’5″, 271lbs? He doesn’t play like that is his natural position.

                I think 3-4 teams would have no problems thinking they can get him up to around 285 – 290 lbs.

                Worth noting that Ray McDonald was 279lbs when he was drafted. Justin Smith was 267lbs. Antonio Smith was 274lbs. It really isn’t uncommon for guys around Preston Smith’s size to be converted to 3-4 DE at all.

              6. Fair enough Scooter, it’s still the exception to put that much weight on a person and still have them perform. You named some pretty decent players that are good athletes, do all of them end up with careers like those 3?

                “He doesn’t play like that is his natural position.” Sure he does, what are you basing that statement off of?

              7. I’m basing it on how he played better from interior DL positions. He wasn’t as effective when lining up outside the OTs.

              8. This is what makes the pre-draft fun. The kid could end up in either system and be great or terrible either way.

                You’re right he could get drafted and beefed up to a 3-4 end. Maybe he’s better suited for that spot.

                I think if he’s drafted on the higher side it’ll be to a 4-3 team trying to get immediate returns. If he goes a bit later in the draft it’ll be to a 3-4 team that is willing to give him a season to grow into the position.

              9. It’s all moot. The only DE the 49ers are drafting is Ray Drew in the 6th.

              10. Here are some other 3-4 DEs that were of similar weight to Preston Smith coming out of college:

                – Stephen Bowen
                – Frostee Rucker
                – Cory Redding
                – Brett Keisel
                – Aaron Smith
                – Vinny Curry

              11. You can list names all night long Scooter what about Preston makes him like those guys? What specific traits about all those players you list does he have in common that makes you so certain he can have the same success?

                There are just as many draft profiles that claim he’s a perfect fit for a 4-3 as there are saying he’s a good prospect to move to a 3-4 so is it so hard to stay open to the idea of either? I’m fine saying you could be right but you’re taking the hard line that he’s a 3-4 end or bust and I’d have to ask for your scouting credentials before assuming you really know what you’re talking about here.

              12. Vinny Curry came out at 266 is only 279 and plays plays the end in 4 man front. Aaron Smith was 280 pounds in College. Keisel was 279 and is now only 285. Cory Redding, ok you got me there, that dude went from 280 to 318!! Frostee Rucker is only 280 pounds! Stephen Bowen, are you kidding? At least you don’t have to reach back a few decades to find guys.

                Other then Redding nobody on this list helps your point.

              13. No wait Bowen wasn’t quite as old as I thought. He did make a big weight gain, he’s also been in the league 9 seasons and has 56 starts. Didn’t exactly light up the league maybe he would have been better sticking at 272? ;)

              14. CfC, those guys all play 3-4 DE. Sure, they also play other positions in different fronts, but in 3-4 fronts they play DE. You don’t need to be 300 lbs to play DE in a 3-4.

                Preston Smith I think is better suited to be a 3-4 DE than 4-3 DE because he is better in a straight line than running the arc, and he does a very good job holding the point against the run when playing within the 0 to 5 tech spots. Its pretty much as simple as that. I can see him playing as a 3 or 5 tech in a 1-gap system at around 285 lbs. And while I expect you won’t take this with any credibility, when you look at him on film I’d be shocked if he wasn’t playing closer to 280 lbs last season.

                Just to clarify, I have never said he won’t be selected by a 4-3 team nor that he can’t play the position. In fact as I pointed out he has experience right across the DL. I said that a team that selects him as a 4-3 DE will likely end up a bit disappointed unless they kick him inside on passing downs, and the reason for that is he’s not a particularly good pass rusher from the edge.

              15. You and the others that see him as a 3-4 prospect could be completely correct. I don’t think he’s going to be anything special no matter what system he plays in so it’ll probably be a moot discussion.

                However to take it in another direction let me digress to a point I made earlier. If he goes to a 4-3 team I think he’ll be drafted sooner then if he ends up with a 3-4, what do you think?

              16. Smith would be a pretty good penetrating DT in a 4-3, but I think ideally he is probably best suited to a 3-4 as a 5 Technique. He’d be a decent pass rush contributor in that role imo.

              17. Heh, that was a quick change of heart, it was just last night that;
                “He fits the 4-3 better than the 3-4, but he could bulk up a bit like Tank did to be a 3 or a 5 technique in this system.”

                Just giving ya a bad time. He could do well as a 3-4 end if he bulks up, I guess. I don’t see it but I don’t feel strongly enough about it to disagree with the posibility. I still don’t see him moving inside as a DT in a 4-3 if he stays around his current weight which he would if he’s used as a 4-3 end. To me he’s either a 4-3 end at his current weight or he bulks up to be a 3-4 end. Can’t see him playing inside in either system.

              18. To be honest CfC I think teams that play both 4-3 and 3-4 will value Smith quite highly. A guy with the strength to hold up against the run and the speed and quickness to be disruptive against both the run and pass I imagine will be highly coveted, and I’d be surprised if he went later than mid 2nd.

                If he goes to a 4-3 team, I bet you a shiny nickel he kicks inside to DT on passing downs, like Justin Tuck has/ does.

              19. CFC,

                Yes I know I contradicted myself a bit with that statement, but it’s a case of seeing how he could contribute best in an every down role. I think he’d be good in a Saap type penetrating DT role in a 4-3, but he likely would have to add weight to do it and I don’t know if he could hold up. That’s why I then came back with the idea that he probably would be better served as a 5 in the 3-4 where he wouldn’t have to move.and can probably play at about 290. Obviously a team could put him at DE in a 4-3, but he’s not going to give you the consistent pass rush you want at that spot. He’d be like LaMarr Houston was in Oakland imo. Good run stopper and some pass rush, but he’s not going to put up great sack numbers.

              20. One thing I forgot to mention is while he may fit better in a 4-3 right now due to his size, a year or two in an NFL weight program will likely change that as it appears to have done with Tank.

              21. Scooter I’ll take your word for it that Tuck moved inside on passing downs and if that’s the case then I’ll drop my protest to the idea of Preston doing the same thing.

                I was also going to say something along the lines that since no or few teams actually employ a pure 4-3 or 3-4 or at least they don’t do it consistently enough to truly be called one or the other that ultimately he’ll probably end up in both systems.

                I’d bet you that nickle but I’m afraid I’ll probably lose it when he get’s drafted to a 3-4 :)

              22. Ha, you are probably right CfC, he’ll likely end up playing in multiple fronts, and with his versatility will probably end up playing a few different spots along the line.

    3. Barrows makes an excellent point about the adjustment time for CB’s however I don’t agree that the extra difficulty they face is a reason to not take one in the first round.

        1. I think his bold predictions were for what Baalke would do, not necessarily who he would pick. He’s going to provide his draft crush on tax day.

    1. Hahaha Under-
      It’s been pretty civil ’round these parts lately. More Gentlemen than others I think. Plenty of good insights and info shares.

      1. What till the season starts! Especially if CK gets off to a cold start. Look out for bombs and all other verbal explosions.
        Otherwise there are some pretty serious draft gurus on here to say the least.

        1. I’m sure you’re correct Prime. We’re mostly just guessing about stuff so not too much conflict these days.

    1. Saw that. This is a ‘special’ time of year. Lots of disinformation. Is Mayock just trying to get attention ($)? Just coming to your final ratings at the eleventh hour? Really? I dunno, maybe.

      1. He said it was a result of further film study. To be fair, even during the combine, Mayock repeatedly brought up the high number of interceptions that Winston threw last year and the fact that he had a difficult time being consistent for four quarters. When I heard him speak, it always seemed to me, anyway, that he reluctantly felt Winston was better.

    2. To me he’s just trying to put stuff out there so either way he can claim he was right. If Winston goes first he’ll say “that’s why I had him ranked #1 for so long in the beginning.”

  38. Quick question is there a cutoff for Crabtree to sign with another team that will affect our compensatory pick? If so, then the Raiders will announce his signing right after that date.

    1. I believe free agents signed after May 12th no longer count against the compensatory formula.

        1. Then we’re not getting anything for him……he probably already agreed in terms with the Raiders on the 6th and will sign after may 12th. Dang!!

    1. “They’ve needed a receiver like Green-Beckham for years, and finally they will get one.”

      So now you’ve changed your first round pick from OL to WR (DGB). Right?

      1. I’ve been hoping Baalke picks DGB (or one of the WR’s ranked ahead of him) all along. After reading Grant’s article I’m more convinced that Baalke should draft DGB, but because Grant says he should I’m almost positive now that he won’t.
        I’m pretty sure Baalke will go the “nobody will see me coming” route like he’s done with the last several 1st round picks and try to outsmart the rest of the football world,ending up with another WTF? kind of pick absolutely nobody’s talked about.
        I think Grant’s comparison of DGB to Kelvin Benjamin is spot on and I think he would be a great pick, even if 15 is maybe too early for him. Trading back to garner another pick and hoping to still get DGB later in the 1st round is just too risky, another team or teams surely has DGB in their sights also.

        1. “I’m pretty sure Baalke will go the “nobody will see me coming” route like he’s done with the last several 1st round picks and try to outsmart the rest of the football world,ending up with another WTF? kind of pick absolutely nobody’s talked about.”

          This is my biggest fear with regards to our draft. While I think Ward will be a good player (if he doesn’t have continuing foot problems), I think he was a bit of a reach – but many will argue it was a needs based reach. Of course, let’s not open the AJ wound again.

          1. Cubus

            Your worst fear is my biggest fear also….Let’s not get too cute….those other teams coaches and GM’s know our tendencies and play them against us..we could be a foil for them

    2. Good write up. I see him as one of the top 20 players in the draft, and I’m pretty confident he’ll at worst be a good #2 WR (so long as he stays out of trouble). However, I’d take Perriman over DGB in terms of potential.

      1. Thanks, Scooter.

        Would you rather draft a faster Brandon Marshall or a faster Roddy White? I’ll take the first one, but there is no wrong answer.

      2. I’m hearing lots of good stuff about Perriman.

        I don’t always agree with Greg Cosell, but he nailed it when he praised little hyped Martavis Bryant before the draft.

        Been listening to his podcasts (linked though his twitter). He likes Cooper and White. He’s fence sitting on Parker. Thinks Perriman has a chance to emerge down the road as the top WR in this class.

        Receiver section starts at 44 minutes. Perriman comments start at 48 Minutes.

    3. Grant:

      I thought you made a good point regarding injuries. Although I think Ward is a good player, I did feel that Baalke reached for him and was subsequently disappointed to learn of his foot problems. I wouldn’t mind a draft where Baalke doesn’t select any players with a history of injuries. I know we should benefit this year from the injured players that were selected last year (part. Thomas), but it seems to me that the needs are so great this year, that we do not have the luxury of selecting talented but injured players as Baalke has done in prior years.

        1. Parker’s been my draft crush ever since Kevin White ran that absurdly fast 40, knocking himself out of the 15 slot.

          Greg Cosell’s not so high on Parker. Cosell’s receiver scouting’s been pretty good. (He thought highly of Martavis Bryant. That 4th rounder worked out well for the Steelers)

          But I still love Parker’s highpoint catches, his RAC and shifty underneath moves. He’s sneaky physical with great per-game productivity.

          But there’s the foot.

          Before the Achilles Crabtree was hampered by foot issues. Ward too. Then there was Willis’s big toe. Companies that make walking boots must send the 49ers some really spiffy holiday gifts. I could see how Baalke would balk at foot injury prospects.

            1. I disagree with that. DGB wouldn’t have been a first round pick last year. There’s a chance he’s a better prospect than Parker but from what I’ve seen it isn’t a foregone conclusion. Parker is very good.

              1. He would have been the third or fourth receiver drafted last year. Definitely would have been a top-20 pick. Parker would have been a second-rounder. White and Perriman would have been Day 3 picks.

              2. DGB would have been a second round pick. Why take DGB over Benjamin, for instance, when DGB comes with off field issues? Without off field issues he’d have gone before Benjamin.

                Parker would have been a borderline first/ second round pick. He’d have gone after Cooks, probably before Lee.

                Perriman would have gone before Moncrief and Latimer, so at worst he’d have been a late 2nd round pick (though I think his combo of size and speed would have had him at mid 2nd at worst).

                White, like Parker, would likely have gone somewhere between Cooks and Lee.

              3. Why take DGB over Benjamin? Because DGB is better and more than 2 years younger than Benjamin. DGB may not have off-field issues. He may have been just an immature kid. Maybe he needs the structure of an NFL team. Maybe he needs a babysitter, like Dez Bryant.

              4. Sorry Grant but there’s no chance he would have gone that high. One, he had the off field concerns, and two, Parker had more production than DGB. I know you’ll point to the QB’s, but the combination of these two things would have dropped DGB behind Parker imo.

              5. Maybe the off-field concerns would have pushed him down the draft. He will be a better player than Brandin Cooks, though. I think the teams that pass on DGB will end up regretting they did.

              6. “Maybe the off-field concerns would have pushed him down the draft.”

                That is exactly what I meant when I was talking about him vs Benjamin. As i said, without off field concerns he would be taken ahead of Benjamin, you’d imagine.

              7. Right. Still, it takes just one team that feels it can handle the issues and drafts him based on his talent.

    4. I like the writeup Grant. Nice job. I feel the same way about Green-Beckham. With a bunch of teams likely to shy away from him, it could benefit the 49ers. They’ll be able to get a player they wouldn’t have had a shot at if not for the extra baggage. If he’s there at 15 (which looks likely at this point), I wouldn’t be upset if the scooped him up. The talenr might just be too good to pass up.

    5. Grant,

      You should have compared him to Randy Moss, too. Have you watched film on all the prospects you wrote about? More on that below …

      I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: DGB is the best WR in this draft, if you’re talking about potential career-long output. Only Cooper is currently a better player.

      If you review the tape of Cooper, White, Parker, Perriman, and Green-Beckham, you see: Cooper is ALWAYS wide open. HIs route running is sublime, like Odell Beckham last year. Also, Cooper is able to run away from people in both small spaces (quickness) and in taking it across the middle or up the sideline. Parker has similar quickness, and high-points balls well, but he isn’t open nearly as often as Cooper. Neither White nor Perriman, for all their amazing track speed, don’t seem to ever get wide open; most of their catches are contested, and when they actually catch the ball, they don’t seem to have the quickness to explode away from nearby tacklers. They are eerily similar receivers, and will both be significantly overdrafted.

      Dorial Green-Beckham’s tape is clear: first, he is absolutely enormous; second, he seems to be WIDE OPEN almost as much as Cooper; third, he is a natural hands-catcher; fourth, when he catches the ball in tight spaces, he has the quickness of a much smaller guy and the long speed expected of a guy with his stride and pedigree; last, he dominates his airspace.

      And that’s not all. There is at least one pundit (Bucky Brooks) who says that DGB played and combined significantly over his optimal weight, and that once he joins an NFL strength training program, he will likely become stronger and leaner, with speed that could get him into the 4.3s, and an improved explosiveness to his leaping and overall play.


      Randy Moss, said I? Maybe so.

        1. Those cheap 4-year rookie contracts pass quickly. For some “talented but not yet pro-ready” players, teams are lucky to get two years starter productivity from before their contracts expire.

          Say Vance McDonald’s back is OK and he starts catching passes… and Tank starts to blossom as a DE toward the end of this season… you spent two mid-high 2nd round picks for a lousy 2-4 seasons of quality play. Then its off to free agency.

          That’s why I like Cooper. You get a full four years of high level play, with the fifth year option available.

        2. I don’t get it… in one of your recent BR write-ups you were pretty down on DGB. I think your words were something like he wasn’t even the #1 WR on his team. Am I wrong???

            1. They are both elite but raw athletes for the position, that need coaching up. I don’t think there is much to separate them athletically, DGB brings great size with good speed and agility, Perriman brings great speed, acceleration and agility with good size.

              1. DGB is better at getting open than Perriman. DGB played with terrible quarterbacks, too.

              2. Perriman had his best year with Justin Holman throwing him the ball. It’s not the QB’s. You also have to account for the fact a lot of the catches these guys are making aren’t that far down field, yet Perriman’s YPC this past season was ridiculous; almost 21 yards per.

              3. “DGB is better at getting open than Perriman.”

                Not from what I have seen. Perriman routinely had separation, his QB was simply unable to find him. I’ve not seen any 2013 footage of Perriman so I can’t comment on what he was like with Bortles. Perriman accounted for a much higher % of team passing yards in 2014 than DGB did in 2013, and from memory a similar % if you compare the two sophomore years.

                DGB on the other hand was not routinely open. He had to make a lot of contested catches (though with his size, not much of a contest).

              4. My impression is DGB creates more separation and moves more fluidly than White, Parker or Perriman.

              5. More separation than Parker, probably about the same separation as White. I very rarely saw Perriman truly covered, he almost always had at least a step on the DB covering him. The thing with Perriman is once he gets a step or two ahead he then runs under control and within himself, maintaining the separation but not blowing the DB away. It gives him another gear to track down a ball if he needs it.

              6. DGB had more catches, but then the Missouri team used DGB on WR screens and short routes while UCF didn’t use Perriman in this way.

              7. I’ve not seen the film against Missouri. I’d like to see if the stats reflect his play in that game. In the games I saw the number of times I saw Perriman get open and the QB either not throw his way or just plain miss him was staggering.

                We had a similar discussion about Beckham last year, and how he was shut out in some games. Was he really shut out by the defense, or by his own team?

              8. “That’s because DGB is more fluid than Perriman.”

                DGB is a more fluid athlete, but that isn’t the reason Missouri used him on these types of plays and UCF did not use Perriman in such a manner. It all has to do with the offenses the two teams run. UCF is more of a pro style offense and just doesn’t make much use of WR screens. And they used Perriman as their X to stretch the D and open up routes underneath.

                Perriman is much sharper than DGB, making hard cuts with excellent acceleration, agility and throttle down ability. He has all the physical tools you look for in a complete WR. It was the OCs decision to use Perriman primarily as a deep threat. But when I watch him, I see a guy that can do a whole lot more.

              9. Grant,

                Perriman played a lot of bad teams. Missouri shut him down last season.

                A number of teams shut DGB down his Sophomore year at Missouri. I also don’t see DGB getting open more than Perriman; the exact opposite in fact.

                I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t like DGB, I do, but I think the hype exceeds the ability at this point. His natural talent is off the charts, but he’s got a long way to go to learn how to play the position at this level, and I think all the others we are talking about are ahead of him in that regard. Not playing his Jr. year sure didn’t help.

            2. Here are your words Grant:

              “Dorial Green-Beckham, University of Oklahoma

              Some draft experts consider Green-Beckham the most talented receiver in the draft. But he might not be a No. 1 receiver. He might be a complementary receiver, like Torrey Smith.

              Green-Beckham didn’t play in 2014. In 2013, he played at the University of Missouri, and he was not the team’s No. 1 receiver. Missouri’s leader in receiving yards was L’Damian Washington. Heard of him?”

              He may not be a #1 receiver, just complimentary??? He wasn’t even the #1 receiver on his team???

              Now your “making a case for DGB”….. now he’s a “fatser Brandon Marshall.”

              What changed Grant?

              1. I didn’t take a stand on him one way or the other in that article. I presented the facts and possibilities. But remember, he was 20 in 2013.

    1. Imagine the media hysteria if Haynes returns a couple of kicks for touchdowns in his first few appearances in real games. It would be Tebow-esque I think, but then imagine the media hysteria it would create in Australia. I hope we get to see it.

  39. Here’s my next stab at a mock draft.

    TRADE: San Francisco trades the 15th (1st round) pick to Philadelphia for LG Evan Mathis, the 20th (1st round) pick, and the 84th (3rd round) pick.
    TRADE: San Francisco trades the 20th (1st round) pick to New Orleans for the 44th (2nd round) pick and the 2016 second round pick.

    PICK 44
    WR Phillip Dorsett
    A true speedster with the skill set to play in the slot or outside. Has a quick pivot that allows him to quickly chew up yards on the ground after a short pass. Has a nose for finding soft spots in coverage. Not afraid to block despite his size. Decent hands and doesn’t body catch. Hard-working individual that leaves it on the field. Offers the possibility of being a returner. Would be an excellent complement to Smith and Boldin, allowing for the field to open up more.

    PICK 46
    TE Clive Warford
    A big target with usually reliable hands. Won’t outrun anybody, but runs a route good enough to make up for it. Demands enough attention downfield that allows for a receiver to get open. Improved in his blocking to where it isn’t a weakness. Would be an immediate upgrade over Vance McDonald and the heir apparent to Vernon Davis.

    PICK 79
    RB Ameer Abdullah
    An absolute steal. A capable back with the ability to be versatile as a backup or starter. Not a homerun threat, but chews up yards on the ground when he touches the ball. A viable threat in the passing game. Great vision and patience which allows for him to find a seam to slip through. Impeccable character on and off the field. Shiftiness would be an excellent complement to Hyde’s power and Bush’s speed.

    PICK 84
    CB/FS Byron Jones
    Impressive speed that allows him to keep up with speedsters. Mirrors a receiver well in different types of coverages. Can get inside their pads to where a good throw can become contested. Underrated hands. Can highpoint the ball in order to get the interception. Able to put his hands up and jam the receiver at the LOS. Solid tackler who’s willing to play hurt. A leader on and off the field.


    PICK 126
    A mammoth sized road grader that is also surprisingly a decent pass protecter. Quick out of his stance and has nice footwork. Delivers an initial strong punch that can freeze his opponent. Contained Randall Gregory and sprung opened big holes for Melvin Gordon against Nebraska. Has the skill set to kick inside if need be.

    PICK 132
    Fits what Baalke tends to go after during the draft. Shows an ability to diagnose the play in front of him and react accordingly with great closing speed. One of the best run defending DBs in the draft despite his size. Competitive with a motor that doesn’t quit until the whistle. Above average ball skills.


    PICK 151
    ILB/OLB Paul Dawson
    An agile and instinctive defender with a high ceiling. Possesses sideline-to-sideline speed. One of the better draftable LBs against the run. Can drop back in coverage without being a liability. Blitzes the QB from the inside or on the outside. Solid wrap-up tackler. Able to switch directions on a dime. Plays hard with high end motor.


    PICK 192
    An intriguing small school prospect. Quick out of his stance, showing enough strength and power to driver a blocker back. Not fast, but displays surprising closing speed and can be a QB’s worst nightmare. Doesn’t know the word quit. Knows where the ball is going and tends to arrive with a thud at contact.


    TRADE: San Francisco trades the 246th (7th round) pick to Tampa Bay for Mike Glennon.

    PICK 254
    DT/DE Bobby Richardson
    Long arms and hands that allow him to get inside and knock a blocker back. Fast for a man his size. Has the ability to track down the ball carrier no matter how far away he is. Able to disengage from blocker quickly thanks to a nice spin move. Excels penetrating the gap. Continuous motor and loves to hit.

    1. Mid-
      A few thoughts on your mock:
      – I like Dorsett, but is he too small for Trent’s typical player profile?
      -I’m not sure they’ll take a RB as high as 3rd since RB is getting crowded. Bush was optimistic about Hayne, then there’s Bush and Hunter and Hyde.
      -I like Jones if he’s there at #84
      -Is 6th a bit late for edge rush depth?

      1. -Yes and no. For example, Reid fit the type of measurements Baalke usually goes for in a prospect yet Borland clearly didn’t. I think Baalke will target someone that can make the team better, and Dorsett definitely has that potential. The two sides also met with each other at the Senior Bowl.

        -Hayne is probably a year or two away from being able to contribute and counting on Hunter to stay healthy is not a good idea. Adding Abdullah would add another dimension to the run game. We would have power (Hyde), speed (Bush), and shiftiness (Abdullah).

        -Me too.

        -I think the team is content right now with what they have. I know that they’re visiting with some edge rushers, but (even though I see edge/pass rusher as a top priority) I think those visits are just smokescreens.

  40. Mid:

    An interesting draft.

    1) Wow. NO with three picks in the first round! I’m not sure how you figured out that the trade with NO was a fair value trade. The 20th pick has a value around 850 points. The 44th pick has a value around 460 points. They say that the current value of a 2016 draft round is about the same as a 2015 round – 1. So a 2nd round pick in 2016 has a value similar to the same pick in the 3rd round. Highest 3rd round value in 2015 is 265, so it seems like we would need another pick from NO.

    2) I looked at five 7 round drafts and 4 out of 5 had Ekpre-Olomu taken in the 3rd round so not sure if he’ll last until the end of the 4th. While I had him in my first draft, I’m now on the fence about selecting draftees with injuries.

    3) Those same 5 drafts have Paul Dawson taken in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Again, I don’t think he’ll last until the 5th.

    4) If we could get Glennon with a 7th round pick, I’d be very happy. I’ve been a Mike Glennon fan since he picked apart the Seahawks in 2013 (but Tampa Bay eventually lost).

    1. Thanks Cubus.

      On my trade with New Orleans:
      That’s the first time I have been told that I didn’t have enough picks in a trade! Usually I’m told that I have too many or too high of a pick.

      On Ekpre Olomu: There were questions arising about what he could offer after a down year in 2014 before his injury.
      I also think it’s difficult to go what other mocks and rankings say because they’re not always accurate. Two examples that I can think of are Quinton Patton and John Brown. Patton was classified as a second round WR but fell to us in the fourth round. Meanwhile, Brown was classified by most mocks as a sixth rounder at best last year, but the Cardinals picked him up in the third round instead.

      On Dawson: There seems to be a real concern about what he can offer and if he really is one of the top LBs in this draft. Most of this is due to his very poor showing at the Combine which has led scouts to believe that the system he was in was what made him good and not his style of play. But what has hurt him the most is his 40 time. He rebounded on his Pro Day, but various sources from team scouts to inside sources don’t believe that was enough. His size is a negative which could only be negated by a good 40 time. Couple those factors with reports that he and the coaching staff were at odds with each other and you have the recipe for a potential draft day free fall.

      On Glennon: I think it’s very possible. His stock has fallen enough that teams won’t be willing to give up anything higher than a seventh round pick.

  41. Football Outsiders ratings of edge-rushers:


    From the article:
    “The SackSEER projections are based on a statistical analysis of the factors that best predict the pass rushing success of edge rushers: 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers. In recent years, SackSEER has correctly predicted a number of busts at the edge rusher position (including Dion Jordan, Jarvis Jones, and Courtney Upshaw), and identified both Justin Houston (a third-rounder for Kansas City) and Jamie Collins (taken in the late second round by New England) as significant sleepers. SackSEER is far from perfect, however. For example, it predicted big things for Cleveland’s Barkevious Mingo, who has yet to make a major impact.”

    “This year, there is considerable uncertainty concerning who will be the first edge rusher selected in the NFL draft. Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler Jr., Shane Ray, or Vic Beasley could each conceivably hear his name called before any of his peers. SackSEER, however, sees this class as night and day: it thinks two of the four are excellent prospects, and the other two are highly likely to become busts.”

    Their top 3, in order: Beasley, Gregory, Dupree. By their analysis, the talent falls off sharply after Dupree.

    1. Good find George. The guys over at Football Outsiders have some very interesting analyses. Nice to see they are high on three of my favourites – Beasley, Dupree and Preston Smith.

        1. Yeah, I saw that. Tull could be a mid round gem. Very short arms for a rush LB though, which may give teams pause.

    2. Seeing Lynden Trail on their sleeper list is interesting. He carries the dubious Vint tag from WF. Big kid. At first I thought he might be better playing the end in a 4-3(guess that’s a familiar trend for me this year) but I quickly retracted that seeing that he’s been playing 3-4 OLB. Not sure he has the right aggression and demeanor to play LB in the NFL and he’s also not exactly known for his pass rush but he’s seen as raw and malleable.

  42. Football Outsiders top 8 WR “playmakers:

    The top players above the score of 80% are, in order:

    Amari Cooper
    Sammie Coates
    Stefon Diggs
    Nelson Agholor
    Breshad Perriman
    DeAndre Smelter
    Titus Davis
    Tyler Lockett

    1. George, all of the top 3 WR’s on that list have been linked to the 49ers in recent weeks, either in actual team visits or in draft target rumors. Hmmmm.

      1. About Diggs, what I’ve been reading is that he’d be more suitable in the slot and/or return game. If that’s correct, it seems to me they’d have a logjam with Patton or Ellington already on the roster. Same with Agholor. I think we can forget about Cooper. I can see Coates, Perriman, or Smelter, if he fully recovers from his ACL, as a successor to Boldin.

      1. I like Smelter also but I’d be surprised to see him go that high, if he was healthy then I’d suspect to see him go in those ranges but he’s probably more in the 150-185 range.

    2. Titus Davis is an often overlooked late round prospect. He was highly productive for Central Michigan. Would be a good pick late on.

    3. Nelson Agholor is a guy that really doesn’t get a lot of love on here. I’m guessing it is because he’s from USC. But he’s a good player. And I think he is more than just a slot WR – he gets labelled as that largely because USC likes to use their #1 WR from the slot a lot.

      For a guy that only started playing WR three years ago, he’s very impressive.

    1. Not perfect, but Peat did some good things. He has really good length and base for pass pro, size for run blocking and agility to block second level.

      What concerns me is how pass rushers get into his chest and bend his upper torso backwards. He usually blocks the guy anyway, but it negates his arm length advantage. It also looks weird.

      I don’t always agree 100% with Bob Sturm’s profiles, but he really puts the work in.


    1. Grant ..

      Dunno why Peat is a draft-crush for you, this year..
      In the “highlight” tape (above) .. he looks lost
      most of the time …

      Think I’d rather go with Scherff, instead

        1. Grant ..

          Well, yeah..
          Although I’m not as astute in all the stats
          and measurables as you and our esteemed
          colleagues, here .. I do, trust my eyes ..

          and .. like I said .. judging by the two youtube
          highlights .. to me ..(at least) .. Peat looks lost
          most of the time ..
          I thought these tapes were supposed
          to show the good stuff a player does ..

          I’d still rather go with Scherff ..if it was
          between these two ..
          He appears to have a mean streak … and
          that impressed me

          1. I agree MW.. He is soft!!! Just like all the Tackles that come out of Stanford. They don’t get Elite players there. The get student athletes first and foremost. Grant is going to talk about how he is only 21 and he is going to be a monster. This guy reminds me of Kwame Harris. I wouldn’t touch this guy..

  43. Ok I’ll admit I love underdogs,I am fascinated with the small school prospect, a kid who faces big odds to bust the mold and find a way to the big time. Unabashedly, a fan of the Mount Union football program for instance-Larry Kehres their recently retired coach was one of most underrated football minds of his generation and I secretly harbored hopes that he would go NFL and find a way to the 49ers our next Bill Walsh,oh well. So when we talk draft crushes I find myself often gravitating toward a small school candidate and this year there are several who fill the bill. Who would have guessed a lineman from Hobart (Hobart?) would rank so high and have so much promise? Ali Marpet is top of my list as a small school candidate draft crush this year ,A 6’3″ 307 lb OL who ran a 4.98 40 yd and a 1.71 10 yd split (best of all participating OL at the combine) and who more than held his own at the Senior Bowl against a rather formidable R. Shelton ! He is the first on my list.

    1. “OK I’ll admit I love underdogs, I am fascinated with the small school prospect,….”
      Yeah, like Jerry Rice? Un-huh. ; >)

  44. Was watching a qb draft show on nfl.com; it had Petty, Hundley and Mannon. It was obvious that Petty had the best arm by far, his release is really quick. It’s a shame that we don’t have the transporter device from the Fly movies where we could put Grayson in one side and Petty in the other and end up with a mutant perfect NFL QB prospect. Both QB’s have what the other lacks, if Grayson had Petty’s arm or if Petty had Graysons experience in a pro system you’d have the perfect player prospect.

        1. Colin is what you get when you cross the fly with Petty, he’s missing the Grayson contribution.

  45. http://draftbreakdown.com/video/dorial-green-beckham-vs-auburn-2013/

    In this video I can see why some love Beckham in spite of his issues off the field, but I also see areas that give me further pause:
    1. He shows absolutely no interest in blocking and appears to be just going through the motions when asked to do so.
    2. He isn’t aggressive enough on contested passes.
    3. He doesn’t use his height to his advantage on jump balls.
    4. He has little wiggle and doesn’t break tackles.
    5. That route running… :-p

    1. Perhaps I missed it but I would love to hear your opinion on Strong.
      He seems like a good bridge between between Bolden and Smith to me.
      I like him and Parker for our team, as any WR chosen has to have good hands and they are the most sure handed ones in the draft from what I have read.

      1. http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jaelen-strong-vs-steven-nelson-2014/

        1. He either is a lousy blocker or isn’t interested in being one. That grabbing in order to block will get him flagged often if he doesn’t lose that habit.
        2. For a guy who is said to be bigger than what his listed weight is he sure gets out muscled a lot.
        3. He has some shake ‘n bake, but he is completely shut down by his opponent if they match him step for step.
        4. He has too many drops and some that are downright inexcusable.
        5. He can be aggressive on contested passes but is inconsistent doing so.
        6. His game speed won’t allow him to be a deep threat in the NFL.

        Overall I see a lot of Dwayne Bowe in him: the good and the bad. He’d be a nice #2 WR and an asset in the red zone, but I don’t see enough to warrant drafting him in the first round. I don’t think he’s a good fit for a running team also wanting to stretch the field.

  46. Based on what I see from those highlights and past ones as well, I have to lean more towards Perriman as the better of the two. Perriman is raw, but I see more polish on him and he appears more likely to contribute in both phases of offense. Beckham would appear to more suited for a pass heavy team.

      1. No problem Scooter. I see Perriman as a good pickup in the latter part of the first round, but Beckham is one I would steer clear of until Day 2. I expect more from a guy that is so physically gifted and had been anointed by some as the best WR in this draft. I’d take Cooper, White, or Parker (especially Parker) over Beckham any day. Perriman meanwhile is clearly the fourth best WR. He’s close to Parker, but Parker’s shiftiness in space gives him the edge.

        1. MidWest ..

          Thanx for the link to draftbreakdown.com ..

          this is much better that searching youtubes !!

          (This website just might make me smarter !)

          (nah )

      1. Yup. The TE crop after Williams, Walford and Funchess leaves a pretty sour taste in the mouth. Its pretty much at that point where you don’t mind bringing in a guy that hasn’t played football for a few years purely based on athletic potential.

          1. He’s ok, but he doesn’t look like a future #1 TE to me.

            To be honest, even in Clive Walford I don’t see a 2nd round prospect, though that is where most draft sites seem to have him going. More a 3rd round guy who’s stock is being boosted by there not being many decent TE options. Maybe my expectations from the TE position are unrealistic, but this TE crop just doesn’t do much for me.

            1. Not a #1 TE you’d be hard pressed to find one in this group ,more of a 4/5 rnd guy -really soft hands unafraid in traffic and Oh hell anyone called a throwback is generally OK with me(I am Hightop after all!)

              1. My feelings on Waller as a potential TE convert are that it really goes to show how bad the mid to late TE prospects are. Waller is completely a triangle numbers prospect. If he was 6’2″, 225 lbs, or if he ran a 4.7s 40, he probably wouldn’t even be considered a potential draft pick as his game tape doesn’t warrant it.

                But he’s 6’6″ and around 240 lbs running a sub 4.5s 40 combined with excellent explosion and agility for his size. I understand the attraction, he’s a great athlete as either a WR or TE. If he can develop his game he could be something pretty impressive. If the 49ers drafted him in the 5th round or later I’d understand. But I think he’s a high ceiling, extremely low floor prospect that has a much better chance of following in the footsteps of Stephen Hill than Demaryius Thomas.

                With O’Leary, he’d be a fine later round pick as a guy you hope turns into a solid and dependable #2 TE in the NFL.

      2. I like Rory Anderson. If he had played in a different system we might be talking about him a lot more.

        1. Injury and size concerns are his biggest red flags. That and he’d be tied to the jugs machine his rookie season.

        2. I’ve not really looked at him much so can’t comment, other than I did note he seemed to be injured a lot. I’ll have to take a further look at him.

    1. Glad to see you’re on board the Pullard train. I put him at #127 in my most recent guessapalooza.

          1. “Even if a samurai’s head were to be suddenly cut off, he should still be able to perform one more action with certainty. If one becomes like a revengeful ghost and shows great determination, though his head is cut off, he should not die.”

      1. Grant,

        You made an issue out of Pullard’s strength, or lack thereof:

        “But he might not be able to play either one right away. He bench-pressed 225 pounds just 19 times at the combine. That’s a small number of reps for an inside linebacker. Pullard might be a special teams player in the NFL until he gets stronger.

        That is unless I’m underestimating his strength, in which case he’d be a steal in Round 3 or Round 4.”

        But then you listed Bernadrick McKinney as your #1 choice and gushed about him thus:

        “McKinney has the athleticism to play strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 or left inside linebacker in a 3-4. The Niners use a 3-4. McKinney can do everything the Niners want a left inside linebacker to do—take on blocks, run sideline to sideline and cover tight ends.”

        But although you list his combine bench reps at only 16, 3 reps (15%) less than the 19 reps Pullard benched, you don’t doubt McKinney’s chances to play right away in the NFL?

        Care to explain?

        1. No one questions his ability to be a take on linebacker. It’s hard to pump out a lot of reps with long arms.

          1. Mckinney’s arms are only 1-3/4″longer than Pullard’s but he’s also 4″ taller so the arm lengths are relative to their frames. I’m just saying, you can’t question one’s guy strength on the bench press but give another guy who benches less a free pass.

            1. It doesn’t matter that the arm length is relative — it’s still harder to bench with long arms. You have to do more work because you’re pushing the weight higher. McKinney has terrific play strength and a strong lower body.

          2. What blew me away was Vance McDonald’s 31 reps + 34.38″ arm length.

            Even if he turns out to be a two catch a game blocking TE, I sure hope his back recovers.

    2. If Paul Dawson didn’t come with some serious concerns about his commitment he’d be the guy I was beating my drum for. Easily the most instinctive ILB available this year. But I’ve read a few reports that say he doesn’t put the work in during the week, and is a pain in the rear end to coach.

        1. And he quite rightly dropped to the 5th round as a result. If Dawson is there in the 4th or 5th round he’s worth the gamble.

          I do think there are only so many guys with questionable work ethics you can have on the roster before it becomes a problem.

            1. Yes. He put the work in last year, but he’s shown in the past he’s got a lazy streak in him. I’d like to see Lynch string a few seasons of consistent effort both on and off the field before I consider him a reformed man.

              1. Plenty of 20-year-olds have lazy streaks they grow out of. Lynch was the steal of the draft. He just needed to mature.

              2. Sure, and plenty that have lazy streaks don’t grow out of them.

                Lynch was very good last year, and if he keeps improving and putting the hard work in he will absolutely be a steal. But he was pretty darn good as a freshman at Notre Dame too. Lets see if he keeps it up.

              3. Paul Dawson was the best player at TCU without trying. I don’t think he would let NaVorro Bowman outwork him. Dawson is competitive. He wants to be the best.

              4. Scoot- He kinda turned it around, why would he regress? He got positive feedback last year with his hard work by earning increased playing time and confidence. I see Lynch as arrow up.

              5. Dawson says he wants to be the best. And I’m sure he would love to be the best. But there is a big difference between wanting to be the best and working your behind off to be the best.

                Brotha, I’m not about to let one year of hard work convince me Lynch has definitely flicked the switch and become a dedicated professional. Its easier to put the hard work in when you feel you need to prove yourself, and when everything is still new and exciting. While I am quietly optimistic he will continue to work hard and progress, until he shows he’s willing to do the grind for a few years its still quite plausible this is temporary.

              6. But he was the best. He did what it took to be the best. He doesn’t seem complacent.

              7. Yeah, I’m taking some leaps of faith. But for instance, I’m (so far) buying into Aldon’s improved attitude. Yes (until otherwise hinted) on Lynch too. Jim T. wants Brooks back? Fine. Lemonade? Nffff, last chance. RooK? Rounds 2-5.

          1. And he quite rightly dropped to the 5th round as a result. If Dawson is there in the 4th or 5th round he’s worth the gamble.

            Hmmm…now where have I seen that before?

            1. Well who knows until things play out but again I seriously doubt Dawson falls anywhere near the 5th round. CBS still has him as a 2nd/3rd round projection and I agree! If we get him in the third it is a great pick up.

        1. You aren’t worried about the reports regarding his lack of enthusiasm to practice and preparation, including regularly being late to meetings? An NFL team won’t stand for that, and I worry about how well he will transition to the NFL if those sorts of reports are true.

          However, this article does give me some hope that a lot of the negative perception regarding his game preparation and lack of study is misplaced. It should be noted this is his own article, and he conveniently mentions nobody even knew he was still in the building, so no-one can dispute his claim. But it does seem hard to fathom how a player can be so instinctive on the field without putting in the film time he claims he did, so I’m willing to believe it.


          1. He seems like the kind of guy who would flourish on a good NFL team and flounder on a bad one. He probably would check out on a team like the Raiders but work hard for a team like the Ravens.

              1. I think Bowman would be a terrific role model for him, and Boldin would be a terrific role model for Green-Beckham.

              2. I just get concerned that at some point you reach a tipping point on high character/ motor guys and questionable character/ motor guys. If you’ve got a lot of strong character, hard working leaders then you can get away with a few questionable character players.

                The 49ers have lost Willis and McDonald, and likely will lose J. Smith, who were three of the strongest leaders on the D. They’ve still got Bowman and Bethea, and Dockett is a renowned hard worker, but its a lot of veteran, strong character leaders to lose in one go. The team needs some of the younger guys to move into leadership roles. Will Dawson have the right mix of veteran leadership showing him the way at the 49ers? Tough to say for certain.

                The offense is better placed I think to handle a questionable character. There are a number of strong presences on that side of the ball in place (Kaep, Boldin, Staley, V. Davis, Boone, and even newly signed T. Smith is a noted charismatic and hard working player).

              3. I think the fact J Smith is taking so long could indicate he’s coming back. If he does, the leadership will be fine on that side of the ball. If not, Dorsey is another veteran that could take on more of a leadership role….

              4. Nothing is set in stone regarding J. Smith yet, but the way I see it is if it is taking him this long to figure out if he wants to play this season then he simply shouldn’t play. For his own sake. He clearly has some serious doubts.

                Dorsey is a veteran, and he’s reportedly a hard working guy. He will likely take on more of a leadership role, but I don’t know if he brings the same level of respect and presence a guy like Justin Smith or Darnell Dockett does.

    3. I liked your breakdown on Dawson. There is something to “Field Fast”; it involves quickness as well as recognition. Borland made plays. Riki Ellison and Matt Millen (when he played for SF late in his career) made plays without being fast.
      On Kendricks and Thompson, I just don’t know what they do with a 300lb buffalo getting in their grill.

    4. Grant:

      I just want to say that I’ve enjoyed all of the bleacher report articles that you’ve written. Thanks for posting them here as I’m not a big fan, in general, of bleacher report.

    1. He’s got the Niners trading the Rai-Duhs
      for the #4 pick.. and grabbing DT Leonard Williams ..

      Two questions, Razor …

      1.) WHO are trading ?? … (Gabbert ?) ..

      2.) Shouldn’t we see what we have in Tank ?

      1. #15 -> #4 = pricey. RayDuhs would want choices; maybe 2nd & 6th or 3rd & 5th…?
        And at #4? Leonard Williams would be no doubt the best choice for Oakland, but a 45/55 arguement could be made for Cooper to SF over Williams.

        1. Funny, I was kicking around trade scenarios with the Raiders because they have so much cap space. Their location makes a sign-n-trade easier on the player.

          To be clear, I DO NOT want to trade Aldon Smith… but Aldon+15 for pick 4 makes sense (in a weird way). His 5th year option guaranteed salary was recently changed. That makes him easier to cut, but also more attractive trade bait.

          Unless Baalke can free up a mountain of cash, Aldon’s a one year rental.

          Compare that to having Leonard Williams, Amari Cooper or Dante Fowler four years, with possible 5th year option, on a relatively cheap rookie contract.

          It gets even more fun. A modest trade back from down to 7 through 10 would fetch an extra 2nd or 3rd, but still keep the 49ers in the “Elite” player range. Cooper might even be there.

          Again, I want Aldon. My dream scenario is he gets his act together and signs an extension with the 49ers after a great 2015.

      1. I don’t advocate it or expect it. A possible trade was mentioned and I was considering the possibilities. I also read the rumor that Trent REALLY liked Cooper, so I was trying to see what the value was that would attract his interest that much. Williams is also special.

        1. Rotoworld has the following today on Leonard Williams:

          “ESPN’s Louis Riddick suggested USC DT Leonard Williams may struggle to make an impact on third downs in the NFL.
          Although Williams is widely regarded as a top-five lock, a slew of astute analysts have expressed skepticism regarding his pass-rush ability, from Riddick to NFL Films’ Greg Cosell, RSP’s Eric Stoner, and PFF’s Sam Monson. “This is not to say that Leonard Williams cannot be a good player, because he should be,” Riddick said. “I just do not want to pay that kind of price for a good two-down player that I don’t know if he will be a good third-down producer. I have not seen it, and I don’t trust it at this point.” The comparisons for Williams have ranged widely, with optimists likening him to Richard Seymour and skeptics to Tyson Jackson.”

  47. http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jaelen-strong-vs-marcus-peters-2014-2/

    At first blush it looks like Peters covered Strong well. But a deeper look reveals Peters constantly grabbing onto Strong and not getting flagged, which is something I don’t see as being allowed as much in the NFL.
    The other noticeable area of concern is when Peters gives some cushion to Strong, he gets beat. What’s worse is that he doesn’t react quick enough to Strong’s change of direction on the route that led to the 15 yard TD. He does recover, but Strong has already run in for the TD.
    These are two areas of concern that I keep seeing show up when

    1. I watch highlights of Peters. Both are not something that I want to see in a CB labeled as a first rounder.

      (Sorry, hit the post button on accident.)

  48. I don’t recall a draft that had so much hinging on what’s going on between the ears of Winston, DGB, Peters and others. With so many headcases, this draft is going to get at least one GM fired.

    If a GM drafts a headcase and the rookie reverts to his old ways… he’s fired for wasting a high pick.

    If a GM passes on a headcase, and the rookie gets his act together and plays great… he’s fired for skipping over a great HOF player.

    It must be awful to meticulously assemble a top scouting staff, amass mountains of player data, view countless hours of film, travel far and wide to watch college games and pro days… and still have all this uncertainty.

    1. He sure was. I’ll tell ya. Nothing makes ya feel older then when players you saw drafted retire after a full career in the league.

      1. Coffee..

        I felt the same way after some unknown ..
        skinny and frail lookin’ dude from
        Mississippi Valley State retired

      2. I remember the 81 draft. The previous season the new offense was clicking, but the DB shortage was downright comical. The 49ers were desperate for cover guys.

        The two top DBs projected to go in the first were Ronnie Lott and Kenny Easley. Everyone thought Lott would be taken by Seattle before the 49ers picked, and Walsh would pick Kenny Easley as a perfectly acceptable consolation prize. Easley was really good too.

        But Seattle shocked us and Chose Easley. You know the rest of the story.

        1. I had endzone seats for the playoff game vs NYG. Lott picked off a pass, ran it in for a TD, and heaved the ball in my direction. Landed two seats in front of me.

          The chants started faintly, then grew louder… “we want Dallas… we want Dalla…” Rainy, cold night.

          (I camped for three days in a VW bug outside the stick, waiting for tickets for that game. OldCoach was in that crowd. We were a tribe. We were nuts.)

          1. Yep, those were some magical times for sure. I turned 21 only 12 days before that divisional playoff game against the Giants, and was finally allowed into the local “sports” bar; Chico’s Madison Bear Garden. I watched the playoffs and the Super Bowl there that year and like most everywhere else in NorCal, Chico went absolutely nuts. The Niners winning a Super Bowl? The beginning of The Dynasty…

        2. Other notables from that draft: include 2 – Lawrence Taylor, 3- Freeman McNeil, 5- E. J. Junior, 37 – Cris Collinsworth, 38 – Mike Singletary, 40 – Eric Wright, 48 – Howie Long, 51 – Rickey Jackson, 65 – Carlton Williamson, 69 – Russ Grimm, 119 – Dexter Manley, 121 – Lynn Thomas, 147 – Pete Kugler.

          1. I recall some of the Bay Area media experts complaining about Eric Wright in Round 2: a reach, too skinny for safety and too much a long strider to ever develop into a really good cb. Yeah, right; or should I say Wright?

    1. Ronnie Lott, Kenny Easley from memory. Not the others.

      I was really paying attention to the draft because the need was so clear. Get DB help. The offense was doing some really cool stuff the previous year. The post draft addition of Hacksaw and Fred Dean tipped it.

      Imagine how that team would have hummed of Paul Hoffer was healthy?

  49. Ok next small school draft favorite of mine this year is one Zack Zenner:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2421459-zach-zenner-is-the-most-productive-2015-nfl-draft-prospect-youve-never-heard-of;Charles Davis list him as a cinderella rospect of this years draft;more herehttp://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=97189&draftyear=2015&genpos=FB-listed as a full back but really is a power RB who could fill at FB,Great character hard worker would be a great addition to our Rb rotation!

      1. I know ..

        just razzin’ ya ..

        Ya know .. maybe if we ask Grant
        nicely .. he’ll get his lazy webmaster
        to give us an EDIT button …

        Ya think ?

            1. htwaits and I routinely take turns begging for an “Edit” button, but so far our cries for help have fallen on deaf ears.

  50. Looks like some good news on Bowman. From Rotoworld:

    “Coach Jim Tomsula said Friday he expects ILB Navorro Bowman (knee surgery) to be on the field for the 49ers’ pre-draft minicamp.
    The 49ers hold their first minicamp in the last week before the NFL draft. Bowman missed all of last season after tearing multiple knee ligaments, and it’s unclear whether he’ll return as the same All-Pro player he was pre-injury. The 49ers will certainly hope so after losing Pat Willis and Chris Borland to retirement.”

    1. Great news! If Bowman comes back to his form the loss of Willis and Borland won’t hurt nearly as much. By far the best in the game when healthy.

  51. Grant

    Did you know that DGB is an adopted child of an upstanding family in the Midwest, specifically his highschool football coach? He has a younger (blood) brother with cancer, who was also adopted by the Beckhams, and an adopted, very young sister with whom he is very close.

    I believe that his past transgressions are less predictive of his future successes than his newfound family structure will be. He had his entire family in attendance at his pro day, and every time there was a break in the action, he was with his family members. There’s a sweet picture of him walking off the field after the action holding his young (8 year old) sister’s hand.

    I think his pro day could be viewed as a very classy display of impressive skills melded with family values. I was impressed, anyway.

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