49ers wrap up draft stocking up on defense

This is my Sunday news story on Day 3 of the 49ers’ draft.

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers waited until the final day of the draft to address almost all of their biggest needs.

First, a speed receiver. The 49ers used the sixth pick of the fourth round to take Bruce Ellington from the University of South Carolina. Ellington immediately becomes the 49ers’ fastest receiver, and their shortest receiver, too. He’s 5-foot-9, and he runs a 4.45-second 40-yard dash. He’s probably too short to become a starting flanker or split end, but he could become an effective slot receiver and return man.

“He’s a versatile, very good athlete,” Jim Harbaugh said following the draft. “Looking forward to exploring how many ways we can use him.”

Ellington led South Carolina in receiving yards the past two seasons, and caught 10 touchdown passes in 21 career games against SEC opponents. Compare that to LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, the 12th overall pick, who caught just three touchdown passes in 25 career games against SEC opponents. Small receivers usually don’t catch many touchdowns, but Ellington does.

After taking Ellington, the 49ers drafted three cornerbacks — North Carolina State’s Dontae Johnson at pick No. 129, Florida Atlantic’s Keith Reaser at pick No. 170 and Southern Methodist’s Kenneth Acker at pick No. 180. Johnson is the biggest of the three — 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. Last season, he actually started seven games at safety and just five games at cornerback. But he has the size, speed and agility to develop into an effective NFL cornerback in a few years.

“A lot of teams were looking at me as a press corner just because of my length and my speed,” Johnson said Saturday afternoon during a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Johnson is just an inch shorter than the best press corner in the NFL — Richard Sherman.

Does Johnson see himself in Sherman?

“He’s a great athlete, a great competitor,” Johnson said, “but his success came from his work ethic. Hopefully, I can be half the man that he is and bring that work ethic to practice.”

With the 10th pick in Round 5, the 49ers drafted a 6-foot-5 defensive end — Aaron Lynch — who is almost the same exact size as Aldon Smith. Should the NFL suspend Smith for a few games next season, Lynch can fill in.

Lynch was a high school phenom, the third-best defensive end prospect coming out of high school in 2010 according to Rivals.com. Lynch played just two seasons in college. As a freshman at Notre Dame, he recorded 5.5 sacks in six starts. But he transferred to the University of South Florida and had to sit out the 2012 season. In 2013, he had just five sacks in 10 starts.

In his scouting report, NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki accuses Lynch of “going through the motions” on the field. If he goes through the motions during the 49ers’ training camp, he might not make their final roster.

“We feel like we can work with this youngster,” Harbaugh said. “We feel like he is going to be a willing listener. It’s not going to be easy, but I can’t wait to get started on that process.”

The one big need the 49ers did not address in this draft is a quarterback. The 49ers didn’t draft one. Instead, they signed an undrafted free agent after Round 7 — Kory Faulkner from Southern Illinois. — but it will be hard for him to make the team. If Colin Kaepernick gets hurt or misses time for any reason next season, the 49ers will have to turn to the backup, Blaine Gabbert, whose career passer rating is 66.

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  1. This draft was good and it may turn out to be great but with so many picks I agree with some of your comments that it could’ve been a little better. I would’ve liked for them to maybe make 2-3 less picks but up their quality. Overall I’m happy though.

  2. WR And CB still are the main needs don’t get me wrong ….. I like the picks that the NINERS got …….but what TB and JH are thinking are they going to wait until waivers please…….

    1. Jorge,
      It seems apparent that JH and TB are satisfied with Culliver and Brock as their CB starters.

      Eric Wright was the 53rd pick in 2007 by the Browns and many football analyst had him as 1st rd talent but his off field issues hurt his draft position. Wright could still prove to be a very good backup and possible starter if either Cully or Brock miss any playing time.

      Key: If our frontline defense can recapture the pass-rush pressure on QB’s that they produced in 2011-2012 it will greatly benefit our secondary.

    2. WR is not a need. They have one of the best WR depth charts in the league now with their top 3 WR’s all having been 1000 yard players in the past couple of seasons. They also have a couple of talented young WR’s behind them. WR is no longer an issue.

      CB is a work in progress. They lost Brown and Rogers, but have replaced them with younger and hopefully better players. I don’t think anyone lost any sleep watching Rogers go, although he played better than most gave him credit for, and Brown was a pretty good but nothing special CB on the other side. I don’t think this area is as dire as many think.

      1. Well put Rocket.
        WR is now a full house of choices. CB is a house under construction. QB — lots of whispering in the ear of Blain by Jim.

  3. Didn’t Harbaugh recruit Blaine to Stanford? I’d check it out. I think he’s a hell of a lot better than Colt McCoy was and is also way better than any QB the Niners could have taken outside the 1st round (save The Logan Project, taken up by Arians).

  4. The Niners picked up UFA Stanford LB Shayne Skov. Great move. I can’t wait to see how Skov does in the NFL.

    1. I like the skov signing too. I was hoping we draft him late. Glad to see we landed him. We need depth at line backer. Wish we could of gotten a penatration 300 pounder D.T. In the draft . And a proven conner. Glad of the depth thay got there. But I haven’t heard of none of the conners we drafted. When we face teams with top notch receivers. Whos going guard receives we play . dez Bryant ,percy harven , Larry Fitzgerald,Steve Smith,

    2. Nick,
      I love the Skov signing. I had him pegged somewhere between the mid 2nd to mid 3rd rd. I’m really surprised that he dropped out of the draft.

      Skov doesn’t have the type of combine measurables that many teams look for, but I’m glad that Harbaugh looked beyond that and signed a player who is a hard-nosed, blue-collar, give 110% ball’r.

      I also like the Kory Faulkner signing. This UDFA QB may turn out to be the biggest surprise in TC.

      Over all; the 49ers kill’d it in this draft. The 2014 draft already exceeds the last two drafts imo.

  5. Here’s a complete list of UFA signings by the 49ers:

    USC LB Morgan Breslin; Southern Illinois QB Kory Faulker; Catawba S L.J. McCray; Miami TE Asante Cleveland, New Mexico C Dillon Farrell; Michigan St. OT Fou Fonoti; Stanford LB Shayne Skov

  6. I give the Draft about an A-. Did great on most everything and really built for the future. I would’ve liked uprading the DL and finding a tall WR. (Brandon Coleman, undrafted, now a Saint…6’6″ 15 rated WR in draft…grr. Still time to trade.

    1. I gave them an A minus Sat evening after draft but I may have to reconsider since ESPN gang give them an A and the best in this year’s draft.

  7. Great draft, we are well setup for the future! Baalke hits another home run! I actually predicted the Martin pick!!!

      1. MW: Hunter is odd man out. He is not Gore’s replacement…and he doesn’t do ST. He is out. Look out for a trade in August during the pre-season when teams are hurting for RB’s.

    1. I bet he’s given a crack at it in TC though. But I think you will ultimately be proven right.

      The return game is where Kenneth Acker has a shot to make the team. I’m expecting to see a few guys be given a chance in the PR/KR game, including James, Hunter (KR only), Patton, Ellington, Acker, McCray and Cox.

      1. I absolutely think they’ll at least try him at it Scooter but if you can’t do anything special in the College return game I can’t see how it’ll get any easier in the NFL.

        1. Coffee,
          The kid may surprise you. B Ellington is a newbie to this game having shortly come out of basket ball (thanks to advice of now fellow team mate M Latimore). Seems to be a fast learn. Don’t count your nickel until the fat lady sings.

  8. Fales called it when he said the 49ers would draft a QB, good thing people didn’t bite on that one…

    1. To be fair, I think they would have been happy taking Logan Thomas if he’d fallen to them in the 5th.

  9. I still can’t believe they landed Hyde, a real need. All those goal line stands and first downs where they couldn’t punch it in. A big upgrade over Dixon. Let him wear down the defenses in the 4th quarter, and let Gore rest. We all are wondering how Lattimore and Tank are doing, as well as NT Dial. He must be doing well, they didn’t draft any interior linemen, and they had many chances. They must have confidence in who ever their left db is going to be as well since they didn’t pursue a top flight one. We will be watching who will be a better db, Roby who they passed on or Ward.

  10. This was a great draft. Like last year its the kind of draft that keeps a team at or near the top for many years. All I’ve been hearing around here is the 9ers needed to make a move to get them over the top vs Seattle next year. Well Stevie Johnson was that move. He owns Richard Sherman. Sherman is his bi**h and Sherman knows it.

    1. Ha! Can’t wait for training camp to get underway. Should be the most brutal competition in the Harbaugh era….

    2. Old coach,
      Cred to Baalke on getting Stevie. Saw the expensive Sammy pick by Buffalo and jumped on the opportunity. Then gave them a fourth round pick for next year and made his later trickster move this year to replace that fourth. Stevie was practically free in the trade and it gets better. Buffalo is left holding most of S J ‘s paycheck. So he is a cap fit.
      Note: If S J does what we think he will do then the fourth jumps to a third rounder. It will no doubt be worth it.

  11. I’m not sure how many of the regulars are around this morn. [draft hangovers?] but I ca’nt for the life of me remember who it was that was screaming for the 9ers to trade for Josh Gordon last year. Who ever they were I don’t think we’ve heard from them since the news of his suspension broke. Would any of you like to chime in?

    1. Just imagine if we had brought him in. Add his looming suspension to this 2014 offseason, and the public and media howling would drown out the Manziel Hoopla. OK, I’ll back off that; NOTHING can quiet that. BTW, what did Johnny have for breakfast today?

    2. Well I wanted Gordon too coach..Course he probably can be had in 2015 or 2016.him or Blackmon because Baalke is not really interested in drafting and developing receivers.don’t value the position..plug in a vet and keep goin..Im calling it now..betcha Andre Johnson ends up with us next yr.or Reggie Wayne.lol

    3. Old coach,
      Would have been like Trent to Indie. You know that Browns would have sucker punched us on that one if we gave them the opportunity.

  12. Harbaugh showed how stubborn he is in this draft. He ran 52% of the time last year. The deepest Wr draft in years and he did zero to tap into it. Instead he got himself a battering ram.
    Ellington doesn’t fit in this offense. Waste of a pick. Harbaugh won’t know how to use him any better than he knew how to us LMJ.

    1. C’mon Bay
      Harbaugh’s stubbornness has led to three consecutive NFCC Games. Detroit throws the ball all over the field and where does it get them? Could it be a tad early to say Ellison doesn’t fit? I’m ok with that pick, but none of us know how it might work out.

      1. I get ya BT. But we had to change something up to beat Seattle. Instead it looks like we just stuck with the same formula.

        1. Well, it’s not like I don’t yearn for that explosive offense from the 80s, but Harbs inherited a Nolan-built roster and his Stanford version of Ground Chuck was a way to leverage the roster he had without starting over, as well as subscribe to a philosophy that had worked for him. Yes, they need to loosen up defenses.

        2. Bay,
          Seattle beat us because they were able to stack the box on us with F.Gore. Gore is my boy, but against Seattle in the playoffs he was nullified.

          I can see Hyde providing the punch that M.Lynch provides against opponents who dare stack the box. Hyde will be taking a good deal of Gore’ minutes by playoff time.

          Stevie Johnson and Bruce Ellington will provide enough speed to keep defenses from stacking the box as well. They don’t have blazing speed but their ample speed and skill level will still need to be respected on the edges.

          I’m very happy with our draft results and our UDFA signings look very good as well.
          A I mentioned earlier, I believe that we kill’d it in this draft. Of course we won’t know exactly what we have until TC, but that holds true for every player drafted on every team.

          I

          1. I think we did alright. I do agree if they do not spread the field a little more or motion Ellington / LMJ out of the backfield they are pointless drafts. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Hyde is Gore’s replacement. Teams will have their hands full even if the do stack the box because like Gore, Hyde will run through arms tackles. Kids a hoss. It’s going to be fun too watch. If Aldon is out for half the season, that’s fine. We have a committee that can fill in, and when he gets back he’ll be fresh for the end of the season. Should be a great season.

          2. And the pick up of Millard from Oklahoma in the 7th. Great. Imagine Millard (who will replace Miller at fullback) blocking for Hyde at the goal line. What an upgrade over Miller blocking for Dixon. I was hoping we would draft one of these two backs, but to get both, wow!

          3. AES,
            Speed to deepen the field is one of the dimensions to add. But in my opinion flooding the infield from side line to side line too break up the box is far more important. Primarily because the red zone has actually been the far bigger problem for the Niners.
            All these receivers are route running pass catching nightmares in the mid field. Then toss in Hyde and his very impressive pass catching skills and I can see that red zone problem dissolving away before my eyes.

        3. I actually agree with you Bay,
          These were all risk adverse picks. They had enough ammo in picks to really take a gamble and get a game breaking WR or CB. Bu they played it safe and stockpiled solid players for the next few years.
          Instead of evolving and adapting the Niners, Harbaugh is going to do the exact same thing. They’re going to go back to the Niner Offense of 2011, unbalanced lines, traps. But the defense won’t be nearly as good with a brand new secondary, older D-line, and Bowman out for half the year.

          The team to watch out for is the Rams.

        4. >>But we had to change something up to beat Seattle.

          Ridiculous. We have to change nothing but our execution to beat Seattle.

          1. Couldn’t agree more rib. What they have to change is their ability to run the ball against Seattle. That’s execution and in this case might also mean different players.

        5. We’ll see if you think differently when Hyde sticks his helmet into the chest of Thomas & Sherman and they get knocked back 5 yards.

    2. Bay, the problem isn’t Harbaugh. The problem is Roman. I was looking for highlights for the USC defensive player we took. I found his highlights against Nevada from 2010. Kap was dynamic reading defenses, and throwing the touch pass/screen pass to a rb, we hardly see of him. He can make all the throws. Roman is holding him back.
      Ellington if used properly, can be a monster. He’s a slot wr, in a rb’s body. The man is yoked, will a low center of gravity. He has the speed to take it to the house on the outside and run you over on the inside. I want to see how a smaller cb or safety will match up with him. Earl Thomas, you’re on notice.
      I Know You’re Down On This Draft Because We Didn’t Trade Up For A Wr. We got stevie Johnson for a 4th Rd pick and then recouped it via trade. So we got him for moving down 7 spots. He’s a beast!! He’ll fill the Stat sheet. He was a money guy on my fantasy league. Breath brotha, breath.

    3. I must have missed the announcement that Harbaugh now had final say on all the 49er draft choices and free agent signings. The 49ers should get rid of that figure head general manager, and use the saved money for providing soccer fields for Santa Clara.

    4. Well actually he does fit absolutely well in this scheme based on his speed and elusiveness yes Roman is devising schemes as we sit here in May talking shop.

  13. They picked up Johnson and Hyde. There’s your change up.

    Johnson gives them a guy who has proven he can beat Sherman.

    Hyde gives them a guy who has shown that he is a beast running from the spread gun.

    They absolutely killed the first 2 days of the draft.

    1. They sure did. Getting a slot CB, proven 3rd WR, big RB and a centre that might start in the 3rd was a fantastic start to the draft, and covered the major areas of need. The rest of the draft was gravy.

    2. Jack: The Niners also got two top O lineman, who if not for the desperate run on CB/WR in the first round, would have been first day selections. In any case, the Niners added more steel to that O line. Kilgore is a solid back up, he is strong and smart, but not the bull you need to have up front when facing the Rams/Hawks.

  14. I am sure the Niners tried to trade James for a bag of popcorn but looks like no takers. Anyone know if they cut him before the season starts what is the impact ? Is it similar to Carlos Rogers and have to wait till June for the salary to clear.

    1. They’ll trade him to Philly for some jolly ranchers and ho ho’s. Philly traded they’re back up Bryce brown to buffalo so they might be interested. I say they get a 5th for him and that concludes the worst draft in history.

    2. There shouldn’t be any impact due to his contract. I don’t think any of his contract is guaranteed or made up of bonus money averaged over the life of the contract.

      1. James’ contract carries $427K in dead money for 2014, so it would depend on when he is released.

        My guess is that they’ll wait to see what they have through the preseason and try to move him with the first or second round of cuts similar to what they did last season with Haralson and Johnson.

    3. Neal: Not sure they want to trade him. I think they’ll trade Hunter after pre-season when other teams realize they need a RB to compete, and not 25 WRs on their team.

    4. I think Hunter will be the odd man out personally. LMJ gives them more value with his KR ability. He’s also got more time left on his contract.

      1. Disagree Rocket. I think right now Hunter is the best option on the team to carry the ball 15+ a game. We don’t know what we have with Lattimore so I am not including him in this conversation. LMJ doesn’t want to be here, he can become cancerous, so IMO he’s got to go.
        He hasn’t done enough in the return game to solidify the spot. Kyle Williams was so bad in that position that we have lowered our expectations and are just happy to have someone who catches the ball and gains a few yards. I for one want more from that position.

        Looking back, we should have retained Ginn. Problem is that Harb / Rom could not properly evaluate what they had in him from a receiving standpoint. Ginn is a better receiver than we gave him credit for. He could have been our field stretcher.

        I’m done getting excited every time we bring in a new toy. Thinking of the possibilities.

        They brought in Randy Moss and I envisioned some deep passes. There were none.

        They brought in LMJ, I envisioned him being utilized like Sproles. Screens passes in the flat. There was none of that. He barely played.

        They brought in V-Mac. I envisioned a dual tight end system that created mismatches. Excited that they had a true red zone threat. He caught eight balls….

        So until they prove otherwise, I won’t get caught up in the Ellington pick at all.

        I am not completely complaining, this group has us knocking on the doorstep of the superbowl three straight years. However I am done yearning for more creativity from them. My only hope is that the coaching staff will learn from their play calling failures at the end of games the last two years and learn from them…..

  15. “Bruce Ellington isn’t a far cry from Brandon cooks”, Mel kiper. He loves Ward and rated Hyde and Millar the top rb and fb in the draft. Even the lb from Wisconsin is game ready and some see him as Zach Thomas part II. We did well with an A grade. The only other team that high was Jacksonville.

    1. Big Niner,
      Not according to Mel K and Scott M. Niners had the best draft. “Blew the other teams out of the park”

    1. Scooter: I think other teams are starting to catch on to the Niners strategy of draft and stash for a year. I am sure that the Baalke also had a high grade on Easley, maybe 2nd round. The Pats, although they have more pressing needs, didn’t want to wait to find out and took him ahead of the Niners.

      1. I think the Patriots expect Easley to play this season. They needed help in the pass rush up the middle, and Easley will be counted on to provide that this year. He was a great pick by the Pats.

  16. someone sez: the niners drafted no standouts,
    …no “difference makers”…and as a backup QB,
    we have Blaine Gabbert; who played 3 games
    in 2013 with one TD and seven interceptions.

    Gotta, gotta, gotta hope that Colin stays healthy.
    If not, then Mister Harbaw is still on the hot seat -
    he must bring home Lombardi trophy #6 or else
    he sucks eggs. No excuses, niner fans.
    Sarah has it right: ditch the khaki “uniform” and
    give us a new (aka successful) look, willya…???

    I am the Super Bowl monkey & I approve of this message.

  17. “The one big need the 49ers did not address in this draft is a quarterback.”

    The 49ers have two starting QBs on the roster – Right Now! Where’s this perceived “big need” at QB? We all KNOW what Ron Jaworski said about Colin’s game…

    And getting back to Blaine:

    “Blaine Gabbert, whose career passer rating is 66.”

    Alex Smith’s career passer rating was LOWER than this in his first 5 or so partial seasons – and Alex turned out alright surrounded by the right players/system/coaching. And Jacksonville was bad… Really, really bad. Even Alex and Colin would have struggled QBing that horrible team.

    Let’s see how the real Blaine Gabbard will operate with a superior o-line, viable receiving options galore, and a run-focused attack with an absolute stable of thoroghbred backs.

    Methinks QB position is well-under control. Perhaps put a fast-running QB prospect on the practice squad? Lol.

    1. alex smith responded to adversity with both physical and mental toughness that habbert hasn’t shown in dealing with adversity at jacksonville

  18. The 49ers absolutely nutted this draft!

    Not how I would have done it, but with 3 injured PUP draft picks deferred to next season’s roster? And 9 or so players competing for this year’s roster spots? And those player acquisitions… The roster is now loaded 2-3 quality players deep.

    Nickel corner/safety, corners (Big/small), OLB, ILB, C, G, RB, Slot/speed WR, KR/PR = so many positions were replenished with talented players under cheap rookie contracts.

    In addition, quality players in Blaine Gabbard, Jonathan Martin, and Stevie Johnson – have been acquired very cheaply.

    We fans will look very favorably upon this draft/affordable acquisitions as a key to quality roster depth for a half-decade.

    Baalke is darn good…

    1. And I forgot to add in the injury PUP drafted players from last season’s draft…

      Lattimore, Tank, Dial…

      This talented, deep 49ers squad just got even DEEPer!

      1. Petey,
        A technical issue. For this draft you either count PUPs from last year or PUPs from this year to next year — not both. You are not alone Scott McShay made the same error.

        If on the other hand you are just talking about Baalke’s over all success then by all means count it all.

    2. Pede,
      It is how I wanted them to do it. This was a deep draft right where the Niners were rich in picks. There was not much difference between most first rounders and mid rounders. So it was important for Baalke not to jump for a single player that might pan out. He sat on the picks and became the power player in the mid rounds as expected and the rest is history.

  19. Cohn, please get your facts straight. Ellington had third fastest combine 40 at 4.31 and 4.37…guy is legit flyer

    1. Good article.

      That really sums up well what I loved about the trades involving the 56th pick. Those moves replaced the 2015 4th rounder they gave up for Johnson and they only moved back one spot. Johnson effectively cost them a 7th rounder. That’s it. Great addition, great value.

    2. Baalke starts out the draft with 11 picks does five trades and covers next years fourth and ends up the draft with 12 picks and Johnson. Amazing what he just did. Got some quality picks to boot.

        1. Unless of course you were my wife. She was yelling at the tv like the Seahawks game was on or something. She was so set on us trading up to get that top WR or CB, that when it didn’t happen, her anger clouded her vision as to what we just actually witnessed. God bless her, she’s a die hard!

    1. He plays well out of shotgun. Gore doesn’t like it. This will make defenders guess more whether it’s pass or run.

  20. My first prediction for the 2014 season. Stevie Johnson will shut Little dick Shermans mouth this year.

    1. Will Sherman even be covering Stevie Johnson that much? If they all stay healthy, it will be interesting to see how teams defend the 49ers receivers this year. All 3 guys are good enough to be #1 receivers. There are going to be some mismatches to exploit.

    2. Old Coach,

      The only thing I would like to see happen more than Steve Johnson sutting Dick Sherman’s mouth, is for Steve Johnson to shut Dick Sherman’s mouth, then to have Mike Iupati f___ Sherman’s sh__ up on a sweep or screen pass (if the 49ers ever ran one).

    3. Ha! Old Coach has been feeling a little feisty lately. I like it. Too bad we’ll have to wait towards the end of the season to see Sherman taken to task. Lets hope he’s not out with injury when they meet…..

  21. The Niners should fire Balke and hire Grant Cohn. Obviously, Grant knows more about football than Trent does.

  22. At first I was disappointed by this draft, but after reading a few expert opinions, Baalke did a great job setting up the Niners for years to come. The Harbaugh way is never about one player or different maker, but a whole team concept. Baalke has stocked the team with very good players and now it’s up to the coaches to coach and players to play to their potential.
    This team is by far the best since they took over. The Offense was always about power and running, so now they have RB depth. They have quality WRs from 1-6. Even without a WR to lift the lid, you can’t go wrong with Crabs, AB, SJ, and VD. If they can get a RB out of the backfield, even better.
    At QB, if Colin doesn’t learn to read defenses, they can keep pounding it with the run game. I personally find that boring, but that’s Harbaugh’s way. Blaine Gabbert may be a bust, but he does have first round talent so Harbaugh gets him to perform, he’s a major improvement over Colt McCoy.
    On Defense they went with a solid Slot CB, and hope three CBS picked later on develop into a quality CB. Donate Johnson could be a steal.
    2013 may have been a bust but 2014 could made up for it.
    Time will tell.

    1. Don’t write off the 2013 draft just yet. Reid is a keeper, and we’ll get to see what Carradine, Lattimore and Dial can do this year. VMac may not have wowed people last season but he was a solid contributor, while Lemonier and Patton looked like a solid depth guys too that could be more.

      Nick Moody will be in for a fight to make the roster, but I think he can make it on STs value. Wilhoite might end up struggling to make the roster if Borland and Skov can show anything.

  23. I love what the 49ers did in this draft. I love the quality and the volume.

    I know that a number of those on here are fond of saying that there is no way that more than a few of the draft picks are making that roster, and, given the talent level of the 49ers’ roster, I get why that opinion is popular. However, if you consider the salary commitments already made for 2015, along with re-signing 2015 FAs and signing rookies. The 49ers will acquire more flexibility to sign their own FAs for every rookie that replaces a higher priced vet.

    I think there’s a pretty good chance ten or more of the rookies will stick.

  24. Interesting that no ones talking about this kid we just picked up, Faulkner. I’m assuming its due to the lack of game tape maybe. I just watched a little bit of the guys highlights and he actually really surprised me. Very athletic kid with a heck of an arm, and can throw on the run. I can see why Harbaugh likes him, he really fits the mold of Harbs fascination with athletic QBs. Ran a 4.69 I think and great size at 6’4 230lbs.

    Anyone got anything else on this kid?

          1. The 49ers had 11+ picks and 182 chances to take Fales. Seems to me if they had any interest in him that wasn’t for the sake of subterfuge then they were only looking to take him as an UDFA. Otherwise what was their plan, to take him with their very last pick?

          2. I agree CFC. There was a few moments where I thought they were going to take him, especially when he dropped into the 6th. From what I hear Harbs really digs this Faulkner guy.

            I’m okay with Gabbert for now. I really feel that Harbs can transform him onto an Alex Smith 2.0, who is exactly what you look for in a back-up. I’ll with hold judgment on Gabbert until I see him on a legit team.

    1. I caught some highlight film of him and he seems to do all the right things.
      Good arm strength, good accuracy, good pocket presence, and here’s the kicker (imo), he waits until the last moment under a heavy pass rush to throw the ball.

      Very good traits and good football instincts. I believe that he will make the roster as the 3rd QB.

    2. Not only does he show some potential as a QB, but he’s a heck of a writer (although, he hasn’t had anything published for years).

  25. I think we definitely did as well as we could have with our picks. We really nailed it across the board. Going into the draft, I was definitely in the camp that thought we should bundle our picks and trade up to get A+ at WR and CB. Do we have enough roster spots for these 12-16 guys? Not likely, and I hate that we’ll bring in a youngster and then release him anyway. Marcus Cooper comes to mind. 7th round CB last year with real good size, and we cut him. Ended up developing and playing well for the Chiefs. So what’s the point of using the draft picks if you dont have the spots to keep them?

    That said, we rode the line of bringing in talent to win now (Ward, Hyde, Martin, Johnson) while adding talented depth across the board that can be developed (Ellington, Thomas, Johnson, Reaser, Acker, Lynch).

    It’s a super smart draft and philosophy…if it works. We’ll see if these injured guys (Dial, Carradine, Lattimore, Thomas, Reaser) can bounce back to be productive players for us.

    Very excited about Ellington, Hyde and even Borland.

  26. Aaron Lynch is a very intriguing prospect. I remember him at Notre Dame before transferring to S.Florida and looked like one of the brightest prospects in the nation.
    It seems that somewhere along the line his demeanor towards practice and game focus took a big hit.

    If he can recapture the intensity and leadership traits that he showed early at ND he could turn out to be an exceptional player for us.
    The talent and skill level is there, now he needs to relocate his motivation.

    1. Maybe we can bring in Vontaze Burfict to school him up. Seems like a similar type character. Big talent, questionable character. Vontaze worked out once the $$ rolled in.

  27. I think Chris Cook is going to be the surprise player on the roster. He was terrible in Minn. but they used him 100% completly wrong. Their coaching staff was truly incompetent from offense to defense to special teams. We have the best DB coach in the league and they will put hm in position to play to his strengths. As far as the draft, it was exceptional. Everyone wanted to trade up, and all I wanted to do is stay put and completely fill in our roster with young hungry players. We did that. And did it well.

    1. I agree. There are a few of our position coaches that I really trust to get the most out of players, even veteran players that most teams have given up on. One of them is Tomsula and the other Donnatel. Say what you will about our secondary, the fact of the matter is that Baalke doesn’t value CB’s very high and hasn’t acquired the best talent over the years, but Ed has really gotten the most out of players like Cox, Culliver, Brown, Wright, and even Rogers.

      I think Cooks will have a fresh start on a formidable defense that will look to have him in the best situation possible. Should be very interesting.

      I think Wright is another guy to watch.

  28. A lot of posters want to give Baalke the benefit of the doubt and say he’s some expert draft magician. I’d say his 2011 draft was good but since then he’s been average to below average at best. Only one person he’s drafted since 2012 is a starter on offense or defense. I guess you could say McDonald is a starter depending on how the 9ers chose to line up but his rookie year seemed a bit underwhelming to me. I realize Baalke’s “red shirt” picks last year might make an impact so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on those two but I still think the jury is out on Baalke as a personnel man. Here’s his past 2 drafts before this year.

    2012
    1 (30) – A.J. Jenkins
    2 (61) – LaMichael James
    4 (117) – Joe Looney
    5 (165) – Darius Fleming
    6 (180) – Trent Robinson
    6 (199) – Jason Slowey
    7 (237) – Cam Johnson

    2013
    1(18). Eric Reid
    2(40). Tank Carradine
    2(55). Vance McDonald
    3(88). Corey Lemonier
    4(128). Quinton Patton
    4(131). Marcus Lattimore
    5(157). Quinton Dial
    6(180). Nick Moody
    7(237). B.J. Daniels
    7(246). Carter Bykowski
    7(252). Marcus Cooper

    1. Gee, Houston, your feathers have been ruffled since Thursday night. We won’t know for a year or two, but you may be proved right. Its now ’14 and yup, 2012 draft still sucks. But Im ok with this draft and the basic approach used. I don’t consider Trent some wizard, more of a grinder at his job, but one with a plan to perpetuate value. Let’s not forget that Walsh, who was a wizard, had some sucky picks too.

      1. Nah Brotha, no feathers ruffled here. It’s football. Disagreement and debate are the fun part in the offseason. I’m positive about the overall draft and I like that Baalke clearly has a plan that he maniacally executes come hell or high water. I like your description of him as a grinder. I’d like the occasional home run but I’ll take grinder on most days. I’m just not sure he is getting the right value for his picks – especially in the first 3 rounds. Of his 6 picks in the first 3 rounds of the past 2 drafts, it’s very possible that only 1 player will ever be a significant contributor. That’s how franchises die. Jury is still out on those picks and that’s why I say the jury is still out on Baalke.

        1. Houston,

          The prevailing opinion after the draft was the the Niners not only drafted good players, but got them below where most projected them to go. Value was the theme of this draft and I see potential starters all over the place:

          Ward will likely be the nickel back opening day and will eventually be a starting CB or S.

          Hyde will at worst be part of a great tandem but is essentially the replacement for Gore.

          Martin will be the long term starting C and could be on the field opening day.

          Borland is a potential replacement for Willis if they decide two ILB’s making huge money is not good long term.

          Thomas is Iupati’s replacement next year

          Ellington is now the fastest WR on the team and will give them an element they haven’t had in the Harbaugh era.

          Johnson will be groomed this year to compete for a starting CB spot in 2015

          Reaser will come in next year to compete and at that time if healthy will be the fastest CB on the team

          Acker I don’t have a clue about

          Millard will be the multi tool Harbaugh loves. Will be able to line up all over the field and fill in at TE/FB in the event of injury.

          At worst there are probably 5 future starters in this draft. That is a home run draft.

          1. Ok. Glad you’re optimistic about the 2014 draft. Why don’t you provide that same level of breakdown for the 2012 and 2013 drafts? If you think we got 5 starters in 2014, how many starters did we get in the previous 2 drafts combined?

            1. The jury is still out on the 2013 class. Reid is a starter and Pro-Bowler. McDonald, Lemonier and Patton were all rookie conributors as was Nick Moody.

              If Carradine and Lattimore are able to step in and contribute this season as expected the 2013 draft will look very solid.

              1. No kidding, the jury is still out on 2013 as it is on 2014. If the guy thinks we have 5 starters from the 2014 draft, how many does he think we got in 2012 and 2013. Of course, all those guys you mentioned played and contributed. How many will be full time starters for this team? If it’s me reading the signs, it seems like we have 1 starter and some quality depth in those drafts. I only see one impact player and that’s Reid. Contributions of Lattimore and Carradine are the swing factors. Hopefully, some stars will emerge but it’s hard to go 2 years without drafting more than one starting quality player and consider the GM a good talent evaluator.

              2. Very true Houston,

                but I think, like someone mentioned before, this team is stacked at the starter level. Not very many teams can say that. So its not like your going to bring in a rookie with the intention of unseating one of our stars.

                So I think the mind-set is depth, depth, and more depth with the thought that some of these guys have the potential of becoming starters a couple years down the line.

              3. Houston,

                You are making these statements without saying who exactly you wanted replaced in the starting lineup? This is one of the best teams in football for a reason. If you are going to state that there are few starters in these drafts then you have also say who needed to be replaced. You are confusing not starting with being a bad pick which makes no sense. They have picked players who can step in, but haven’t been needed to do so yet.

              4. “How many will be full time starters for this team?”

                There is no way anyone can answer that Houston, and that isn’t how you should be judging either of these drafts. As the roster stands now the only open position(s) would be slot corner and possibly the LCB spot, but even that is currently occupied by a former Baalke draft pick.

                This is a roster that had 13 of the 24 starters (including kickers) reach the Pro Bowl last year and another, CJ Spillman, who made it for his play on special teams. This roster is stacked so to expect multiple rookies to step in and start is odd.

            2. Houston,

              I posted some thoughts on that below but I’ll be more thorough here:

              Eric Reid – Already a starter and Pro Bowl caliber player. Was better as a rookie than the Pro Bowler he replaced.

              Tank Carradine – He was taken because of having first round talent and the Niners having the luxury of letting him take the season to recover. By all reports is a very strong pass rusher and they envision him as the eventual replacement for Cowboy.

              Vance McDonald – Was the 2nd TE last year learning on the fly. Struggled early adapting from being more of a WR at Rice than TE, but improved significantly as a blocker by the end of the season.

              Corey Lemonier – Looked pretty good in the time he got to play while Smith was in rehab and will likely get more and more looks this year as they will have a decision to make on Brooks next season.

              Quinton Patton – Another player who essentially took a redshirt season due to injury. The little he did play he did not look out of place.

              Marcus Lattimore – Same situation as Carradine. Will get a chance to play a prominent role this year if he’s truly healthy.

              Quinton Dial – Missed all of TC and most of the season while recovering from toe surgery. Will get a chance to be part of the Dline rotation this year but the position is strong so he’ll have to turn some heads during TC and be versatile.

              Nick Moody – ST’s guy to start but he also flashed some ability at ILB. Will be hard pressed to make the team this season with the additions of Borland and even Skov.

              B.J. Daniels – Looked good in TC but was never going to be a factor due to the starting QB being 25 years old.

              Carter Bykowski – Made the PS and will compete for that spot again this season.

              Marcus Cooper – The one that got away but a great example of why we should trust the teams scouting in this area.

              So out of this group you have 4 starters and potential starters: Reid, Carradine, McDonald and Lattimore. You also have some quality depth potential. Good draft right now that could turn out to be a great draft.

              As I said below, 2012 was a terrible draft. No other way to say it, but it wasn’t set up to be a great one with 2 picks in the first 3 rounds. Those obviously could have been better picks, but with the high number of picks in 2011, 2013 and now 2014, 2012 is pretty much insignificant to the big picture and hasn’t hurt this team much.

              1. I will say you are MUCH more optimistic than me. Here’s my breakdown of your 4 potential starters.

                Reid is a stud and as long as his concussion issues don’t impact him then he is a great pick by Baalke.

                McDonald didn’t impress me all that much with his pass catching or blocking. I think he was picked way too high. He definitely gets time to develop but at this point he’s no Delanie Walker. I think that position requires a level of athleticism that McDonald simply does not possess. He’s strong and fast but he is not fluid in his movement. I LOVED him trucking Richard Sherman so he gets the benefit of the doubt. We won’t know this for awhile but I’m wondering if the Trey Millard pick is for future competition with McDonald or with Bruce Miller.

                Carradine and Lattimore are total unknowns so to say they are potential future starters I guess is correct. BUT we have no idea at this point.

                So of your 4 future starters I’d say one was a great pick and the other 3 are still major unknowns. The pick I LOVED was Patton. A friend of mine’s son played for La Tech so I went to the La Tech vs Tx A&M game with him. Patton had over 20 catches even though he was double teamed most of the game. The story is he is a football junkie who works his butt off and is a great kid. I think the kid can be a player for this team if he develops. I’m a big fan of his. BUT I’m not sure he will ever be an NFL #1. He could be a #2 or possibly a #3 so I give Baalke some credit for that pick. Probably not a starter but a quality player.

              2. I love Patton too Houston… Only thing that concerns me is lack of playing time this year. We are a run first team with 3 legitimate receiving threats ahead Patton, not to mention Ellington who fits perfectly in the slot. Doesn’t seem like enough ball to go around.

                On top of all that we still have our best receiver VD to feed the ball. It will be interesting to see how roman call the offense. We could be looking to spread it out a lot more, and eventhough Hyde is a bruiser, he has good hands out of the backfield and is accustomed to hand-offs in the backfield.

              3. I am optimistic because of the caliber of players we are talking about here. Carradine and Lattimore were among the best at their positions in the country before being injured so I have high expectations for them. Nothing is set in stone and one or both of them may not pan out, but if they do they are great picks and high value.

                I think where we really differ is in expectations for rookies on this team. When I go through the depth charts I see no spots for rookies to push starters out of their roles, and that is why they are backups. These are very good young players who will get their chance soon enough with JS, McDonald, Iupati and Gore among others possibly not being around beyond this season. What really encourages me is the fact their replacements are already on the roster and gaining experience. That is a true luxury not many teams get in the league today.

                McDonald is a talented receiver and that is the crux of the problem. He was used like Jimmy Graham in College more than as a traditional TE. I think his head was spinning last year and played a part in his slow development. He is gifted athletically so as soon as he can react instead of thinking he’ll be fine. Keep in mind Walker was not polished either and took some time to find a role with this team. Even then his greatest contribution was in a blocking role. He was not much of a factor as a receiver and that is where McDonald will surpass him imo.

              4. It amazes me that so many people are down on Carradine this year, as if last year’s 2nd round pick was wasted. Everyone knew he was drafted to redshirt last year. Of course we have no idea if he’s going to be any good yet, he’s not played a down in the NFL yet – that was the plan!!

                He is liking getting an extra 1st round pick this year. Again, that was the plan! I’m really excited to see this kid play. A first round talent that fell to the 2nd due to injury. Ripper.

                Same with Marcus Lattimore. People are writing him off already, as if his redshirt year is proof he’s never going to come back from his knee injury. Again, that was always the plan folks. What has changed? I for one am excited to see what he can do this year.

                Maybe both guys aren’t any good. We don’t know yet. But downgrading last year’s draft because these guys are still unknowns is plain ridiculous. Being down on these guys now is plain ridiculous. I’ll say it again, and hopefully this will sink in for those that are feeling negative about Carradine and Lattimore – the plan all along was for them to redshirt last year. Nothing has changed.

                Are we going to have this same conversation again next season when people say we need an OG because we don’t know what we have in Thomas? Good lord – he will be like getting a late 1st/ early 2nd round OG in 2015. He’s already filled a hole in next year’s draft. Same with Reaser and Millard.

              5. It amazes me that some people are so high on Carradine and Lattimore when they’ve been out of football for a year due to major injuries. The types of injuries that some players never recover from or they are shells of their former selves. Last years 2nd round pick WAS wasted if Carradine is not able to return to his old form which is about a 50/50 shot at this point. It’s not like getting an extra first round pick if the player never regains their elite level of play. Baalke gambled on 2 players. He either looks like a genius or a goat. Either end of the spectrum is still in play.

                Does the Hyde pick indicate a level of doubt on the 9ers part about Lattimore’s ability to return from injury or are they just re-stocking the RB stable? Who knows? Only time will tell. One thing is for certain, we don’t know yet if the 9ers are in effect getting 2 more 1st round picks that were red shirted or if they totally wasted those picks on injured players who will never play at the same level again. Time will tell.

              6. Houston,

                That’s fair. At this point we don’t know, but with the advances in surgery, players are coming back strong from knee injuries quite often. My belief is mainly based on the quality of the players. Both were 1st to 2nd round picks if healthy so if you can get one of them at a lower cost then you normally would, I think it’s worth the gamble because of how deep and talented this team is.

              7. Houston, you missed my point (not sure how since I stressed it repeatedly). Downgrading last years picks of Carradine and Lattimore, or considering them no good, at this point is ridiculous. So far those picks are playing out exactly as planned.

                Being down on last year’s draft class because Carradine and Lattimore are question marks makes absolutely no sense. If you are down on them because you think they were rubbish before their injuries, then fine, no problem. Being down on them because they haven’t proven anything yet, when everyone knew they were injured before they were drafted, with a plan of redshirting them last season, makes no sense. None. They are effectively two extra draft picks in 2014.

                - Reid – looks very good.
                - McDonald – took over the #2 TE role right off the bat. Was basically a starter last year and developed into a solid blocker.
                - Lemonier – looked pretty good in limited action.
                - Patton – see Lemonier. Actually managed to move up the depth chart to #3 WR despite missing large chunks of the season due to injury.
                - Dial – missed most of the year due to injury, we’ll see what he can do this year.

                Sorry Houston, but you appear to have had unreasonable expectations for the 2013 draft class last season.

              8. Scooter and Rocket,

                Are your heads hurting from that wall you’re banging them on yet?

              9. Scooter,

                Apparently you missed my point. I said,

                “I realize Baalke’s “red shirt” picks last year might make an impact so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on those two but I still think the jury is out on Baalke as a personnel man.”

                Those 2 guys are unknowns so I give him the benefit of the doubt on those picks. Other than Reid do you see the other guys developing into starters once the current starters move on? I’m not sold on any one of them. Like I said repeatedly and apparently you missed, the jury is still out on Baalke. Some of these guys have to pan out before I think anyone can say he’s a good talent evaluator.

          2. Common sense calling Houston,
            As of today this is undeniably a very good draft. Maybe the sky falls tomorrow but that will be a long wait and see.

    2. 2012 was a poor draft, no other way to say it, but it also wasn’t set up to be very impactful. They had two picks in the first 3 rounds and 3rd day picks are not likely to make a team this good. The first two picks could have been better obviously, but that draft did not set the team back because the 2011 and 2013 drafts brought a lot of good quality players.

      2013 will go down as a great draft when the players actually get a chance to play meaningful minutes imo. This team had one starting spot open last year and it was filled by Eric Reid. The rest of the class either had to sit behind established starters or were injured/recovering from injury.

      If you are going grade a draft that quickly, do so with the knowledge that the 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL and rookies are not going to come in and set the world on fire here very often. With the return of Carradine and Lattimore, Patton getting his first full season after being injured for most of his rookie year, Dial doing the same thing and McDonald with a year under his belt after a season of learning a foreign position to him, this will be a strong class of players going forward.

      I mean all you have to do is look at the aging starters we have and then look behind them to see how deep this team is. The replacements are already on the roster learning. That is rare in today’s NFL.

      1. Not to mention that this argument: “just one starter for the 2013 draft” is pretty lame.

        How many rookies do start for the teams that have alerady stacked rosters?

        How many 2013 rookies started for Seattle? And Denver? And New England?

        Baalke got not only a starter but a Pro Bowler.

        2012 draft sucks. Big time.
        But 2013 draft still looks very promising.

  29. Here is what we got for the ‘no value’ Alex Smith trade.

    “As The MMQB.com’s Peter King explained Monday, wheeling-and-dealing 49ers general manager Trent Baalke turned those two picks — two second-rounders — into five players:

    Tank Carradine, DE (second round, 2013)
    Corey Lemonier, LB (third round, 2013)
    Carlos Hyde, RB (second round, 2014)
    Chris Borland, LB (third round, 214)
    Stevie Johnson, WR (trade for 2015 fourth-round pick)”

  30. Be afraid Sickhawks, be very afraid…….”El Guapo” is coming! “I love trucking people that get in my way.” ~Carlos Hyde
    El Guapo and Lattimore (Thunder and Lighting) will be schooled by the ultimate warrior (Frank Gore) on how to play the game and how to pass block.
    The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades! Quest for six is alive and well fellas!

    1. Crab,

      I like your positive vibe! I was underwhelmed with our first pick, although I admit I didn’t know squat about Ward until I had some time to learn. Now I feel much better, although I still lament Dennard going to Cincy. I was and I am, absolutely jacked about the Carlos Hyde pick, but never saw that one coming. I think with this draft and the addition of Stevie Johnson that there aren’t any more excuses for not getting Lombardi #6 this year. I agree the future is very bright. Go Niners!

    2. “el Guapo”? Carlos Hyde is the “handsome”?

      I am looking forward to this trio as well…AND do NOT forget about Hunter as well. I really think they are underutilizing him still…

    1. You’d think the only two players that were in the draft were Sam and Manziel with the way the coverage was and continues.

    2. Yeah Leo, but I guess its not just media. I saw (PFT, I think) that M.Sam jerseys are selling almost as much as Manziel’s. Its a ruckus. Maybe because I live in Cal I’m just more used to it, but I find the commotion overdone and surprising.

    3. Yea its just way too much….the media really fed on this way more than I thought they would….I saw one guy on the dolphins getting fined and suspended for saying “omg” on twitter when they showed the kiss…are you kidding me?! And now Philbin’s talking getting him educated. Its like “you better tolerate, or we will hunt you down!”

      I can’t imagine what it will be like if the kid gets his first sack…there will be confetti and champagne everywhere….and that’s just preseason.

    4. I agree the Sam coverage has been over the top and he will be lucky to make the final roster, but it’s the historical relevance that is driving it. Years from now this will be looked back upon as the day Social intolerance was removed from professional sports. The significance is huge which is why it’s being talked about in global circles and not just as a football story.

      1. And maybe allow more gay football and retired football players to come out of the closet, like Ditka, and (fill in the blank)

  31. NFL.com has blurb that Sam has the second highest jersey sale of the rookies behind Manz. That’s an awful lot of jerseys for a player that gets released in final cuts.

    1. They’re painting him as if he’s the Jackie Robinson of atheletes. There have been other guy NFL players in the league before Sam.

  32. I wish M.Sam a good career, and he may help the Lambs with their rotation on the DL, but he needs to let some air out of his head; the attention seems to have him swooning. He apparently said he should’ve been taken in the first three rounds. That doesn’t match any analysis that I’ve read; 5th round at the earliest.
    I’d suggest that he button his lip and buckle down to work to try and make the roster. He’s a late round pick; will there be a social firestorm if he gets cut?

    1. Don’t paint me as the ugly poster because these comments in no way reflect my attitude or thoughts towards homosexuals but Sam in my opinion was a token PR selection for the league and the team. Sam would have been an UDFA in my mind but the league wanted the positive attention that the comes with drafting the first openly gay player in the NFL. I’m positive that the league either pushed and/or offered something to a team to draft him.

      Nobody was expecting him to be drafted anywhere near the top few rounds but yet he still had a camera crew in his house to capture the moment. How many 6th round picks have you ever seen televised from their home? The league is soaking up as much good PR as they can before the arrests start hitting the blotter again.

      1. C4C,
        I agree on all of your points.
        In the end, I hope that Sam is judged by his talent and skill rather than his sexual preference.
        If he turns out to be a productive pro all the best to him. If he is being used as a ‘prop’ for the league’s PR image and window dressing, then shame on the NFL.

      2. CFC and AES,

        Really? Would you bat an eye if Sam was straight and he was taken in the seventh round? He was the SEC defensive player of the year, after all. I’m not saying he’s a lock to make an NFL roster (far from it, but which seventh round pick is?), and it’s well documented that he doesn’t have ideal measurables, but he was a productive player in the SEC. Be honest with yourselves, what would you say if the Rams took the straight version of Sam with the same pick? You’d say nothing, right? So why all the conspiracy theories now?

        I think you’re over thinking this one.

    2. He comes off as arrogant also promising those that passed on him to pay and how good he is and insinuating his dropping because of his life style.
      To me, it’s a non issue regarding his sexual preferences. If the media would stop talking about it so much, it wouldn’t be such a big deal and he’d blend in with society as usual. It’s not weird to see guy men kissing. The NFL needs to get off their PR stunt, not to mention ESPN.
      Message to Michael Sam. Stay humble dude, there’s a reason why you dropped so far.

      1. Big Niner,

        He’s not doing himself any favors, if those reports are accurate. He’d be best served by keeping a low profile.

  33. Kevin Lynch has a nice summary at the Chron detailing Baalke’s mastery of the draft:

    Quick timeout. The net result of those trades with the Broncos and Dolphins: The 49ers received a 2015 fourth-round pick for moving back one draft spot, from No. 56 to No. 57.

    “To repeat: The 49ers received a 2015 fourth-round pick for moving back one draft spot”

    I don’t remember Walsh ever doing something like that!

  34. The NFC west is setup to be a slugfest this year, with some of the most physical teams in the NFL. There are no easy outs in the division, especially on the road. I’d imagine that the winner of the division is going to be determined not just but health (luck) but by depth, which includes versatility. The niners will have a 53 deep roster of players, which is almost unheard of now in the NFL and many of the end of the bench will be multiple position players who can play special teams while still being reliable options as backups.

    I love what Baalke has been doing by drafting injured players, given the depth of the team and the plethora of picks Baalke has secured over the years. You can buy low from a talent standpoint, expose the player to a year of NFL strength/conditioning, give them a year with the playbook, and judge first hand the work ethic and perseverance of the player, all while having him not count against your roster and getting an ‘extra’ year of player control on the contract. It’s like having a redshirt program and only a matter of time before other teams start following suit. Even if you don’t buy into all of this reasoning, you could make the argument that drafting a player like Tank in the 2nd is akin to trading a 2nd rounder for a 1st the next year, which is still great value according to the draft charts.

  35. Other team’s picks that seemed interesting to me…

    Raiders: 5. Khalil Mack, 36. Dereck Carr, 81. Gabe Jackson, 116. Keith McGill
    Depending on how you feel about Carr, its 3 or 4 steps in the right direction.

    Rams: 2. Greg Robinson, 13. Aaron Donald, 41. 75. Tre Mason
    The Rams D line will be scary.

    Packers: 21. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 53. Davante Adams, 176. Jared Abbrederis, 236. Jeff Janis
    The WR draft many here wanted for the 49ers.

    Denver: 31. Bradley Roby, 56. Cody Latimer
    More players coveted here

    Pats: 29. Dominique Easley, 62. Jimmy Garoppolo, 105. Bryan Stork
    The Pats “deflated” the Seahawks war room by choosing Easley. Garoppolo’s quick release makes him worth the gamble.

    Panthers: 28. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, 60. Kony Ealy, 204. Tyler Gaffney
    Benjamin is the #2 a gamble pick behind Manziel. He will dominate or flop.

    Vikings: 8. Anthony Barr, 32. Teddy Bridgewater, 72. Scott Crichton
    Two quarterback killers and a quarterback.

    Quarterbacks are often a the wildcard that makes drafts boom or bust, but aside from that position alot of teams improved themselves. The publicity about this year being “deep” seems justified.

    1. I think everybody, including me, wanted and expected a WR and CB to be selected in the first 3 rounds. It may have been unconventional, but that is exactly what the 49ers did.

      Ward while listed as a SS, will be used as a CB. The WR pick is Stevie Johnson. They did exactly what most wanted them to do and then drafted BPA the rest of the way. They didn’t reach and stuck to their value ratings. That’s what you have to do, and now they are sitting here with virtually no holes anywhere in the lineup with the exception of CB if you don’t trust Culliver. No other team in the league is as deep as this one including the guys up in Seattle.

      1. Yup. I think the 49ers had an excellent draft. I think alot of other teams did too.

        I’m guessing this was an artful “plan C” draft by Baalke.

        Plan A – Beckham or Fuller slide down to a spot that could be had with the 30+77 or 30+61. Somewhere around 18-24. Receivers and BPAs later.

        Plan B – In the WR/QB/CB frenzy BPA studs like Donald or Barr slide down to a spot that could be had with the 30+61 or 30+56. Somewhere around 14-20. BPAs, Receivers, CBs later.

        But the board didn’t fall that way. Baalke doesn’t over pay for free agents or draft picks, and teams were exacting a huge price for trading up compared to last year. Baalke sets a value limit, and won’t exceed it.

        Plan C – If you can’t fill THE need in the first round, fill A need in the first. Ward counters Welker/Harvin/Austin (I’m sure I’m leaving some out) and provides deep safety depth. Our backfield just got alot faster.

        Then have fun, grab value and stock the team with solid rookies to make cap room. “The best center in the draft…” “the best running back in the draft..” Works for me.

      2. Couldn’t have said it any better myself…

        Has anyone here had time to think about next years offense…WRs: Crabs, Boldin, Johnson, Patton, Ellington. HB: Gore, Hyde, Lattimore, Hunter/LMJ, MIller. TE: Davis, Vmac. And of course Kap.

        There is talent all over the field. I know everyone thinks about beating Seattle so lets look at that match up now. With a much more effective ground game it’s bound to open up the passing lanes a bit more. Stevie had Sherman’s number last time they played, but I wonder how much of that was just Sherman having a bad game, I wonder what round 2 would look like. Yes there secondary is deep, but now so is our receiving corp. And I honestly think VMac will have the biggest improvement this year.

        I’m just hoping for an unusually healthy offseason so we can be full force. It sucks that we have to wait until turkey day.

        Compare this offense to last year’s and its night and day.

        The defense we’ve gotten deeper. I’ll admit our CB situation is skeptical, but I like Culliver (despite Grant’s comments) and I think Cook, Wright, and/or Cox could play a big role.

        1. “Crabs, Boldin, Johnson, Patton, Ellington…” Roster limitations might be a factor in why the 49ers passed over players like Janis and Abbrederis.

        2. I’m as excited about a guy with the ability to beat Sherman as the next 49er fan, but I am a little hesitant to put too much stock on Stevie Johnson’s performance in a game his team lost 50-17.

          I like the trade for Johnson, a lot. But I want to see him get the best of him in, shall we say, a more tightly contested game before I get excited about his abilities versus Sherman.

    2. B2W,
      The players from your list that I coveted were D.Easley, Cody Latimore, Anthony Barr, and Jimmy Garoppolo. The others were either out of reach (for a practical trade up) or did not impress me.

      I keep saying that I believe that his draft was a bumper crop year for us that we pay dividends both now and in the future.
      Kudos to Baalke and Harbaugh.

  36. Hey grant how come anytime i go to your main page I
    it’s only up to draft day 2..None of your current stories are showing up..had to go through the links on the bottom..anyone else having this issue?

  37. The national media is agog that the Browns didn’t get a WR. So see if they’re interested in Jon Baldwin.

      1. Crabtree for Gordon! We most likely lose Crabtree after this season anyway. We don’t need Gordon this year..Browns got to be suck of Gordon.. Gordon gets fresh start in 2015.. No brainer unless crab is willing to resign which what it sounds like he wants to play this year out.

        1. CK,

          I’d rather have Crabtree playing for a new contract and then have Gordon on the inactive list for a year. Chances are he will be traded or released next season so no point in giving up one of our best offensive players for nothing.

          1. Rocket, Im with you on keeping crab. I just don’t want to lose him for nothing. If we can resign him that’s GREAT! if not let’s get something of significant in return.

      1. That seems in the ballpark to me. I’d guess Baldwin has a sixth round value and LMJ 4/5. That would almost be too convenient for SF.

        1. I don’t think Baldwin has any trade value. Teams know the Niners will cut him and he’s done nothing to show he’s anything more than an end of the roster player.

          LMJ I can’t see them trading simply because he’s the KR and he gives them a different type of look then any other RB on the roster. If they are going to dump or trade anybody I think it will be Hunter. Good RB but doesn’t offer anything we don’t already have with the other RB’s. He’s also going into the final year of his contract.

          1. Rocket i agree with you 100% Baldwin has 0 trade value. There are reports coming out of KC that they are seeing a great deal of improvement out of AJ Jenkins. I believe the Chiefs got the better part of that trade although i really would’nt want either of them on my roster.

          2. Baldwin has no trade value in August, but if a team wanted to bring someone in now to work in their system it might be worth a late round pick in ’15. You know, as in if a team was halfaxed desperate.

            1. Anything’s possible BT but not likely. There are still some vets (Santonio Holmes, Myles Austin) they could have for no trade compensation. There are also other trade targets that would probably offer more than Baldwin would.

        2. If they get a 4th or 5th rounder for James this offseason Baalke should be arrested for stealing from some poor sucker.

          1. I don’t know about that. LMJ was coming into his own as a K and Punt returner and still has some value as a change of pace guy if somebody gets hurt. Hunter is the guy I see leaving.

              1. I’d think a 7th at best, but I don’t see them trading him when they have no other options for returning kicks on the roster.

              2. I agree. Yesterday I said it is likely that they hold onto him into training camp and if they are comfortable with a replacement they would move him around the time of the first cuts like they did last year with a couple guys.

              3. I think teams know that the 49ers will likely have to cut one if not both James and Hunter if indeed Hyde and Lattimore turn out to be more than capable.
                Or and its a longshot, the 49ers part ways with the inconvenient truth, Frank Gore

            1. if they let Hunter go that is a “f-up” that guy is a complete stud. If anything HE should be the ones returning punts and kick-offs. James is timid at best sometimes. Hunter takes it on full bore and gets the extra yards. To me Hunter is an “A” player and James is a “B” at best. God I hope you are wrong man! I will be pissed

              1. I’m not saying Hunter isn’t a good player, but he is a lot like the guys in front of him and he doesn’t return punts. Say what you will about LMJ but he was getting pretty good by the end of the year in that area. Between this and the fact Hunter is in the last year of his contract, I think he’s the obvious candidate to move on. Doesn’t mean I want him too; just that that makes the most sense.

  38. “They’re painting him as if he’s the Jackie Robinson of atheletes. There have been other guy NFL players in the league before Sam.”

    Yes, and from the very first NFL season, but they all had to hide until they retired. That’s a very big difference.

    1. “There have been other guy NFL players in the league before Sam.”

      I’d say the majority of NFL players openly identify as guy…..

      1. I don’t correct other people’s typos. I’m sure that given the context Big niner was referring to “other Gay NFL players.”

    1. Wow this can’t catch a break…its almost mind-boggling since he looks so promising in exhibition, and seems to have the intangible you want.

      I would take him over Gabbert.

  39. Without disrespecting those with differing opinions, I have a strong feeling that Hunter sticks.
    TC=Donnybrook

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