A look at the players the 49ers did (and didn’t) draft in 2016

Here are the 49ers’ 2016 draft picks, as well as the notable players the team passed over with each selection.

Round 1, Pick 7: DeForest Buckner, DE.

Notable players who were available:

  • Jack Conklin, OT, Pick 8, Tennessee Titans
  • Leonard Floyd, OLB, Pick 9, Chicago Bears
  • Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State, Pick 10, New York Giants
  • Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, PIck 11, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Laremy Tunsil, OT, Pick 13, Miami Dolphins
  • Shaq Lawson, OLB, Pick 19, Buffalo Bills
  • Darron Lee, ILB, Pick 20, New York Jets
  • Josh Doctson, WR, Pick 22, Washington Redskins.
  • Laquon Treadwell, WR, Pick 23, Minnesota Vikings
  • William Jackson III, CB, Pick 24, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Paxton Lynch, QB, Pick 26, Denver Broncos

Round 1, Pick 28: Joshua Garnett, G.

Notable players who were available:

  • Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Pick 30, Arizona Cardinals
  • Vernon Butler, DE, Pick 31, Carolina Panthers
  • Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB, Pick 32, Cleveland Browns
  • Kevin Dodd, OLB, Pick 33, Tennessee Titans
  • Jaylon Smith, ILB, Pick 34, Dallas Cowboys
  • Myles Jack, ILB, Pick 36, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Chris Jones, DE, Pick 37, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Xavien Howard, CB, Pick 38, Miami Dolphins
  • Noah Spence, OLB, Pick 39, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Sterling Shepard, WR, Pick 40, New York Giants
  • Reggie Ragland, ILB, Pick 41, Buffalo Bills
  • Kamalei Correa, OLB, Pick 42, Baltimore Ravens
  • Deion Jones, ILB, Pick 52, Atlanta Falcons
  • Su’a Cravens, ILB/S, Pick 53, Washington Redskins
  • Tyler Boyd, WR, Pick 55, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Cody Whitehair, G, Pick 56, Chicago Bears

Round 3, Pick 68: Will Redmond, CB.

Notable players who were available:

  • Yannick Ngakoue, OLB, Pick 69, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Kenyan Drake, RB, Pick 73, Miami Dolphins
  • KeiVarae Russell, CB, Pick 74, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Shilique Calhoun, OLB, Pick 75, Oakland Raiders
  • Shon Coleman, OT, Pick 76, Cleveland Browns
  • Daryl Worley, CB, Pick 77, Carolina Panthers
  • Kendall Fuller, CB, Pick 84, Washington Redskins
  • Braxton Miller, WR, Pick 85, Houston Texans
  • Leonte Carroo, WR, Pick 86, Miami Dolphins
  • Nick Vigil, ILB, Pick 87, Cincinnati Bengals
  • C.J. Prosise, RB, Pick 90, Seattle Seahawks
  • Brandon Williams, CB, Pick 92, Arizona Cardinals
  • Connor Cook, QB, Pick 100, Oakland Raiders
  • Tavon Young, CB, Pick 104, Baltimore Ravens
  • Eric Murray, CB, Pick 106, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Ryan Smith, CB, Pick 108, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • B.J. Goodson, ILB, Pick 109, New York Giants
  • Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, Pick 113, Chicago Bears
  • De’Vondre Campbell, ILB, Pick 115, Atlanta Falcons
  • Juston Burris, CB, Pick 118, New York Jets
  • Tyler Ervin, RB, Pick 119, Houston Texans
  • Andrew Billings, NT, Pick 122, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Antonio Morrison, ILB, Pick 125, Indianapolis Colts
  • Demarcus Robinson, WR, Pick 126, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Deiondre’ Hall, CB, Pick 127, Chicago Bears
  • Blake Martinez, ILB, Pick 131, Green Bay Packers


Round 4, Pick 133: Rashard Robinson, CB.

Notable players who were available:

  • Kenneth Dixon, RB, Pick 134, Baltimore Ravens
  • Dak Prescott, QB, Pick 135, Dallas Cowboys
  • Devontae Booker, RB, Pick 136, Denver Broncos
  • Dean Lowry, DE, Pick 137, Green Bay Packers
  • Cardale Jones, QB, Pick 139, Buffalo Bills
  • Zack Sanchez, CB, Pick 141, Carolina Panthers

Round 5, Pick 142: Ronald Blair, DE.

Notable players who were available:

  • DeAndre Washington, RB, Pick 143, Oakland Raiders
  • Connor McGovern, G, Pick 144, Denver Broncos

Round 5, Pick 145: John Theus, OT.

Notable players who were available:

  • Quinton Jefferson, DT, Pick 147, Seattle Seahawks
  • Caleb Benenoch, OT, Pick 148, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Paul Perkins, RB, Pick 149, New York Giants
  • Jordan Howard, RB, Pick 150, Chicago Bears
  • Wendell Smallwood, RB, Pick 153, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Joe Haeg, OT, Pick 155, Indianapolis Colts
  • Jonathan Williams, RB, Pick 156, Buffalo Bills
  • Brandon Shell, OT, Pick 158, New York Jets
  • Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Pick 160, Minnesota Vikings
  • Kevin Hogan, QB, Pick 162, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, Pick 164, Philadelphia Eagles
  • D.J. Reader, NT, Pick 166, Houston Texans
  • Cole Toner, OT, Pick 170, Arizona Cardinals
  • Alex Collins, RB, Pick 171, Seattle Seahawks
  • Rashard Higgins, WR, Pick 172, Cleveland Browns


Round 5, Pick 174: Fahn Cooper, OT.

Notable players who were available:

  • Jatavis Brown, ILB, Pick 175, San Diego Chargers
  • Moritz Boehringer, WR, Pick 180, Minnesota Vikings
  • Tyrone Holmes, ILB, Pick 181, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Keenan Reynolds, RB, Pick 182, Baltimore Ravens
  • Devante Bond, ILB, Pick 183, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Jerell Adams, TE, Pick 184, New York Giants
  • Josh Forrest, ILB, Pick 190, Los Angeles Rams
  • Cory James, ILB, Pick 194, Oakland Raiders
  • Kyle Murphy, OT, Pick 200, Green Bay Packers
  • Dadi Nicolas, OLB, Pick 203, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Mike Thomas, WR, Pick 206, Los Angeles Rams

Round 6, Pick 207: Jeff Driskel, QB.

Notable players who were available:

  • Kamu Grugier-Hill, ILB, Pick 208, New England Patriots
  • Maurice Canady, CB, Pick 209, Baltimore Ravens

Round 6, Pick 211: Kelvin Taylor, RB.

Notable player who was available:

  • Kavon Frazier, CB, Pick 212, Dallas Cowboys

Round 6, Pick 213: Aaron Burbridge, WR.

Notable players who were available:

  • Elandon Roberts, ILB, Pick 214, New England Patriots
  • Darius Jackson, RB, Pick 216, Dallas Cowboys
  • Travis Feeney, ILB, Pick 220, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Aaron Wallace, OLB, Pick 222, Tennessee Titans
  • Devin Lucien, WR, Pick 225, New England Patriots
  • DeMarcus Ayers, WR, Pick 229, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Daniel Braverman, WR, Pick 230, Chicago Bears
  • Thomas Duarte, TE, Pick 231, Miami Dolphins
  • Steven Daniels, ILB, Pick 232, Washington Redskins
  • Dwayne Washington, RB, Pick 236, Detroit Lions
  • Daniel Lasco, RB, Pick 237, New Orleans Saints
  • Trevor Bates, ILB, Pick 239, Indianapolis Colts
  • Charone Peaker, WR, Pick 241, New York Jets
  • Keith Marshall, RB, Pick 242, Washington Redskins
  • Kenny Lawler, WR, Pick 243, Seattle Seahawks
  • Tyler Matakevich, ILB, Pick 246, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Zac Brooks, RB, Pick 247, Seattle Seahawks


Round 7, Pick 249: Prince Charles Iworah, CB.

Notable player who was available:

  • Scooby Wright III, ILB, Pick 250, Cleveland Browns
  • Kalan Reed, CB, Pick 253, Tennessee Titans


Which picks would you consider the best values, which would you consider the biggest reaches given the players who were available at the time and which players would you have drafted in retrospect? Here are the players I would have picked:

Pick 7: Jack Conklin, OT.

Pick 28: Vernon Butler, DE.

Pick 68: Shilique Calhoun, OLB.

Pick 133: Zack Sanchez, CB.

Pick 142: Connor McGovern, OG.

Pick 145: Paul Perkins, RB.

Pick 174: Moritz Boehringer, WR.

Pick 207: Jeff Driskel, QB.

Pick 211: Aaron Wallace, OLB.

Pick 213: Steven Daniels, ILB.

Pick 249: Kalan Reed, CB.

This article has 94 Comments

    1. Heard analyst say he is too slow. Of course, every year they say that about 80% of LB’s, yet somehow a bunch of them start.

  1. I thought Cooper was a reach given Boehringer was still on the board. Barring that, I thought Baalke did what he needed to do. Obtain 3 starters with his first three picks….

    1. Yeah, would have preferred the German to another ho-hum tackle from SEC. Won’t be surprised at all to see Kyle Murphy have a longer and more productive career with the Packers than Cooper.

      1. I would say the chances of the German making Vikes is less than zero. Less than Hayne for sure. The guy is going from a club team to the NFL. I don’t car how fast or big he is, that’s a ridiculous leap.

    2. Mike Tanier on the Cooper pick. Oh well……:

      “San Francisco 49ers: Fahn Cooper, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss. The 49ers appear to be opting for safe, low-downside players to fill out their offensive line. Can you blame them?

      Cooper started his college career at Bowling Green but wanted to play for a major program. He transferred to College of DuPage to go the JUCO route, attracting Ole Miss in the process. He considered entering last year’s draft but thought he was playing too heavy to impress the NFL. So Cooper slimmed down and wound up at left tackle for the Rebels during Laremy Tunsil’s suspension. Cooper is a determined, high-effort-and-character player who lacks starting-caliber power or agility. It’s the typical profile for a backup guard-tackle at the NFL level (see Avery Young and John Theus).

      If you are wondering, College of DuPage is located in Illinois, and its sports teams are the Chaparrals, which sounds like a 1960s girl group but is actually some kind of bird. These Day 3 lineman scouting reports can get a little monotonous, folks. Grade: B-“

      1. Yea, that’s what kind of ticked me off. You’ve got the potential that is Boehringer sitting there for the taking, and you adhere to an inflexible philosophy and opt for the safe backup….

  2. Here are the picks I would have made in retrospect:

    Pick 7: Jack Conklin, OT
    Pick 28: Vernon Butler, DE
    Pick 68: Shilique Calhoun, OLB
    Pick 133: Zach Sanchez, CB
    Pick 142: Connor McGovern, OG
    Pick 145: Paul Perkins, RB
    Pick 174: Moritz Boehringer, WR
    Pick 207: Jeff Driskel, QB
    Pick 211: Aaron Wallace, OLB
    Pick 213: Steven Daniels, ILB
    Pick 249: Kalan Reed, CB

    1. Yea, I think Mr. Insignificant will be Mr. Significant when it’s all said and done. He’s a player….

    2. You are sticking with Driskel. Good call.

      Fact is, his senior tape (take any game) is as good as any QB in the draft. Had he played at La Tech 4 years we would be having a different conversation (like, why didn’t we move into first round to grab him?). Decisions and circumstances put this kid in the 6th, not talent, ability or potential.

      I am good with all the naysayers and history is on their side. However, rarely, if ever, do you get someone with his ceiling, skill set and tape in the 6th round. Kelly and Baalke aren’t gushing because they’re completely stupid (though close). They are gushing because they think they just fleeced the rest of the league. We shall see come camp.

      First time in two years I am pumped about this team. Solid draft.

    3. ( 7)Buckner DE;(28)Myles Jack ILB;(68)A.Billings NT;
      (133)K.Dixon RB;(142) Connor McGovern OG;(145) K.Hogan QB;
      (174)Dadi Nicholas OLB;(207)Steven Daniels LB;
      ;(211)C.Peake WR;(213)Kalan Reed CB;(249)Vernon Adams QB-using that list (w/Addition of V A)

    4. Clearly they are putting their faith in Eli Harold and Tank Carradine to improve the past rush significantly. I guess they also really like Gerald Hodges or plan on tartt being an ILB.

  3. I think Kelly had a significant influence on the draft picks — most notably the OL selections starting with Garnett. Whether he was right or not in his evaluations, we’ll find out in the next year or two. I also think he influenced the QB pick and probably others — maybe all. I think the picks were not simple Baalke’s but collaborative selections. I think they did OK. We’ll see how they fit with Kelly’s system.

  4. Grant what is your over all opinion of the niners class. I gave them an A. Thos pans out our D and O line will be much better.

  5. Grant, this is a great format.

    7 DeForest Buckner – Fine

    28 Joshua Garnett – Fine, but not painless

    68 Will Redmond – Ouch. Redmond better turn out to be good. Passed on Kwiatkoski, Billings, Irvin, Prosise, Cook.

    142 Ronald Blair – Fine. Love his film. Stiff. Not a great 3-cone. But attitude is huge. He’s going to kill QBs.

    145 John Theus – Hogan, or Jonathan Williams (my ACL draft-n-stash for 2017 favorite)

    207 Jeff Driskel – Fine. If not Hogan, then Driskel as a long term developmental project.

    213 Aaron Burbridge – Lasco would have been my pick

    249 – Prince Charles Iworah – Scooby would have been my pick.

    I can’t judge the players we got. I need to see more video of them. But my my draft

    7 DeForest Buckner
    28 Joshua Garnett
    68 Andrew Billings
    142 Ronald Blair
    145 Kevin Hogan – or Jonathan Williams
    207 Jeff Driskel – if Williams at 145
    213 Darius Jackson – Fast, powerful, decisive. A perfect ZBS runner.
    249 Scooby Wright

    Swing OT is the big missing piece. Otherwise would have been very happy with this group.

    1. Grant, by “this is a great format”, I mean your column is a great way to show Baalke’s decision tree. I’ll save this for future reference.

    2. To me, the first two picks are both potential pro-bowlers. Buckner, likely All-Pro caliber. Picks 3-4 are high risk and high reward. Probably not the smartest picks considering our situation, but if they pan out, epic draft. To me, this becomes historical draft, if Driskel becomes long-term starter. I know it’s unlikely, but I don’t know of any 6th round QBs who have come out with an iota of the talent/ability this kid has. That includes, Brady and Hasselbeck.

      In my mind, this is either going to be a two or three person sh*t draft, or a future building draft. nothing in-between.

    3. I actually do consider the price to move up painless. Rounds 1 through 3 are the building blocks of the team. Round 4 through 7 are flyers that aren’t expected (by real professionals) to contribute more than as spot-starters unless you get really lucky.

      (One of the reason for Team ACL. May as well try to leverage-in a high-round, but injured talent by redshirting him than pick a guy who will almost certainly fail anyway.)

      At the beginning of 2014 (Day 1, non-injury replacement starters):

      There were 64 starters (2 per team), in the NFL, that were selected in Round 4. Most are poor starters doomed to be replaced. They started, on average, 5.5 games in the first five years of their career.

      There were 38 starters (just over 1 per team), in the NFL, that were selected in Round 5. Most are poor starters doomed to be replaced. They started, on average, 3.5 games in the first five years of their career.

      There were 29 starters (less than 1 per team), in the NFL, that were selected in Round 6. Most are poor starters doomed to be replaced. They, on average, started 2 games in the first five years of their career.

      There were 25 starters (less than 1 per team), in the NFL, that were selected in Round 7. Most are poor starters doomed to be replaced. None of them started a game in the first five years of their career (but managed to hold on long enough to get some starts).

      In short, virtually all those players were roster filler doomed to fail. Baalke knew this. I knew this. Most every GM knows this. Most every coach knows this. Most anyone who ever actually studied the draft knows this.

      Then we have fans and the press who never go back and really study the draft and it’s results. So they think every Day 3 player is the next Richard Sherman, Tom Brady, etc. They’re not. They’re guys who’ll likely be cut in 3 years or less.

      The bottom-line is that teams are built around players drafted through Rounds 1 through 3. (60% of all starters.) Further, starters from lower rounds are virtually always churned by teams because they’re simply not that good.

      So I honestly don’t think the price was much.

  6. I still would’ve taken tunsil over Buckner but whatever. We got Buckner cool. But to trade up for Garnett was plain stupid. If it was up to me I would’ve stood pat at 37 and took Ragland. Then maybe trade back into second for whitehair or Mackensie Alexander. Would’ve rather got one very good corner than 3 scrubs, two of which haven’t started more than 8 games.

    1. The pass blocking issues are troubling. You can have a run first offense but the question is what comes second. If we can’t protect our passers I’m afraid it’s run first then punt. No doubt we took some players that might develop very nicely over time, but in the NFL you have got to put some fear in defenses that you can pass the ball when you need to. I like Burbridge but we have some pretty good WRs now and the problem has been not being able to get them the ball. The SF 49ers with out a top flight passing attack is like … who are those guys? They say you can take a boy out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the boy. Well I say they took the 49ers out of the City and they also took the City out of our team.

  7. Grant you might have already posted this but I missed it. What overall grade do you give Baalke for this years draft? I give him a B with the chance to move up to an A if Redmond and or Robinson become starters.

  8. I give this draft a B to B+ grade. Loved alot of the picks, not crazy about a few of them. Definitely wanted us to grab Kwiatkowski in the 3rd or 4th. He was there. Grant – I can’t say there are alot of players I truly wanted over the picks we made. Other then Kwiatkowski and maybe Bullard in the 3rd. I thought the Bears 3rd and 4th selections were better then their first 2. Anyways – think we truly improved in the area of “interior” pass rush with the selections of Buckner and Blair. Pair those guys with Armstead and Q.Dial/Ian Williams, we are going to cause some issues for o-lineman. Still think we need another solid draft of skill players but this wasn’t the year to do that. It all starts up front and we added some attitude on both the o-line & d-line.

    1. Blair is by far my favorite day 3 pick. Baalke said he’d be a nickle package player playing up and down the line.

      He hits gaps with very low pad level. Imagine an offensive lineman battling the tall Bucksteads playing 2-gap when all the sudden Blair slices low 1-gap style. I also think he’d be good in TE stunts, lining up outside the tackle, then charging inside.

      What’s nice about Blair is when teams try to run at the nickle he has the power to hold point, stack and shed. 32 bench reps was 2nd among D linemen.

        1. Baalke said all 4 positions in the nickle package, like he did in college.

          I think his most common spot will be Justin’s spot on pass downs. 3-Tech (is that right?) https://cbschicago.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/fangio-3.png

          But if Buckner and Armstead are shining as inside pass rushers, (and Tank is coming along) he will rotate with Harold, Caradine opposite Lynch. (Lemonier gets cut)

          Cosell mentioned Buckner has the athleticism to rush from the outside in a wide 9. If that’s the case, he will be in Justin’s spot for sure.

          If Tank and Eli are coming along, we will suddenly have really good pass rush rotational depth.

          1. To be clear, I’m not suggesting O’Neil will install Fangio’s defense. Juts using the example to note pass down alignments.

  9. This draft strategy for me is an indicator that the Niners are not in a rebuild mode. They are in amidst a new build mode. Explains all the defensive picks and o-line picks. Don’t need skill players till the defense can defend and the offense can block and protect. I only have one objection to a draft pick and it has nothing to do with skill level or when he was picked. I liked the strategy of the draft, the players eh – TBD.

      1. HT – pretty much. couple the draft with a new type of offensive philosophy I don’t see a rebuild. If it was a rebuild I think the draft would of been more diversified in terms of different types of positions drafted. Its just my thinking anyhow.

  10. 7. DeForest Buckner, DE
    28. Myles Jack, ILB
    68. Le’Raven Clark, OT
    133. Kenneth Dixon, RB
    142. Ronald Blair, DE
    145. Christian Westerman, OG
    174. Jerrell Adams, TE
    207. Jeff Driskel, QB
    211. Charone Peak, WR
    213. Aaron Wallace, OLB
    249. Kalan Reed, CB

  11. G.M. CFC would have made the first 5 picks like this:

    #7: Laremy Tunsil OL
    #37: Reggie Ragland ILB
    #68: Shilque Calhoun OLB
    #105: Pharoh Cooper WR
    #133: Dak Prescott QB

  12. I find the coulda, shoulda, woulda after draft party only ever shows a draft in a negative light. When making each selection they have no way of knowing who will be available at their next pick, so optimising a draft after the fact isn’t really genuine.

    Fair enough to argue the merits of individual picks compared to others available at that time, but given we should expect at best half of these picks to pan out I think a philosophy of going hard at a few key holes makes sense. And no way should they have taken Conklin over the best player available at pick 7.

        1. Buckner is very good. I just think Conklin is a little better, plus he would have filled a bigger need.

          1. Well, we’ve had quite a few conversations over the past few months about whether the DL was a great need or not. Needless to say, I still think it was very much a big need area, and am happy they took Buckner!

          1. Cool, look forward to it.

            And thanks for your efforts over the draft weekend Grant. You must be sleep deprived now!

    1. I find the coulda, shoulda, woulda after draft party only ever shows a draft in a negative light. When making each selection they have no way of knowing who will be available at their next pick, so optimising a draft after the fact isn’t really genuine.

      True but now that the draft is over we need another topic to rant about until we get some mini camp reports ;)

      1. Ha, true!

        I find this something of another pet peeve of mine though. Mostly when it is done years after the fact and everyone knows who the good players were, to then go back and say “oh look who we could have had” just isn’t looking at the draft with a clear lense. A couple of days after we at least don’t have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight as to who will pan out.

        I guess when I judge how a draft went I mostly try and look at who they got, not who they could have had. I still have my moments of lamenting players missed out on, but really the draft should be considered in terms of who they got. This year, they went multiple on DL, OL and CB, three of the teams biggest needs, in an attempt to fix these areas. Can’t say I’m enamoured with all the players they chose at these positions (I don’t like Robinson’s off field issues, and neither Theus or Cooper do much for me), but I understand the philosophy behind building the lines and the two CBs they got in the 3rd and 4th round were good value talent wise (despite Robinson’s off field issues, on field wise he has talent worthy of better than the 4th round).

        1. Scooter,

          I agree it’s disingenuous to look back and redo a draft based on what you know now.

          I think other than the fact I didn’t agree with the direction Baalke went at times, the main thing that bothered me was it seems like the same draft we’ve seen before. Almost like this is an attempt at a makeup for previous failures. This looks a lot like 2014 part two. Baalke seems to have a formula or a hard line view of what and where he will draft certain positions. The problem is over the past 5 years it’s failed miserably. One of the reasons why we are seeing more picks thrown at the same positions is that haven’t panned out from two years ago. I just see so much incompetence here and can’t figure out how he’s kept his job with the record he’s had.

          1. Sure, that’s a fair assessment of Baalke. He’s not done a good job the past few years. It may be some of these guys are late bloomers, and may be the previous CS didn’t get the best out of them. But it is frustrating that the OL they drafted in 2014 at least one hasn’t progressed to full time starter status. Martin has started a fair bit I guess, but hasn’t done enough with those chances to lock a spot down.

            And with the CBs, obviously they took a lot of them in 2014 and we now have 3 more. Of those guys taken in 2014, Ward is the only one that has locked down a starting spot. And sounds like he will be moved back to safety long term. However, of the other 3 CBs they took, they were 4th, 5th and 6th round picks, and two of them have earned significant playing time. They are good depth guys at worst. They just haven’t found any top notch starters. Expecting a top notch starter out of late round picks is asking a lot. One can argue the same for a 3rd and 4th rounder this year, but both guys are described as having talent beyond the round they were taken.

            I also think the CBs taken in 2014 were drafted to fit a certain type of D. One that plays mostly off coverage, and provides help to the CBs. Fangio’s D. You can get by with decent CBs in such a D. O’Neil doesn’t run the same type of D, and needs different types of CBs. Its not so much about correcting a mistake in who they drafted (as I don’t think they made a mistake in who they drafted – Ward, Johnson and Acker all have proven valuable), but about a switch in style. I may be off base here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Johnson moved to more of a safety role this year, while Acker will compete for an outside CB role once again.

            1. Since Baalke has stated that he doesn’t see ILB as a top need, it seems likely that Tarrt will play a hybrid ILB/S role.

              I don’t blame Baalke for MM; he was the top rated center that year in the draft. Thomas was the guy that stopped Clowney. On the surface, these seemed like high value middle round picks, imo.

              1. Baalke not only stated he didn’t see ILB as a big need, he went so far as to confirm Tartt will be used in the ILB/SS hybrid role again this year.

                And given Johnson played that role when Tartt moved to SS for Bethea last year, and did it pretty well, I think Johnson will be looked at to play that type of role again this year (basically a safety/ nickel back that can play up at the LOS as needed). Versatile players.

              2. Exactly. I’m also wondering if we will see a shift in how the DL plays. As I understand it, a traditional 3-4 has the DL mostly routing running plays to the LBs to stop; because the DL primarily have 2 gap assignments. With Buckner and Armstead, perhaps the plan now is to do less of that in favor of having the DL do most of the run stopping. Seems like more gap penetration might be needed. Would a 3-4 Under accomplish that?

              3. I would need someone else to confirm this, but my belief is O’Neil likes to have his DL play a more penetrating style than Mangini did, using a hybrid of 2 and 1 gapping DL (i.e., one side of the line may play 2 gap on one play, the other 1 gap).

              4. Yeah. And in base 3-4 D that may well be what O’Neil does. Buckner, Armstead, Dial, Williams and Dorsey are all used to playing 2-gaps in base D, or can play 1-gap. Will be interesting to see what they do.

            2. We’ll see, but what continues to stand out is the lack of top end talent this team has. We can talk about late picks not traditionally panning out percentage wise, but there has to be some gems pulled out of the amount of picks they have accumulated, or all you are doing is churning every couple of years replacing average players with other average players.

              The CB’s taken in 2014 were also described as being better than where they were drafted. We’ve been down this road before. I understand there is a difference in philosophy but you also have to play with what you have and make it work. A big part of being a Coach is figuring out what your players do best and creating a system that suits what that is. Trying to overhaul to play a defense you aren’t suited for personnel wise leads to pretty poor results. What is always true is that pressure can even the playing field in a hurry which is why I thought they needed to focus more on pass rushers.

              1. O’Neil’s D isn’t completely foreign to what they’ve done in the past though. It is just more aggressive, and requires DBs to play a more physical brand of coverage. The biggest change is going to be in terms of what the CBs and safeties are asked to do.

                No point signing a DC and hamstringing him by not giving him the players he needs for his type of D to work.

                As far as pass rush goes, we’ve covered this already, but I see a team that did upgrade its pass rush. Brooks, Buckner, 2nd year (i.e., stronger and hopefully better) Armstead, Lynch as the starting 4, with 2nd year (i.e. stronger and hopefully better) Harold, a more explosive Tank, Blair, Dial, Williams and Dorsey as guys that can rotate in. That is a pretty good pass rushing unit. Sure, it’s not on the same scale as the Broncos or Rams (unless Buckner and Armstead are dominant), but should be much better than last year.

              2. How do we know the current CB’s can’t play that style though? The new Coaching staff is just now starting to get on the field with them and a guy like Johnson seems to fit that style. They had a lot of young CB’s on this team already and most are just now going into their second full year after dealing with injuries. Why draft 3 more around the same area – at least for two of them – you drafted the previous guys?

                Again we’ll have to agree to disagree on the pass rush because I see a lot of hopefully’s in that statement and most of the players they will be relying on are the same ones they suffered with last year.

              3. “Most of the players they will be relying on are the same ones they suffered with last year.”

                Unless they spent 3 or 4 picks on pass rushers that was always going to be the case. They spent two picks upgrading the pass rush. Not bad imo.

                And we don’t know if the current CBs can’t play that style. But when they were drafted it was based on fit with a different scheme (unless one believes Baalke cares nought for scheme when drafting, which based on what he says is not the case). Ideally the guys they drafted in 2014 keep improving and are good enough to start or be key backups in the new system.

              4. Lol. Again we are fundamentally at odds here mate. You think they did enough to help the pass rush, I did not. We’ll see where it ends up, but I hope you are right.

              5. To be honest, I think that is actually our main point of difference. If you believed they had addressed the pass rush I am betting you wouldn’t be as concerned about missing out on an ILB, and would think a lot more highly of this draft.

  13. Ha ha, You really opened up the second guessing floodgates with this topic Grant.

    Using your list and a few of my own, my draft would have gone like this:

    Laremy Tunsil
    Myles Jack
    Shilique Calhoun
    Devontae Booker
    Ronald Blair
    Caleb Benenoch
    Jerell Adams
    Kevin Seymour
    Kenny Lawler
    Jayron Kearse
    Prince Iworah

      1. Mood,

        Very punny.

        I’m sticking to the opinion I’ve held all offseason: Buckner is a very good player, but he’s almost an exact replica of the guy we took in the first round last year and I don’t subscribe to drafting the same player in round one two years in a row. Tunsil was a shot at an elilte LT prospect imo and video or not, he was worth the pick right there.

  14. I like Burbridge as an over-the-middle, get you the tough 10-15 yard completion. Solid pick for the 6th round.

  15. I see a fair amount of lamenting regarding Baalke not drafting an ILB. Below is a repost of a post I made yesterday. The reason is that Baalke does not see ILB as a top need.


    May 1, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Grant asked Baalke a question about why the team didn’t pick an ILB. Grant noted that both Willis and Borland were gone and why didn’t the team address this top need. Baalke responded with, “who said it is was the top need on the team”. See the 14:55 mark of the link below.


    1. Cubus,

      Seems like that was said in jest and he went back to the old reasoning of the board didn’t fall that way.

      Whatever the case, I think they are in deep deep trouble if they suffer even one injury to the position they are so thin. The depth they have isn’t very good to begin with.

  16. Rocket:

    I thought it was a good question from Grant and am also concerned about the ILB position (or “room” as Baalke likes to call it). But I do not think it was in jest. While it is true that everyone laughed, once the laughter died down, Baalke said “I respectfully disagree”. Then he went on with, as you say, the old reasoning.

    1. I respectfully .disagree with him. He is in a world of trouble if there are any injuries at that spot. Teams took advantage of our ILB’s and hybrids in the run and pass last year. Nothing has changed personnel wise other than adding another couple of big bodies up front.

      1. Rocket,

        I agree with you on the the trouble the 49ers are in if they have an injury to an ILB, but look at the Seahawks. What’s their outlook if they lose Wagner or one of their safeties? IMO, their defense becomes pretty average. That’s what happened last year, anyway. This is pretty true for every NFL team, at most positions. It’s very rare that a team has really strong backups at more than a couple of positions. It’s just reality.

    2. I kind of understand the strategy of having a player (Tarrt) who can play both safety and hopefully, LB. Our LBs got killed with passes over the middle last year. It was almost embarrassing. So this could be a good strategy, if you can find the right players. I’m wondering if a legitimate concern is how well will Tarrt hold up from the pounding of stopping the run over an entire season. I suspect they will limit him to the ILB/S role during what seems like obvious passing situations. But there are no guarantees on what plays the other team will call.

      1. Cubus,

        That is why you don’t see every team playing DB’s at the LB position. It’s also why athletic ILB’s are so valuable. Maybe Scooter is right and Tartt has bulked up, but that could also have unintended consequences in terms of speed and fluidity. Whether Baalke agrees or not, ILB was a big time need and still is.

        1. “Whether Baalke agrees or not, ILB was a big time need and still is.” I like your reasoning Rocket. I’m not trying to be negative but compared to Baalke, Harbaugh was more forthcoming with his answers. Everything Baalke says must be viewed through the lens of, does that guy ever tell the truth? With the 49ers now you must believe only what you see and NONE of what you hear. Grant has to ask him questions and he has to write down the answers because it’s his job. The rest of us don’t!

      2. We traded for Gerald Hodges in October of last year. He was a former safety who converted to OLB then was shifted inside to MLB by the Vikings. He’s not the best run defender, is a poor pass-rusher, but is a good pass defense ILB.

        He didn’t play last year because getting here in October left him not knowing the defense and little time to learn it. Also, the old coaching staff refused to take chances on young/new players unless forced to at gunpoint.

        I’d guess he wins the starting ILB job next to Bowman this year. But we’ll see.

  17. It is factual that Baalke has redo his efforts in the following areas due to poor drafting that has created a shortage at the following starting and backup positions (required for depth):
    1. RB 2. LB 3. CB 4. QB 5. DT 6. DE 7. WR 8. TE 9. OL. The Sheer numbers are so large when typed this way to simply look at this train wreck is astounding. Baalke better hope his picks work out this time and that Chip is the second coming of the genius or he’s gone!

    1. 1. We have 7 RBs.

      2. We traded for an ILB last year. In October. Got here too late to do much, but he was a starter in Minnesota and excels in coverage while being average in run-defense. You, like every other whinging

      3.We drafted two corners well suited for the new DCs style of pressure defense.

      4. I”m sure you were kissing Baalke’s *** about Kaepernick and fleecing KC for the Smith trade. I damn well know I was in very, very, very tiny minority that saw what was going on with Kaepernick and his inability to play in the pocket. So you get no points for this, sugar.

      5. We have one of best NTs in the game. We’ve got very good back-ups across the line. I really don’t get your damage here.

      6. You’re even dumber here.

      7. You know we have Smelter (a Round 2, drafted in Round 4, redshirt talent) and Rogers who bloomed late and turned into an AFL/CFL star and was one of the most heavily pursued WR FAs this year? Right? Right?

      8. We have too many TEs. Celek. McDonald. Miller (converted). Bell. Anderson.

      9. Pears was decent at guard. He was bad at OT, but that was not his position. We signed Beadles who has been a pro-bowler in the past and is good in zone blocking. We drafted Garnett. Brown was very good once he got on the field and has dramatically improved his conditioning and physique which was what was holding him back. We drafted two more OTs. Thomas was a de facto rookie last year. Really, except for upgrading the back-up center, which we may have done, I don’t see a problem here.

  18. My mulligan draft.
    1. Deforest Buckner DE
    2. Joshua Garnett. G No trade, get him anyways.
    3. Le’raven Clark. OT
    4. Hassan Ridgeway DT
    4. Cardale Jones QB
    5. Ronald Blair DE
    5. Paul Perkins RB
    5. Jatavis Brown OLB
    6. DJ White CB
    6. Jeff Driskel QB
    6. Charone Peake WR
    6. Scooby Wright ILB

  19. The 49ers were ripped for drafting Garnett. In part because they didn’t draft Whitehair in Round 1 when they traded up. Whitehair eventually went 56th.

    What I find more interesting is how Whitehair was described by these so-called ‘experts.’ He was a weight-room junkie who was a ‘worker bee in the weight room.’

    Yet he only benched 225lbs 16 times. In 2014, there were 12 WRs that benched 16x (or more!).

    1. Not saying you’re wrong Moses but some people have argued that people get too carried away with those darn “measurables”. Here’s what one analyst has to say about Whitehair”: “Whitehair has the ability to be a very good starter with a ceiling that could reach the all-pro level.” Some people also believe that Baalke places too much emphasis on the wrong “measurables” and nothing at all on intangibles. These young men are going to develop and the ugly truth is that drafting is much more of a art than a science.

  20. Grant what happened to Coker who you were saying was one of the better QB’s in the draft?? Swing and a miss

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