How the A.J. Jenkins mistake affected the 49ers’ past two drafts

Let’s pretend the 49ers didn’t make the A.J. Jenkins mistake last year. Let’s pretend they drafted someone else. How would that have affected the 49ers’ past two drafts?

Say the 49ers drafted tight end Coby Fleener instead of Jenkins with the 30th pick in 2012. In that case, the 49ers’ wouldn’t have needed to draft tight end Vance McDonald with the 55th pick in 2013, and the 49ers could have drafted a cornerback instead, like Dwayne Gratz or Robert Alford.

Or, say the 49ers drafted running back Doug Martin with the 30th pick in 2012. Then, the 49ers wouldn’t have needed to draft LaMichael James in the second round. They could have drafted tight end Dwayne Allen instead.

So, the 49ers could have had Martin, Allen and Gratz, but instead they have Jon Baldwin, LaMichael James and Vance McDonald.

How big of a drop off is that?

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  1. Might as well go all the way back to ’05 and say we could have had Aaron Rogers.

    There’s really no point or end to doing this. We have what we have and we have to find a way to win with it. And we will.

      1. Jenkins is gone. You are happy . How about talking about Niner players ,not Chief’s players. Give it a rest. Junior. We have beat this subject to death.

    1. If we had selected Aaron Rogers, he’d be out of football by now and the guy Alex Smith would have become elite in Green Bay, learning well behind Brett Favre. People keep forgetting how god-awful the 49ers were in 2005 in management, ownership, receivers, and on offensive line.

      1. If the niners took rodgers- Alex Smith would have been drafted by the tampa bay bucs. John Gruden really liked Alex Smith in that draft. Would have been an interesting combo.

      2. DS – You have no wolf in you….. Folkwolf? Really? Try a screen name that fits YOUR personality.
        CK buried your boy……. get over it.

      3. LOL, the only organization interested in Alex Smith prior to 2012 was the US Military, and that’s because the thought he could help them *overthrow* all enemy regimes.

        If Rodgers was drafted by us, we’d have at least two more shiny ones in our trophy case. Instead, we have a list of 300 Alexcuses that we got to debate for a five year period. Let’s see if Smith-the-Coach-Killer gets Andy Reid fired too.

    2. Totally agree,

      You can’t dwell on the “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”

      That gets you nowhere in life. Maybe Grant should concentrate about the “Now”. You think?

    3. Exactly. This kind of “analysis” is not insightful. Overall, Baalke has done a great job as GM. Every NFL team can go back and play the “what if” game.

  2. How can we even make the comparison. We haven’t even seen a single snap of Vance McDonald OR Jonathan Baldwin. And a small sample size from Lamichael James. This discussion is pointless.

    You’re assuming that the 49ers would’ve drafted Fleener or Doug Martin in 2012. I don’t think the 49ers would’ve went either of those directions because we already had clear-cut starters at both of those positions. 2nd TE is a great thing to have, but not worth a 1st round pick when they only play 30-40% of snaps. And what’s the point in drafting a RB when we already have 2 high-caliber RBs in Gore and Hunter?

    If we didn’t draft Jenkins, who knows who was next on the draft board. I’d say a defensive player if I had to guess. A lot of upcoming expiring contracts on defensive side of the ball at the time. FS, SS, CB, DE, NT

    Pointless discussion really.

      1. uhm..after Crabtree, who was the other clear cut WR starter?

        a broken down Randy Moss?

        Mario Manningham who had never been more than a 3rd WR on a TWO YEAR contract?

        Kyle “Fumbles” Williams…also never a starter.

        am I missing something or someone?

      2. Yea please let me in on who the clear-cut starters were? Crabtree is the only one on our roster. Unless you’re referring to Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn? Randy Moss and Mario Manningham were just short-term options until the team found long-term answers.

        What I’m saying was that WR was the only position on offense that didn’t have clear-cut starters or long-term answers at the position. If we don’t go WR, then we needed eventual replacements for Goldson, Whitner, Rogers, J. Smith, Sopo, RJF. RATHER than a 2nd TE, or a 2nd/3rd RB.

      3. and Crabtree, while a presumptive starter in 2012 was hardly a proven talent before last year. he had flashed talent and that he’d been getting better but he hadn’t put together a full season as a primary receiver yet. he got his 1,000 yard season last year. so the receiver position was even less certain than we remember.

      4. A month before the draft last year the team knew that Crabtree, Manningham, Moss and Williams were their top 4 guys.

        Crabtree not being a proven talent prior to last year is a fallacy brought up by those who didn’t pay attention to his output over the final 10 weeks the year before when he was among the top 10 receivers in the league. He got off to a slow start in 2011 after missing all preseason with his foot injury and being sidelined for I believe week 2 against Dallas.

      5. I paid plenty of attention Jack. Half a season doesn’t equal PROVEN. I covered his half season of production under the term “GETTING BETTER”.

        any 1st round pick would be presumed to have a shot at the 3rd or maybe even the 2nd WR spot that year. It’s not like any of the guys were locks. I think some had better recheck their memory or Alzheimer meds.

      6. Not after Jenkins got to training camp and couldn’t beat anyone.

        But what I’m saying is that a 1st round pick is presumed to get his opportunities at least at the #3 spot if not the #2 spot which indicates the #2 and #3 spots weren’t set in stone.

      7. Presumed by who? I had this same conversation last year with DS. You can go back and look it up if you’d like. The signings of Manningham and Moss made an impact WR less of a need.

      8. we’re just going to have to disagree.

        I’ve stated my reasons.

        The Niners actions by drafting Jenkins indicate they were thinking the same thing about the certainty of the WR position.

      9. If the Niners were actually looking to fill a potential starting spot in last years draft, the choices were #2 WR and RG. Every other spot was wrapped up. You draft best player available at a position of need. Baalke just drafted a guy who didn’t fit.

        If they draft Fleener, or Martin, neither of them play a major role last year until the final 3 games of the season for Martin. You also have to keep in mind that the Niners had just taken Hunter who they liked in a tandem with Gore so they weren’t looking for a RB like Martin.

        I guess they could have taken a CB like Janoris Jenkins, or a Dlineman like Derek Wolfe, or a Guard like Osemele, but it’s not an exact science and sometimes you don’t get the best player.

      10. Clear cut starters? That’s silly. Who were they again? We actually DID have clear cut starters at TE. So Fleener would have been a stupid choice. Hey I get that Jenkins was a bad choice, but he was a bad choice for WR. Your obsession is with all things AJ/Coby is getting tired.

      11. Barley,

        They were set with Crabtree, Manningham, Moss, and Williams 1-4. It should have come as no surprise to anyone that this was how they opened the season.

        You are right that they were set at the 1-2 TE spot with Davis and Walker. It also wasn’t much of a stretch to see that Walker was going elsewhere after the season. Getting Allen in the 2nd round would have been a good sized upgrade over Celek for the 3rd TE spot knowing that he would then take over the #2 role in year 2.

        None of what I have said in the above 2 paragraphs is hindsight. I was saying the same things last offseason.

      12. >>The 49ers drafted Jenkins despite having clear cut starters at wide receiver.

        So they should have drafted Fleener despite having clear cut starters at that position also?

        You are not making a very strong case Grant.

        1. Remember when you were right about Alex Smith getting his job back after his concussion last season? You nailed that one.

      13. What made the 49ers successful last year was the run game. Outside of Crabtree, no WR including Davis and Walker were relevant.

      14. “What made the 49ers successful last year was the run game.”

        Right, just like in 2011 and during all of Harbaugh’s years at Stanford. Harbaugh runs on of the most balanced offenses in the NFL. That should be common knowledge by now.

        What does that have to do with the fact that the 49ers top 4 WR’s were pretty much set before the draft, or that their 3rd TE caught more passes than the 5th WR and was involved in more plays?

      15. The point is that it made no sense to draft a RB or TE when each position was and is accounted for, for the next 3 years, minus James.
        What does it tell you about Fleener when the 49ers passed on him after having him for all his college years?

        It’s ridiculous to make the argument that the 49ers needed Fleener over Jenkins. They missed on the pick, so what? The fact is the TE was set that draft year.
        How was the WR position set after 2011? It was unknown wether Williams would be a regular after his fumbles and looks like we still don’t know if he will be a productive player. Crabtree was and is injury prone, Morgan left for big money, so how were they set?

      16. I haven’t once said the 49ers should have taken Fleener in any of my comments to this post Prime. Please try keeping up.

      17. Moss was on a 1 year deal/stop gap signing late that offseason.

        Williams was coming off a horrible post season and still is a bubble player. We don’t know nothing about him, is he a flash in the pan, or a choker or injury prone?

        Crabtree cannot stay healthy.

        Manningham is good but again, like Crabtree cannot stay healthy. Why did the Giants let him go after a great playoff the year they won? He again is a questionable player.

        Bottom line is the Niners had to draft a WR because it was as glaring as your now infatuation with whatever Grant says. It’s very cute by the way. So no, the WR position was not even close to set.

      18. They drafted Jenkins to replace Moss.
        They prbably thought 1 year of strengthening would help AJJ beat press coverage. Other same-sized WRs could do it. For some reasons, he couldn’t. Yet.

      19. They could have had Nick Toon at 117. He will be the #3 or #4 WR in New Orleans this year, and has the type of size that fits the 49ers offense.

        “The WR position wasn’t set.” Funny Prime, we had this conversation ad nauseum last offseason when you insisted Crabtree was having to fight off Manningham and Moss for the #1 spot.

        Your attempt at snide remarks are quite cute Prime. I would expect more intelligent conversation from a real estate lawyer.

      20. You remember our dialogue from last year? I’m flattered! Yes Crabtree had a lot to prove last year in camp. He was basically recieving the same static as Jenkins was this year. This was a big reason the position was not set because the other two guys were injury prone like him and the addition of Moss showed how desperate they were. That’s why they used a 1st on Jenkins. So does that now explain that the WR position was it set?
        Say hi to Grant for me okay? And if you ever want to buy some property, let me know, I know a great real estate lawyer!

      21. “Crabtree was basically recieving the same static as Jenkins was this year.”

        The only ones putting the static out about Crabtree are those that didn’t know what they were talking about. He led the team in receptions the year before, and after his foot injury healed he was a top 10 WR over the last 10 games of the season.

        If I ever decide to move up to the Great White North I will let you know. I am sure you are a very good real estate lawyer. It’s just too bad that you are unable to discuss football with a modicum of decorum.

      22. >>Remember when you were right about Alex Smith getting his job back after his concussion last season?

        True, Grant. Neither one of us has a very good track track record for predicting the FO-coaching staff moves that have lead to the unprecented team success over the last 2 years.

      23. think back to the playoff game vs giants before that draft–they suited uop crabtree kyle williams and joe hastings…they needed help at receiver Grant

    1. my html skills have eroded away to nothing (it’s been almost 15 years since I did anything with html).

      i need to look up the bold and italics tags again.

      btw. do you agree or disagree that Jenkins as a 1st round pick had the opportunity (if not the skill) to break into the #3 or maybe even #2 WR spot last year?

      1. he had no shot based on his poor poor skills.

        he was presumed to have a shot based on his draft status is my point. which indicates that the Niners deemed the receiver position was not set in stone which lead them to draft a receiver that highly.

      2. A first round pick should be talented enough to compete for a starting spot. Especially against those WRs.

        They reached for need, and it cost them.

    2. Yea I agree – to early. What if Fleener does not repeat that Stanford career in the NFL and VMac has a great one wearing a Niner jerzy then the fates were with us not against us.

    3. Prime – I’m fricking melting out here in So Cal man! My AC can’t keep up with the damn heatwave. I need to cool off up your way. Hook a brotha up. I need some prime real estate where the snow bunnies hang. ;)
      I may change my screen name to sweathog! Remember welcome back Kotter show? LOL

  3. does Coby Fleener owe you money or something?

    your obsession with the quality of the Niner’s corner position goes far beyond that of a normal analyst.


    1. when did Kyle Williams start getting all this love. I like the guy, he is talented and works hard but he is a small 6th round pick without elite speed, correct? Moss was 35 years old, and Manningham was injury prone and never more than a number 3/slot guy. and Ted “wait till you see this guy return punts” Ginn was awful. The 9ers were absolutely not set at WR for the future and could have used the help in the present. That is a weak group, the need for a WR was the strongest, we just made a terrible pick. I agree

  4. It is obvious looking back that Balke wanted (and thought he could get) Bruce Irvin so much that they didnt consider anyone else.

    The consensus opinion on most mock drafts thought that the niners would go with the best WR- and most considered Stephen Hill the best available. He is the one the niners should have picked up. Doug Martin wasn’t going to happy, I dont think the niners ever considered drafting a RB that high. I believe they were surprised themselves that they picked Lamicheal James in the 2nd.

    Coby Fleener was a possibility- but would have been an EXTREME luxury considering they had Vernon and Delanie

    1. I agree re the 49ers coveting Bruce Irvin. I imagine they were planning to trade up a few spots to secure him, but Seattle leaped ahead. Plan B (Jenkins) did not quite work out.

      Moving up aggressively for McDonald could (in part) be payback or a defensive move against Seattle.

    2. I’m actually glad they didn’t get Bruce Irvin. For all the hype he’s really a 3rd down pass rusher and not much else. He’s also been suspended for PED use already.

      1. I always thought it was a little suspicious that Minnesota moved up one spot ahead of the Niners to draft Harrison Smith. Perhaps he was a target as well. Regardless of who they thought would be there, I don’t see any way Baalke panicked.

  5. With Hindsight being 20/20 we’re all NFL GM of the year. A pointless discussion.

    Grant if you want a topic how about discussing if the Niners are going to blitz more this year? I wasn’t watching close enough but I swear I’ve seen more DB blitzes from Corner and Safety in the preseason than in any of Fangio’s 49er defenses. Was it a zone blitz? Did a lineman or backer drop into coverage or was it a jail break type of blitz? Based on what you’ve seen in practice, do you think Fangio is going to add any new wrinkles to his defense? He has a zone blitz background but hasn’t used it much with the 49ers.

    1. Way more blitzing this preseason. On Lemonier’s sack…
      - The right OLB dropped back into coverage (could not see number)
      - Dobbs rushed in the right OLBs gap
      - Lemonier did an inside rip move to flush Alex Smith
      - Spillman blitzed from 12 yards deep and flushed Alex back into Lemonier for the sack.

      A nice design. A bit of zone blitz fakery on one side and a safety blitzing from 12 yards deep on the opposite side.

      1. I keep hoping for a pass rushing specialist 4 man line of something like from left to right: Lemonier, Brooks, J. Smith, A. Smith.

        I think I’ve seen more Inside Linebacker blitzes too.

      2. I thought about Aldon on the inside too. He lined up there on occasion at Missouri. But I figured he’s so good from the End spot; if it aint broke, don’t fix it.

  6. Baalke had to face up to the mistake that was AJ Jenkins. Grant refuses to face up to the mistake that would have been Coby Fleener, had he (Grant) had his way.

    Wide receiver was a definite position of need last year. Tight end wasn’t. That’s why they reached for Jenkins. They might well have drafted a different wide receiver. In that case, if he had been a productive player, we might have drafted someone different in the fourth round rather than Patton. So how much difference would it have made? Who knows?

    1. Why was wide receiver more of a need than tight end?

      The 49ers had Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham locked up for more than one year. Delanie Walker was in his walk year.

      1. I think T.Y Hilton would have been a better pick then Jenkins. He’s explosive and a dual threat like Percy Harvin.

        1. I agree. The 49ers should have taken Hilton with their third round pick instead of trading it to the Colts.

          I also think the 49ers’ should have traded up in the first round with the Colts and taken Xavier Rhodes, then traded up with the Ravens in the second round for D.J. Swearinger.

      2. Well most teams get much more from their #2 WR than their #2 TE. Manningham has never proved durable enough. Our WR corps was truly suspect. Even Crabtree had not exactly morphed into the second coming of JR.

      3. Why was wide receiver more of a need than tight end?

        See 2012 NFC Championship game Grant.

        Moss was coming off a year from football and Manningham had a history of injuries. The WR position was the biggest concern going into the draft and as we have seen, the team of Harbaugh and Baalke go after the biggest need first. In 2011 it was OLB while in 2012 WR was the biggest need, and this year it was the FS position.

      4. It is possible TB was thinking AJ would replace Crabtree when his contract is up by looking down the road and wanting to spend on Kap, Aldon Iuoati…etc. We didn’t really need him right away, so just develop him for his 3rd year when WRs usually get it. Unfortunately AJ was a bad pick, end of story, time to move on.

      5. I think that was exactly the plan Maui, to get a guy they could develop for a year or two. They just chose the wrong guy.

  7. Fleener is labelled as “soft” and the even the “B” word is used by some at Stampedeblue. I didn’t listen to that podcast and I won’t put a bust label on a player so soon. But I bet GC would jump right in to defend CF. LOL
    As fate would have it, and if GC is right again, Baldwin can replace Bolden in 2014.

  8. Fleener was less than impressive his rookie season. I would take McDonald over him anyways. Coulda woulda shoulda games never work. If niners had drafted Martin last year then he would have had what maybe 100 touches last year? Wouldn’t have had the type season he did last year. Gore was and is our #1. And clearly the niners didn’t think they needed a CB so why would they use their 2nd rounder on one. This is all pointless.

    1. Not a good argument at all. Everone knew that Gore’s career is winding down. While RB was not a real immediate need, you don’t pass on a three down back like Martin. Neither Hunter or LMJ are three down backs. When they are in it pretty much tips off the defense what type of play is to be run. The niner’s run a tandem out of necessity to keep Gore fresh not because it is the best option. They were fazing him out anyway and were going to look for his replacement as soon as he became available. Perhaps they got him in Lattamore. But he is injurie prone and is not guarenteed to come back 100%. With Martin their future at RB would have been set. Instead they gambled on a washout.

      Martin would have shared the carry’s with Gore just like Hunter did. Hunter getting injured hurt the team because it wore down Gore. Martin would have been available. You also have the option of trading any of those backs.

      The argument about immediate need makes less sense if you are expecting AJ to be a project rather than a player who can contribute immediately.

      1. Everone knew that Gore’s career is winding down.

        Doesn’t look like it to me.

        Perhaps they got him in Lattamore. But he is injurie prone and is not guarenteed to come back 100%.

        The same applied to Gore when he was drafted.

        With Martin their future at RB would have been set. Instead they gambled on a washout.

        You have absolutely no proof in that.

        With Martin their future at RB would have been set. Instead they gambled on a washout.

        See the 2013 play-offs and tell me that Gore was wore down.

        The argument about immediate need makes less sense if you are expecting AJ to be a project rather than a player who can contribute immediately.

        Everybody knew that they was a good chance that whoever was drafted at WR has a strong chance of not playing much if at all due to the signings in the off-season. That said, Moss was on a one-year deal and the team knew that someone would have to replace him afterwards. And the WR position was a major need due to the continuous injuries suffered at that position.

      2. Whoops. Error Correct:

        Hunter getting injured hurt the team because it wore down Gore.

        See the 2013 play-offs and tell me that Gore was wore down.

    2. The Niners are now in a position thanks to TB that they don’t have many needs on the roster and can draft guys to be ready in a year or two. Ian Williams is an example. This past draft is all about next season with Carradine, Dial, Lattimore…etc.

      Additionally, TB is very good at stockpiling draft picks and moving up to get a guy they really want like Reid when they do have a need or trading low picks for a vet ala Boldin.

      The Niners are going to be contenders for a long time with the current FO and coaching staff. Grant is focusing on the one pimple on a beauty queen. Guess it gets clicks because we all take the bait.

  9. Should of could of would of… I will say though if nfl Experts And other scouting teams were saying AJ was a second Or a third round pick Talent why would we have drafted him in the first round? The same could be said about Eric Reid this year. Why would we move up spots lose a third-round pick to grab Eric Reid when John Cyperian was still on the board? We all know Ciprian has better stats then Reid.. This years draft class was deep in safeties and we should have gotten a cornerback or taking a chance on the honey badger himself He could replace Dante Whitner or we could have had him play cornerback

      1. don’t tell that to Grant. According to him he’s watched more film than the GM and scouts….don’t forget his 49er player scouting from all the practices he’s watched.

    1. Jose,

      The NFL experts you speak of do not have NFL jobs so there’s your first answer. Don’t always buy the rankings you see on draft sites because many times the people that post them don’t have access to important info that NFL people do.

      Jenkins was viewed as a 2nd round pick by most of the sites I looked at that year, but keep in mind the Niners didn’t have another pick till the end of the second round. If you see a guy you want you take him. In this case it didn’t work out but it doesn’t mean you change your scouting reports based on what somebody else thinks is right.

      They traded up for Reid because they saw him as the best Safety in the draft, simple as that. They had been scouting this guy for a long time and Harbaugh had tried to recruit him to Stanford coming out of H.S. so they know a lot about him. Cyprian was on nobody’s radar until he had a good Sr. Bowl. That got the hype machine rolling and while he does appear to be a good player, I think the Niners got the better prospect. We’ll see in time.

      1. Early reports on Cyprien is that he is struggling to pick up the Defense with the Jaguars as is D.J. Swearinger with the Texans. I was not that thrilled with Reid or the trade up but I gotta give credit to Baalke on this one, it looks like he drafted the right guy.

  10. In my Hillary voice, “What difference does it make”? The 49ers chose wisely at the most important position. Quarterback. Franchise caliber. Keep him healthy, and the 49ers will contend every year.

    1. In my opinion the four most important positions are QuarterBack and Offensive Tackle, Pass Rush and Cornerback. At the first three we are in great shape. The Niners have done a pretty good job at drafting those positions. Our corners are not really that bad either but it looks like that may be our most important need in the 2014 draft. Ifo Expre-Olomu!

      1. I agree with the four, but in recent years, the OT’s position has become less important, partly because of more athletic QBs and partly because of schemes. So I’d put OT fourth on the list. At the same time, the free safety has risen in importance in recent years because of the need for more extended coverage as the passing game has become more of a threat with large, fast receivers and TEs.

      2. The OT position is still very much important Mood. Imagine Kwame Harris instead of Joe Staley at LT when Goodwin snaps the ball to Kaep. Kaep is fast but he would have no chance to react because he would be hit just as the ball reached him.

  11. I know I was one of those who wanted to see them pick Fleener last year, but looking at those options I would say the best would have been to take Martin at 30. How nice would it have been to have him in the second half of the year behind Gore once Hunter was injured?

    I believe it was BigP who stated prior to the draft last year that Dwayne Allen was the best TE in the draft. He is at least equal to Celek as a blocker and is a proven pass catcher. Had they made that move last year the #2 TE position would have been set with Walker’s departure and he would have a year in the system under his belt.

    Those moves would have also freed them up to take Alford at 55. With almost every CB coming off contract next year, Alford develop for a year would have been nice, and now with the injury to Culliver he could have had more of an impact.

    1. i liked Allen and Orson Charles at TE last year.

      I’ve been watching “Hard Knocks” and the Bengals have been trying to convert Charles from TE to FB. He’s been making some progress (but he has to beat out John “the Terminator” Conner”. To me Charles would have been a good Delanie Walker replacement.

  12. Dang, Grant, that’s a lot of “ifs”, and if they’d drafted Doug Martin, wouldn’t you have chided them for not addressing Red Zone or Deep Threat, our obsession-du-jour back then? What if they’d drafted Stephen Hill? Or the tall WR from LSU? This stuff is a little endless.

    1. If Grant hadn’t written that emotional mistake of an article after the 49ers picked AJJ would he feel the need to continue castigating a very good front office for one draft gaffe? Maybe he could have written articles about the changes in the secondary or O-Line instead and have a Pulitzer by now.

      1. It wasn’t an emotional article and I stand by it. You can’t whiff that badly on a first round pick. The 49ers got literally nothing from A.J. Jenkins. They’re lucky the Chiefs gave them Jon Baldwin for him.

      2. Of course you can not Whiff on the 30th overall pick of the draft. When Walsh picked James Owens with the 29th pick in 1979, boy he sure set the Franchise back a decade. Same with selecting Earl Cooper with the 13th pick in 1980. There is absolutely NO WAY you can build the greatest dynasty in NFL history if you whiff on a top-32 pick in two straight drafts.

  13. Coby Fleener is not all that. I watch a few games of his and he drops ball and sometimes looks out of place. Andrew Luck’s passes most of the time where dead on.
    Also I think it worked out for the best, Lemoneir have shown me more then Irvin (speed rush, jump on the snap, quick twich, the first step on snap of the ball, etc). If the league thought Niners had a good D just watch this year on passing downs.
    Also McDonald looks to have better hands then Fleener but McDonald just needs to work on being consistent.
    And Baldwin’s body type is better for a west coast offense anyways. Niners run ball a lot and Baldwin could block better, Jenkins seams to get pushed around and fall on contact. Plus even if Baldwin had 40 cathes that’s better then 1.

    1. Lemonier will be lucky to play 10% of the defensive snaps this year. The first OLB off the bench will be Haralson, and when they go Nickle they won’t take A Smith or Brooks off the field.

      1. depends on if Fangio sticks with his M.O. and doesn’t rotate players much, then you’re probably right.

        I can see them subbing in Lemonier for Brooks (Lemons is a presumed Left OLB/End) to keep Brooks fresh. Parys can play both sides but has mostly played on the Right Side.

      2. Yes, but it isn’t sweet to know that they have the luxury now of resting A Smith and Brooks if needed.
        Aldon was at his best when he specialized, trading off with Parys.

  14. Using 20-20 hindsight, I think the 49ers should have taken Kendall Reyes at #30 last season. He played well for the CHargers at the back end of last year, right when the 49ers would have needed someone to replace Justin Smith…

    In the what-if scenarios, this would mean Tank wouldn’t be drafted at 40, and they could have taken someone like Johnthan Banks instead.

    1. I like Reyes and I’ve mentioned him before in one of the hindsight posts before. But I’m not sure he fits what the Niners are looking for at the Right DE spot. I think they want more of a penetrator/disruptor. type. Maybe I’m wrong about Reyes, he seems solid and powerful on the edge but not a backfield threat.

  15. So, the 49ers could have had Martin, Allen and Gratz, but instead they have Jon Baldwin, LaMichael James and Vance McDonald.

    If Baldwin is half as good as you have been touting him to be Grant, there is no contest; I’d take the second group. Even if he doesn’t, I’m not sure the first group is all that more appealing. Martin is good, but he’s the same kind of guy as Gore. In LMJ we have a different style of RB and I think that is a good thing. McDonald and Allen are a wash right now until we see what McDonald can do, and Gratz could have been drafted but he wasn’t along with any other CB until the 7th round. These kind of topics really are pointless because you can do it every year with every team. Nobody hits the target every year.

    1. Gore is on his last legs. He can’t carry the load any more. Last season when they lost Hunter’s carries Gore was getting tired and not running with power until after he got rested against the cards and the bye week during the playoffs. He really needed those games off.

      LMJ is not a three down back. He is a change of pace back. Quality three down backs are rare and when one comes up you draft them. A team is always better having a three down back because the defense doesn’t know what kind of play is going to be run. Martin can do it all. LMJ can not. There is no comparison. A good three down back excels at all of these things- running between the tackles,- running the edge,- blocking and catching passes. Gore wasn’t actually a really good three down back because he wasn’t that good of a receiver ( I am not referring to just check down passes). Martin is very good at all of those aspects of the game.

      1. Gore is on his last legs. He can’t carry the load any more. Last season when they lost Hunter’s carries Gore was getting tired and not running with power until after he got rested against the cards and the bye week during the playoffs. He really needed those games off.

        Complete nonsense. Gore got fewer carries last year than he had in years and was fresh down the stretch and into the playoffs. He also didn’t get rested against the Cards; he had 20 carries.

        LMJ is not a three down back. He is a change of pace back. Quality three down backs are rare and when one comes up you draft them. A team is always better having a three down back because the defense doesn’t know what kind of play is going to be run. Martin can do it all. LMJ can not. There is no comparison. A good three down back excels at all of these things- running between the tackles,- running the edge,- blocking and catching passes. Gore wasn’t actually a really good three down back because he wasn’t that good of a receiver ( I am not referring to just check down passes). Martin is very good at all of those aspects of the game

        Yep so rare that the Redskins got the second leading rusher overall last year in the 6th round. Arian Foster was an undrafted FA. You seem to be stuck in a previous decade where there were bell cow RB’s who took most of the carries. Now there is RB by committee for the majority of teams including the Niners and Martin would not have even been a consideration for them with Gore and Hunter in the fold. They needed a different style of RB to contrast with what they already had and LMJ fit that definition.

        It’s been shown time and again in recent years that RB’s have been devalued in the draft and you can find good ones in later rounds.

  16. Grant what’s up with the moderation of my last comment. Are you doing that to all links now? Or is the link out of line? It was just a new thing the Niners were trying, a little seductive yes but moderation eh – nope.

  17. Dear Dumb Sh_ _ Grant….. let go of A. J. Jenkins and any other players released, cut or traded (Randy Moss, Dashon Goldson, John Brodie, Tony Morabito)… tell us something that is currently going on with the team that we don’t know… like something about Eric Mangini, his role…. something about Jon Baldwin, Vance McDonald, Glenn Dorsey… we really don’t care about former players that have moved on or died….

    1. This is why having hypothetical discussions with sports fans is a no win situation. Too many don’t care, care too much, or, are just rude. Dear Mike, nobody is forcing you to read this or take part in the discussion.

    2. Mike I don’t think there is enough paper and ink to write about all the things that you obviously don’t seem to know.

  18. Grant, if we were in a bar and you proposed this topic… I would look at you and ask you to pass me the peanuts and start talking about the redhead in the green dress at the end of the bar instead. We’d have better chances of creating the future than chasing our own tails discussing about changing the past.

  19. You’re making too much of this Grant, general managers and coaches miss on players in every round in every draft. To crucify Trent for this one pick makes you sound new to the game, especially since many of us know that you had a personal problem with the pick when it was made.

      1. Grant do the names Mcafee, Shell and Flagler ring a bell none of them are as bad as Jenkins but as a threesome they really stink. Stop reading your dad’s columns Bill Walsh WAS a football genius but he wasn’t perfect

      2. Grant Cohn says:
        August 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm
        When did Bill Walsh whiff that bad on a first round pick?——————————
        I didn’t realize you held Baalke in such high company, it doesn’t exactly come through in your articles.

        I think you’re really just trying to say “I told you so” and we get it already. My coach used to say to the newbies when they’d score a td in practice and start jumping around like a fool “hey kid, try and act like you’ve been there before and you wont look like such a jerk.”

      3. Nobody is as bad as AJJ, but seriously, James Owens at 29 and Earl Cooper at 13 were whiffs. Sorry you are too young to know that.

      4. Earl Cooper wasn’t a whiff. He contributed on 2 Super Bowl teams, even scoring the TD forever immortalized on the cover of SI.

        Of those 3 only Shell was close to Jenkins.

      5. Earl Cooper was a whiff. He had one decent year which was his first and then became a role player who was out of the league by the mid 80′s. Not even remotely close to good value for a 1st round pick.

        Flagler was a complete bust and terrible pick by Walsh. He did nothing for 3 years with the Niners, latched on with the Cards for two more, and was out of the league. Total bust.

        I hate sullying the name of the great Bill Walsh, but his drafts were not always good. Nobody hits all the time. It’s a crapshoot.

      6. Cooper may have been drafted a bit early, but he was hardly a whiff. During his rookie season for the 49ers in 1980, he finished second in the league in receptions with 83 (San Diego’s Kellen Winslow had 89), and accounted for 1287 total yards. He followed that up in 1981 with a 51 catch season, and 807 total yards.

        He was a major contributor to the team in 81. That’s not a whiff. A whiff is a guy like Flagler or Shell who both did almost nothing during their time in SF.

        Yes, Walsh missed from time to time, it’s ok to say it. He would probably agree with you.

      7. He was a lousy RB Jack. He found a niche catching passes out of the backfield for a couple of years but his career was nothing remotely close to where he was drafted. The point of this was talking about bad 1st round picks and Cooper was a bad first round pick. Shell and Flagler were worse but Cooper is right there after them. Grant asked a question and was given a few examples. His learning continues.

        1. We were talking about whiffs, like A.J. Jenkins. Are you comparing a player who finished second in the league in catches his rookie year to Jenkins? That’s a slight stretch.

      8. I clearly stated Cooper was a better player than AJJ will be. My point was the difference in “draft capitol” (for lack of a better term) between the 30th pick and the 13th pick has to count for something. One year after drafting Cooper, with “a Super Bowl berth in the balance” Walsh had a street free agent in the game at RB instead of Cooper. Three years after using the 13th pick on a RB/FB, Walsh had to go out and get Craig and Tyler to be his starting backfield. He then converted Cooper to TE. Include James Owens at 29th overall in 1979, and that’s two top-30 picks who made minimal contributions to start the decade, yet we all know what happened. So no, “whiffing” on a top-30 (or 32) pick will not definitely sink your franchise.

      9. Here’s Coopers career regular season numbers:

        1152 yds/6tds rushing
        1908 yds/12tds receiving

        How is that anything but a whiff at 13th overall?

      10. OK Grant we won’t count Cooper as a whiff then. He was a bad pick but did produce more than Jenkins. We’ll leave it at the other examples given to you. Flagler was a complete whiff for Walsh as was Shell so your challenge was accepted and answered. While it was during his second go round, McGrew was a terrible miss by Walsh as well.

        Just goes to show that even the greats miss sometimes.

      11. If we really want to point to a dark period in Niner draft history look no further than the Dwight Clark/Vinny Ceratto years.

    1. Its okay to whiff occasionally on a first round pick as long as you are picking up undrafted free agents like Ian Williams.

      1. So when the spawn of cohn asks a question and you give him 3 answers (Owens, Cooper, Flagler) he just doesn’t respond?

      1. Hopefully(for them) Carolina is better on offense than what they’ve shown so far. Other than the first drive their defense is looking pretty good(just as I type that Stokley makes a big catch).

      2. Wasn’t a big Ginn fan. It’s pre season. I think Newton would have ran more than that. It’s tough beating a team in their home opener, unless you are superior, and I don’t see the seahaks being that superior, especially since they can’t win on the road

      3. I was just tryin to be funny. Ginn was a nice returner but I bad-mouthed him plenty. As for Colin Jones, he’s a special teamer, we got a pick for him, whatever.

        I’m rooting for them to beat Seattle for sure. It should be a great game. Week 1 watching the Redzone is gonna be fun.

  20. We’ve come to what ifs? Man I could go on all day about what if’s.
    ill throw one out there. What if Harbaugh decided to sign with Miami instead of SF? How about this…. Everything happens for a reason. We are winning it all this year

  21. There are too many variables to play this game. There is only one sure thing Jenkins is a bust and Fleener would have been a very mediocre 1st rd pick. I would much rather have Vance McDonald I believe he has a much bigger ceiling. I think its pretty clear that Baalke\Harbaugh made a big mistake and Grant\Oldcoach [with their Fleener pick] also would have done a crappy job of drafting.

    1. You’re right. Grant/Oldcoach would have done a crummy job. They needed Jack Hammer in the room, kind of like Walsh did with his buddy back in ’86. (Sarcasm)

    2. Oldcoach – There you go again hogging all the reasoning and perspective.

      Count me in as one of the “crappy job of drafting” brigade pushing Fleener and Hill.

      Also count me in as excited about Vance McDonald. His measurable are off the charts, and his film (what little of it is there) isn’t bad either.

    3. I agree, Give me V Mac over fleener and Allen every day of the week. Martin would have been nice, but we just drafted Hunter to go with Gore, and now we have James and Lattimore. I think Baldwin will be someone here, he has everything a WR could want ( winning team, shot at a SB, stud QB, great city). We were definitely NOT set at WR!!!! that’s a freakin joke!!! Crabb only emerged the last half of LAST YEAR! KW was a hated man. Moss was old and his ability in question. MM was good, but only singed to a 2 year deal. WR was the obvious need for us. S. Hill would have been a better pick. WE did not know DW was gonna get $20 mill from Ten. Even 2 days before the start of FA, no one knew for sure what the market would be for DW. Im sure we thought we had a shot to re-sing him down to the last second.

  22. Grant, you make mistakes too. This article is one good example of it.
    And WHAT IF you didn’t have a Dad who was a writer, do you think you would have a job at the PD right now?
    Cut out these stupid games and focus on what is GOOD about the nines!!!

    1. He can’t, he has to whine and lament about his guy Fleener like someone should be listening to him about it. Can’t wait until the PD gets someone that actually reports what is news with the 49ers. Grant , go away already.

    2. Dee Phiant its sad to read the quality of the articles on this blog! I am not stating Grant should not express his opinion but somehow recently some of the articles have become a drama series based on personal perception or even opinion without logical analysis!!! I agree with Grant that this organization (Trent and Jim H) have made mistakes but so what! please name one organization in the NFL that has not made mistakes in the past? It would be nice to read articles about real football and breakdown of this team and future opponents rather than all of this non sense.

      1. What’s the point talking about the ‘what if’s” of the FO?
        What if Kaep had thrown more accurate to Crab?
        Grant are you going to dig up EVERYBODY’S mistakes from the last 2 years ad naseum?

    3. I agree the premise of the blog entry is pointless, but you guys need to lighten up. Grant didn’t steal your GF; he is just putting some ideas out there to generate discussion while there isn’t much news to talk about. Tell him why his opinion is flawed but you don’t need to get personal.

  23. I have read quite a few articles by grant now and in the past i has sided with him and thought you people where hard on him but as I continue reading grant’s articles I realize he has a problem with harbaugh and our organization as a whole grant why do you blog about the niners when your disdain for them is so evident go write for a team you care about or even for one you could be impartial about

    1. too much influence from daddy, you cant say positive things about the niners. You have to find a mistake and harp on it every chance you get.

  24. In the science fiction game, we call “what ifs” alternate history. Like “what if” Germany had won WWII? “What if” Lincoln or Kennedy had not been assassinated? “What if” the British had beaten down the rebellion and there was never a United States of America?

    Well, on that last one, we would probably all be soccer fans now instead of football fans and the “royals” would be very important to us.

    Trying to change history with “what ifs” can be a fun exercise, but as they say: “It is what it is.”

      1. Jack, though it’s not my sub-genre of science fiction, it can be fun as a mental exercise. “What ifs” are like going into the Room of Mirrors in a fun house where your image becomes infinite. You can apply that to these draft scenarios of Grant’s because of the effect it would create with other team’s draft selections in 2012 and 2013.

    1. Perhaps some of his problem is the response he got when he came out early on and said that AJ was a bust. When someone is right and people ridicule them for being honest about their opinions you give them crap just because you either don’t agree or you don’t understand their perspective.

      I also stated early on that I felt the staff made an error by not recognizing the red flags that pointed to AJ having a very low strength to weight ratio. Meaning that he was incapable of ever increasing his strength enough to play an edge receiver. I also stated that it was understandable that they didn’t recognize those flags because AJ was an exception to the rule. Most fans on the sites I posted on couldn’t even comprehend my point- understandable. What was not was those that demeaned something purely because they themselves were incapable of understanding.

      I wonder how many of those that complain about moving on were the same that criticized Grant for his blogs? Does it remind you of something you would rather forget? Simple answer! If you don’t like the subject of his blogs DONT READ THEM. How many of you would let it go if you were right and Grant was wrong and you could call him on it?

    1. Jon Gruden has never met a player he didn’t like…..

      …unless his name was Ricky Watters or “Me”shawn Johnson.

    2. Deirdorf used to drive me nuts with that. Every week had the best player he’s ever seen. Gruden is similar in that way, but I can take him, Dierdorf made me want to throw stuff at the TV.

  25. this is so silly Grant! how do you know your picks would be better! OK AJ did not work out but your statement could be applied to so many other situations a cross the nfl! LOL.

  26. I loom at it this way. The 49ers treated that 30th pick as an early 2nd rounder. So in effect they had TWO 2nd rounders. That being said, AJJ was a 2nd round bust for us. Wish him the best in KC. I hope he enjoys watching us in the Super Bowl.

    1. Good point, not like we whiffed on a guy with a top 10 pick. The sad fact is, a pick that low is a glorified 2nd rounder. Grant is suggesting that missing with a 1st rounder will set ya back 5-10 years. Thats not true! You cannot afford to miss on EARLY FIRST ROUND PICKS!! Like #1-20. Another factor: what you do in the later rounds. If you knock it out of the park with 2nd (Kap) and 3rd ( bowman) round picks, you can cover your @$$ a little.

    1. No…

      Just saying, with that kind of new why write this POS. look at Eric Branch’s blog. He has an interview with Colt McCoy, Matt Maiocco get an article on Kendall hunter, Matt barrows a piece on Colt McCoy. Then you look here…sad…really sad.

      1. What is sad, is you trying to defend this….and yes….if grant wants blog hits….then I contributed….does not invalid my point….this blog used to break news on the Niners……SMH…

      2. Txtree,

        Thank you for your service to our country.

        So you mean I can go to Maiocco and read a story that broke 2-3 days ago or I can go to Branch or Barrows and read pieces on a bad QB. Sweet. Guess what, I already did. Those guys are all pretty good in their own right as is Grant.

        He hit on all of the news of the day and then put this together to help pass the time while we wait for the game on Sunday.

      3. Prime,

        None of the local beat writers break any news. They get it from one of the national guys and then pass it along.

      4. Jack please do not compare MM with Grant! I do not mean to disrespect Grant. He is doing a decent job for a rookie but MM should be considered on a whole different platform of reporting. I am sure Grant will continue his success and grow professionally and i wish him all the best.

      5. Chicago,

        Where did I compare Grant to Maiocco?

        There really is none anyway. If I want pro 49ers schilling I got to Maiocco, if I want something that challenges my perceptions I go to Grant.

      6. Nah, while Maiocco, Barrows, Inman, and Branch do a good job reporting the news they rarely say anything negative about the team, or give their feelings without some sort of positive spin to cover themselves.

        Kawakami, Ratto, Killion, Lowell Cohn, and Grant take the news and break it down with opinions. I prefer that because they challenge me to look at things from a different perspective. When I was a tennager Killion, and Ira Miller used to drive me nuts, but I found that over time they were often proven right. Now at 39, I appreciate that approach.

        To each their own.

  27. The only thing (MAYBE) that would have changed is that Patton would not have been drafted by the Niners because they would have addressed the WR position earlier in the 2013 draft.

  28. blowing a first round pick is huge – it can be franchise defining. but lets hope we’ve mixed some Hall of Famers into some 2nds, 3rds, etc, guys like Kaep, Bowman, etc. Too early to know whether this was one Todd Shell among the many great moves or a bust that ruined the all too short window in the Not For Long.

  29. Read plenty of Grant’s ridiculous blogs and this is the first time I had to post. If you want to play revisionist history, how about this list:
    1995 JJ Stokes pick 10
    1996 Israel Ifeanyi pick 46
    2000 Gio Carmazzi pick 65
    2002 Mike Rumph pick 27
    2004 Rashaun Woods pick 31
    2008 Kentwan Balmer pick 29

    Please tell me Grant how good these picks were… You really need to back off the Jenkins pick! At least he still has a chance to prove himself and all of the failures listed above are long gone.

    1. Here’s who the 49ers could have picked instead of the players listed above. As others have stated, being an after the fact GM is a pretty damn easy job…

      1995 could have drafted:
      Warren Sapp pick 12
      Ty Law pick 23
      Derrick Brooks pick 28
      Curtis Martin pick 74
      Antonio Freeman pick 90
      Terrell Davis pick 196

      1996 could have drafted:
      Brian Dawkins pick 61
      Teddy Bruschi pick 86
      Jon Runyan pick 109
      Zach Thomas pick 154
      La’Roi Glover pick 166

      2000 could have drafted:
      Shane Lechler pick 142
      Dante Hall pick 153
      Tom Brady pick 199

      2002 could have picked:
      Clinton Portis pick 51
      Brian Westbrook pick 91
      Jonathan Goodwin pick 154
      Bret Keisel pick 242

      2004 could have picked:
      Bob Sanders pick 44
      Darnell Dockett pick 64
      Matt Schaub pick 90
      Shaun Phillips pick 98
      Jared Allen pick 126
      Michael Turner pick 154

      2008 could have picked:
      Jordy Nelson pick 36
      Matt Forte pick 44
      DeSean Jackson pick 44
      Ray Rice pick 55
      Jamal Charles pick 73

  30. Here’s how I would have done the past two drafts, full hindsight:


    1. Doug Martin
    2. Dwayne Allen
    3. T.Y. Hilton

    1. Xavier Rhodes (trade up to 24)
    2. Tank Carradine (trade back from 34 to 40)
    3. D.J. Swearinger (trade up with Ravens in second round)
    4. Corey Lemonier (trade up from 93 to 88)
    5. Tyler Wilson (instead of Lattimore)

    1. Like the 2012 draft.

      2013–would have still drafted Lattimore and would have traded up for Matt Barkley. Those 8 and half inch hands of Tyler Wilson’s are going to be a problem for him in cold weather games in places like Denver and K.C. in Nov and Dec. Barkley is simply better than Wilson.

      1. If the 49ers were worried about their CB depth at all they should get on the phone to GB straight away. Apparently Casey Hayward is currently sitting 4th on their depth chart behind Shields, House and the rookie Micah Hyde who apparently has looked tremendous (admittedly Hayward is down the order partly because he’s returning from injury). And that list doesn’t include Tramon Williams who has been their top CB the past 2 seasons.

        Now that is a team that doesn’t whiff on CBs…

      2. Packers screw up the Oline picks instead.

        With the exception of Heyward, aren’t all of these guys late round picks or UDFA’s in the case of Williams? Just goes to show you can find good options later in the draft.

      3. I decided to see just how good the Packers have been at drafting CB’s and much to my surprise, they really haven’t done a good job with guys they’ve drafted since the current administration has been running the show.

        Since he was hired in 2005, Ted Thompson has drafted 9 CB’s and two are currently on the roster. The rest are either out of football or trying to hang on elsewhere. They are extremely fortunate that they hit on some UDFA’s are they would be in a mess.

  31. Grant, you really know how to push the buttons. When I first read your topic, I thought it was an exercise in futility and figured you might get just 5-10 responses. Kudos!

  32. Rather than hash out what could’ve happened but didn’t, its getting close to time to wildly speculate about what is about to happen. I roughed out my guess for the 53, but its a tad early in Camp and a bit late in the evening to put it up. I’ll chew on it again mañana and then throw something up for target practice. Get out you’re scalpels and start making your projected cuts on the depth chart too. Stuff will accelerate after Monday.

  33. It’s a crummy premise, but it surely generated a lot of quality response. You take educated guesses and some calculated risks. Sometimes you win sometime you lose, Good Time Baalke has got the blues.

  34. When is the Press going to fire you? I’m writing them a letter and begging for your day job. I could stand around at press conferences, not ask a single question, then write about how terrible players, coaches and managers are. Then I could ask the blogs opinion about it. At least I’d respond to critics.

      1. Slick…since I have never heard you ever post anything intelligent on this website.

        Crabs15…what your mom has had since I met her, 15 years ago.

  35. Another “insightful” article from you Grant (sarcasm intended). As usual, you sound like a disgruntled teenage fan writing on a blog for the first time instead of a journalist.

  36. What if you and your dad never became writers? The. There would t be these stupid pointless articles being written that brings no insight to anything.

    And I keep forgetting that coby fleener is tearing up the nfl right now. Oh wait…No he’s not. He’s looking like a bust as well. It’s not the pick of a WR it’s that we picked Aj Jenkins. We could’ve got Stephen hill or alshon Jeffrey. Everybody knew that Jenkins was a wasted pick.

    Or let’s say we drafted Blane gabbert like some of you idiot writers wanted instead of Aldon. We wouldn’t be having this conversation. We would be talking about why we keep picking in the top 10 of the draft all the time.

  37. Are you for real with this article?
    What if they didn’t draft Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, etc?

    For the record your draft crush Fleener hasn’t done squat with Luck who is supposed to be his BFF.

    Saying someone should be drafted over Vance McDonald is idiotic considering neither he nor Gatz or Alford have proven who is a good player or not. Doug Martin could blow his knee out and never play another down of football again while LMJ could turn into a Maurice Jones-Drew type of running back.

    I don’t understand how you still have a job. Must be the Skip Bayless effect.

  38. Why not just go all the way back and say what would have happened if we had drafted Brady instead of the goat herder, Carmazzi

  39. So Baalke made a mistake. Last time I checked no one is perfect. Not too mention despite the whif we still made it to the Superbowl and will probably do so again. It amazes me how you Cohns can make a living by being so negative so often. I really cant decide which one of you is worse. Next season you two can handle the draft and we will see how well you do.

    P.S. Please resign.

  40. The former Rams GM (Devaney?) was on Insiders talking about draft hits and misses. He whiffed on OT Jason Smith; 5th overall, I think. Lots and lots of folks had him rated that high. Devaney said other GMs asked him ‘What’s wrong with him? What’s he missing? He looked so good on college tape’ Devaney said if he’d known he would’ve got it fixed. Instead they shipped him off to Nawlins for a song, and the Saints recently released him.
    Sometimes you miss on who you pick. Sometimes you miss on who you don’t (Brady).

  41. My 53~




    Non Football Injury~

    Practice Squad~

      1. Razor,
        Ggood list, my hope list too for a few of the those guys. I do agree with Matt on Gray for Celek. Also is Trent Robinson having that bad a preseason? Not sure about that one either.

    1. Unless I miscounted, it looks like your 53 is only 50.

      You can add in Looney, Tukuafu and the DB of your choice.

  42. Here’s my best guess at the 49ers’ 53. I reserve the right to change this as many times as I want.

    Boldin/Baldwin/Moore/K. Williams/Patton
    V. Davis/V. McDonald/Celek/Gray
    Staley/Iupati/Goodwin/Boone/A. Davis/Snyder/Kilgore/Looney
    A. Smith/Haralson
    J. Smith/Dobbs
    I. Williams/Dorsey
    R. McDonald/Jerod-Eddie
    Reid/Whitner/Dahl (punt protector)/Spillman (gunner)/Robinson (gunner)

    1. Like the Jerod- Eddie pick Grant. He’s looked good and they will need an extra DL for the first game with Dobbs suspension, so that is a nice pick. Also like the Trenton Robinson pick.

      Here’s my best guess at this point (I stole your template because I’m too lazy to type it all out):

      Boldin/Baldwin/Moore/K. Williams/Patton/Collie
      V. Davis/V. McDonald/Celek
      Staley/Iupati/Goodwin/Boone/A. Davis/Snyder/Kilgore/Looney
      A. Smith/Haralson
      J. Smith/Dobbs
      I. Williams/Dorsey
      R. McDonald/Jerod-Eddie
      Reid/Whitner/Dahl (punt protector)/Spillman (gunner)/Robinson (gunner)

      One guy I’m not sure about is Ray Ventrone. I think Seely could push to keep him as a ST’s ace which could push Robinson off the roster but I’d rather see them keep Robinson. If he is cut, I think Robinson makes the PS.

      Practice Squad:

      Johnson (may not get through waivers though)

      1. Grant might be right with his QB predictions JShaw. I kept Tolzien because I don’t think Harbaugh will trust a 7th round rookie to have much of a role his first year even as a 3rd QB. I could be wrong and Tolzien has worn out his welcome, but from what I’ve seen from Harbaugh, he likes the vets more than the kids at least in year one unless the rooks give him no choice like Reid appears to be doing.

        I don’t see Wallace grasping the offense enough in two weeks to warrant them dumping McCoy, but who knows at this point?

      2. “I kept Tolzien because I don’t think Harbaugh will trust a 7th round rookie to have much of a role his first year even as a 3rd QB.”

        He chose an UDFA rookie as his 3rd QB in 2011.

    2. Grant, that is very close to how I see it falling too. The main differences I see are:

      QB: Definitely a tough one to call. I still expect McCoy to make the roster. For now I’ll go McCoy and Wallace behind Kaep, but definitely subject to change. I think they’ll try and stash Daniels on the PS.

      WR/ TE: Celek and Collie will fight for a roster spot. As I’ve mentioned previously, if Collie wins the slot WR role he’s in, if he doesn’t, they keep 4 TEs instead.

      The rest is in line with what I expect. I like that you’ve got Jerod-Eddie instead of Tukuafu – I just have a feeling the front office will go that way too.

    3. I like this better but no fair you got to see the practices. Nice to have T Robinson in there and Looney (hopes from 2012).
      Shows a lot of faith in Baldwin at #2 wr assuming a hierarchy in your list. Patton will move up. What WR goes when/if Manningham and later Crabtree return?
      I am not sure about need for 4 TEs. Thought Celek has not looked that good so far this preseason.

    4. I think Jennings gets cut this year … too expensive and aging.

      What about Tank Carradine? Will Carradine and Lattimore be placed on injured reserve?

  43. My53; so far. ST play in the last two games could tip balance between Bubble players who are close to each other. I have trouble guessing Seely’s rankings. I might have reserved a ST-only spot or two, but in this version I didn’t.
    Usually I think the total body of work, practices & PreSeason games is for evaluation, but with the QBs, these two games could be crucial.
    CK/ McCoy/ Daniels (looking to future w/ Daniels) Wild guess on McCoy
    Boldin/Patton/KW/Moore/Baldwin/Hall (Hall is assuming they see him as a Returner also) [If Collie is on the initial 53 his 2013 is guaranteed, right? They may want to wait and sign him week#2]
    Vernon Davis/ Vance McDonald/ Celek (sigh. I like Gray and hope he makes the PS, but there are a lot of eyes out there waiting. Gray is the better long term pick, but Celek the better run game blocker and that’s the basis of the offense.)
    (my guess is they think of Netter as a utility guy who can play outside too, but he’d be in danger of the team signing a released OT)
    ST: Lee/Dawson/Jennings
    MacDonald/Williams/Dorsey/Justin Smith/ Dobbs/Tukuafo holds off TJE
    Brooks/Haralson/Lemonier/Aldon Smith
    Willis/Bowman/Wilhoite/+? (I think Skuta is more versatile and good ST, but Moody also good ST and has longer and better upside. Neither are prototype pluggers, but range is important these days.)
    Whitner/Spillman/Reid/Dahl/M.Thomas (Thomas can play S and Slot)
    5 CBs might be light
    MIA: Jerrod-Eddy, Cam Johnson, T.Robinson, Cooper, Osgood, Jacobs
    Its always kinda hard to balance players to develop vs lower ceiling but more ready. Some jobs still to be determined.

  44. This is how the 53 will shake out:

    QB (3)
    Wallace (Daniels to practice squad)

    RB (4)
    Dixon (Lattimore on PUP)

    FB (1)

    WR (5)

    TE (3)
    Celek (Gray to practice squad)

    OL (8)

    DL (6)
    J Smith
    Tukuafu (Carradine, and Dial to PUP)

    OLB (5)
    A Smith

    ILB (4)

    CB (5)

    Safety (5)

    Specialists (4)

    1. Jack, that looks right if they go with five WR’s. Though I think if Collie has a good showing next game, it could make it a tough call.

      1. I agree, collie has a good shot to make the team. Interesting note: 8 LB’s???? im not saying i dont like it…but havent we gone with 5-6 the last couple years??

      2. They’ve gone with 3 OLB’s the past two years. What a difference a year makes. They are going to have to cut Johnson and still keep 5.

      3. I think we see them cut a RB instead to make room for a 6th receiver. Is this the year that they cut Dixon?
        I expect to see Lattimore, Diahl, and Carradined on IR. When Manningham returns, I expect to see the WR cut to be the underperformer of the Moore/Williams/Patton/Baldwin group.

      4. He hasn’t but they haven’t changed his number either, so maybe they know they have(although reps are probably pretty important). Boobie hasn’t really impressed me as a fullback.

      1. The only way Carradine and Dobbs make it to the 53 man roster this season is through injury, otherwise they will spend the entire season on PUP/Reserve.

        Regarding Manningham, that all depends on when he is ready to go, and what the injury situation is at that time. You may recall there was a week or two last year when the team chose to have only 52 players on the active roster. If no one gets hurt and they feel they need him, my guess would be a guy like Ventrone or maybe Baldwin/Moore if one of them is just not helping the team.

      2. I think Jack has it right – guys like Carradine and Dial are really only likely to see the 53 this year if there is an injury prior to the final deadline to activate players from PUP.

        Manningham on the other hand will likely be activated once he’s physically capable.

    2. Sorry Jack, though I find I agree with you most of the time, I just don’t see BJ Daniels making it to that practice squad. If he bombs on Sunday then maybe so but if he has a decent showing then he’s gone before squad.

  45. It’s all about Seattle fellas. Baalke and Co have done a very good job of preparing for that match up. Seattle’s physical corners gave us fits last year. Sherman and Browner like to maul you at the line of scrimmage. Now they have Antoine Winfield who is a smaller version of Ronnie Lott. The good news is, Boldin and Baldwin can handle the physicality of those three guys.
    On the other side of the ball, one reason why we drafted B.J. Daniel’s was to mimic Russell Wilson on scout team. B.J. is a little taller than Wilson but he is a very similar athlete.
    The Niners will be much more prepared for Seattle this year.

  46. iv said it from the day jenkins was drafted to all my buddies that are fellow niner fans we drafted the WRONG jenkins!!! we should have drafted JANORIS JENKINS one of the best CB coming out in that draft despite some of his character issues, and now we gotta deal with him for years to come since he got drafted by the rams :(

  47. kansas city daily planet is reporting that aj jenkins has been lighting up recent chiefs practices………..

    made u look

  48. what happens to the confidence of any starter,
    including one named Kapernicus,
    when a fourth “backup” QB is added to the roster?

    does it feel freakish, Colin?
    Good luck with Minnesota

    -a happy camper in Kansas City

  49. For all the problems with “what if’s” that you folks seem to have, you’re sure like to talk about them. That should be a little clue.

  50. Folkwolf101 says: “If we had selected Aaron Rogers, he’d be out of football by now”
    Deezybee says: “im not sure about that..Rodgers has more will and fire to me…than Alex has..”

    Really? No one, I repeat, no one including “coddled” Aaron Rodgers would have survived the Niner debacle that existed in those years.

    It’s no coincidence that almost ALL sports experts said year after year that Alex would leave the Niners because every other QB would have save just a historical few.

    Folkwolf101, you were right on!

    1. DS – you’re fooling nobody by changing your screen names and praising yourself. Nice try….. now get back to your K.C. blog.

  51. This is the worst kind of writing. Waiting until several drafts have gone by and then cherry picking the best players and saying they could’ve drafted all these great players is the worst cop out a writer can make. Could have had Tom Brady too, if only.

      1. Crab:

        I don’t label ESPN the “worst” because of the opinions expressed on their shows. I label it the worst because so many of those opinions are not arrived at honestly. It’s depressing to see what ESPN has done to Ron Jaworski in recent years.

        Also, I have no use for programming content aimed at the lowest common denominator, and, except for the live games it broadcasts, that’s pretty much all ESPN offers.

      2. C Balls – Thanks for that…..I hate ESPN mostly for the East Coast biased news. Especially the constant Yankees and Red Sox coverage. Sickening man!

      3. ESPN is bad which is why I feel sorry for those that think they are getting the real story there, but it’s the only decent national sports station. Tried watching the SportsCenter equivalent over on FoxSports1 and got through about 5 minutes before all of the silly names, etc started to grate on me.

    1. “Frontline” in particular, and PBS in general, have big cred with me for truth-seeking. That’s really friggin scary to Corporate wonks and their Legal Eagles. Amazed it took that long for them to put the kibosh on a real look at the concussion issue; there are lawsuits involved after all.
      The ESPN merry-go-round about CK was all just froth anyway.

  52. Wow! Left for a few hours and almost 300 comments….nice! I see we’ve moved onto 53-man rosters! Talent-wise…we turned out a little better than we thought we would. I noticed our injuries happened primarily where the most competition happened (WR & CB). In the end, the competition may have served us well.

    Here’s my 53 projection:


    QB (2-3) – Colin Kaepernick, B.J. Daniels, Seneca Wallace (BUBBLE), Colt McCoy (BUBBLE), Scott Tolzien (PS)
    *I actually think there’s a chance that we may only carry two qb’s on the 53 and one on the PS. That would be in order to save room for depth at another crucial positions.


RB (5) – Frank Gore, Kendal Hunter, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Bruce Miller, Jewel Hampton (BUBBLE)
    *Marcus Lattimore (IR all-season)
    **Jewel Hampton may make it to the practice squad, but if he’s ever going to get a spot on the roster, he’s fighting agains Boobie Dixon.


WR (6-7) – Anquan Boldin, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton, Kyle Williams, Jonathan Baldwin, Chad Hall, Austin Collie (BUBBLE), Kassim Osgood (BUBBLE)

    *Crabtree (IR), Manningham (IR/PUP). When these guys come back, we’ll have to see how everyone else is doing at that time before cuts are made.
    **Hall & Collie may be gunning for the same role. Collie is veteran savvy but is an injury risk. Osgood may be spared due to his special teams value. In which case he suits up over Hall on most day

    TE (3) – Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, MarQueis Gray (PS) 

    OL (8) – Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Daniel Kilgore, Adam Snyder, Joe Looney, Kenny Wiggins (PS), Al Netter (PS)

DL (5) – Ray McDonald, Justin Smith, Will Tukuafu, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Demarcus Dobbs (SUS), Lawrence Okoye (PRACTICE SQUAD), Tony Jerod-Eddie (BUBBLE),

    *Tank Carradine (IR). When Tank comes back say by to Dobbs.

OLB (4) – Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier, Parys Haralson

    *This one is cut and dry we take 4 guys with big motors and pass rush ability. I think Haralson will benefit from being a rush specialist instead of an every down player.

    ILB (5) – Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, Dan Skuta (ST)
    *Skuta is primarily a ST ace.


CB (5 – 6) – Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock, Nnamdi Asomugha, Marcus Cooper (BUBBLE).
    *Cooper has the biggest opportunity here. He could possibly make Culliver dispensable. Cully is good and has huge potential, but he hasn’t become a player that we can’t live without. If Cooper plays well and he might find himself with a long-term job due to Rogers’ and Asomugha’s waning abilities.

    S (4-5) – Eric Reid, Donte Whitner, Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman, Bubba Ventrone (BUBBLE), Trenton Robinson (BUBBLE/ST)
    *Darcel McBath (IR)

    **We need special team aces and Ventrone and Robinson fit that bill. Ventrone will probably make the team because of his value there, but Robinson has the potential to leap frog Dahl. If Reid is going to start from day 1, then he better have other value…I don’t think he does so Robinson gets the spot.


Special teams (3): 
Andy Lee (P), Phll Dawson (K), Brian Jennings (LS)

  53. Man, you guys are smokin that good Humboldt on some of the final roster cuts. There’s no way MarQueise Gray makes it to the practice squad. Half the teams in the league will think about claiming him, including one in the northwest that is TE deficient. I also think Daniels will be snatched too. The NFL is a copycat league and some teams will see Daniels as another Russell Wilson, especially if he has a good game come Sunday.

    1. I’m smokin’ the Humboldt but I still agree with you! (Just kidding about the weed.) I’m “high” on both these guys.

    2. Not smoking anything, at least right now. Just going by what seems to happen every year which is fans of a team become enamored with a certain long shot player(s), claim there is no way he can pass through waivers, and then lo and behold he does.

      Gray is playing TE for the first time in his life, doesn’t have ST’s value and doesn’t know how to block yet. How do you come to the conclusion a team will claim him to their 53 man roster? Anything is possible but rarely do you see young UDFA’s get claimed by other teams at final cut down, and the reason is they have the same type of players on their roster they want to keep on the PS. There are only so many spots available.

      If Daniels lights it up over the next two games, I guess there would be a chance a team would take a shot at him for their #3 QB spot, but it’s very unlikely with how raw he is and the fact any team that claims him pretty much has to redshirt him for the year due to him not having time or practice snaps to learn the offense.

      Players like this have more value to their own teams than others because there is no time for them to get acclimated to a new system. Most teams need every spot on the 53 man roster to contribute.

      1. Fakia, no doubt that odds favor their passing through. But with them we are talking about not just good athletes. They are super good and could very start next year, don’t you think? Anyway, I do and think it’s too risky.

      2. George,

        You have to keep it in perspective. Gray has improved according to reports but he’s raw as a TE. He’s not making any impact in preseason so far and has to learn the position before they can trust him to play in games that matter.

        Hey I love the kids talent too but you can’t put somebody on the field who doesn’t know what they are doing. This is what the PS is for.

    3. Ditto e Ditto. Daniels and Gray will be gone for reasons RPM gives and also because they are multi facited players with lots of potential. Weight them for special teams if nothing else.

  54. Hey Grant, I’ve got a great idea! Why don’t we play the… “How the Grant Cohn mistake affected everyone’s football I.Q. the past two years.” If Daddy didn’t get sonny a job we would have a writer that actually knows what he’s talking about. If sonny got a job that he earned, we might have cleaner streets. If we had cleaner streets, we wouldn’t have to smell all of the garbage. If we didn’t have to smell all of the garbage, we would be able to breathe easier and go to football games. If we go to football games, we would learn more about them.
    You single handedly lowered the intelligence level of all football fans by not taking that street cleaner job. Do us all a big favor and beg for that job. You’d be doing so much more for all of us uneducated sports fans. We might actually learn some from time to time, which is not something we get reading your dribble.

  55. Cohn, get off the fleener nonsense. A he isn’t that good, McDonald is better. B whose to say they would not have taken another wr. C they had 2 TE already and wr was a biggest need. Such a waste of time article.

    1. +1. Grant’s remarks about that trade had to be meant to spark a response. Baalke was given an amazing opportunity and didn’t flinch.

  56. FAKIA, Here is the scoop on Gray. It’s a league where TE’s, especially young, good ones are at a premium. The DNA of the league has shifted in that direction. You seem like a smart guy, so I’ll skip names.

    If you’ve been reading Grant, Maiocco, Branch and Barrows, you’ll likely have noticed that Gray has probably been the most improved player in camp since it’s opened. He went from having the dropsies at OTAs to being one of the most sure-handed receivers in camp. Even the normally poker faced Roman has noted is quantum leaping.

    This is a guy that’s 6’4, 245 and runs a 4.6 forty. He played quarterback at UofM which means he has some value beyond merely being a TE. I doubt that the Niners would ever use him at QB, but he’s always available in an emergency, which would allow the Niners to only carry two, game day QBs. Now they normally do this anyway, but a guy that plays TE and played QB at a Big-Ten school is a value add for any roster.

    Celek can block. Great. I can find you dozens of guys that can block at that position. The Billy Bajema’s of the league are a dime-a-dozen.

    Blocking can be learned.

    Outstanding athleticism can’t.

    1. I concur…would like to see him on the roster and Collie too. I just have a hunch Collie will be a guy that can get open over the middle and be an outlet for Kap. I mean with VD, VM, Q, Gore, and Kap to account for the extra WR is not going to get a lot of attention and Collie has proven he can find holes in the D. Same goes for KW, Moore, and Baldwin but Collie has more experience and is 100% healthy now according to him.

    2. RPM,

      In order to play TE in this league and especially this offense, you have to be able to block. You are correct in that it appears Gray has improved his pass catching ability, but that was never really in question. They knew about his athleticism when they signed him. The key is how long would it take for him to complete a transformation to TE, and unless he makes an immaculate improvement in the next two weeks, I can’t see the Niners keeping him on the active roster at the expense of somebody who could help on ST’s.

      As I said, anything is possible and he’s definitely got talent, but players like Gray who are more athletes learning a position, don’t usually take a roster spot. You put them on the PS so they can develop. Just to put it in perspective for you, so far in preseason Gray has one catch for 13 yards. Know where that puts him on the list of TE’s around the league so far? Tied for 69th. Somehow I don’t think other teams are going crazy over the kid right now.

      Let’s put it this way, any team that claims him does so knowing he is raw as a TE having never played it before, has to drop another player to put him on the roster and does so knowing he has no ST’s value. In time he could become a good TE and ST’s player, but he isn’t there right now and that is why you put him on the PS.

      1. FAKIA
        There are really two questions to ask concerning talents like Gray and Daniels. You asked the first but the second you need to also ask. Will they clear to make the practice squad.
        Gray might because he is still a blip on the radar. But Daniels put his skills on display the other day for all to see. I would suggest if he even has an average performance on Sunday he will not clear the wire.

  57. Based on some of the comments about him on here this offseason, is anyone else stunned that Ricardo Lockette cleared waivers unclaimed?

    1. Quite the fall from grace – there was a time folks were saying he could be a starting WR for us this season…

    2. He was all hype and no substance partially generated by Harbaugh himself. The guy has great measurables that don’t translate to his performance.

  58. Since Baalke seems to be in a trading mood this offseason how about calling up Oakland and seeing if Pryor would be an option?

    1. He’s definitely a poor man’s Kap. I’m not sure Oakland’s ready to give him up, since Matt Flynn probably isn’t good enough to keep him from getting snaps. I could see the Raiders running some option stuff with Pryor to throw a change-up at defenses.

      1. None that I know of, but they only have 7 picks next year and could certainly use more, while the 49ers have a few they could use. Send them a couple of picks and Tolzien.

    1. Glad that Griff Whalen has had a good camp. Hope it translates to the regular season for the Colts. At Stanford, he was overshadowed by the other Whalen, Ryan Whalen, until his senior year.

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