Rating the GMs — Trent Baalke, Reggie McKenzie

Click here to read my Friday column.

  1. Baalke is below McKenzie consistenly striking out on mid to offensive talent. He’ll be fired before installing a major league passing offense. “The only good pass is the one not thrown” philosophy demonstrated below:

    “With Chip, he says it all the time: HE WANTS TO RUN THE FOOTBALLl, and he wants to be able to play big-boy ball on both sides of the line of scrimmage,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke told USA TODAY Sports. “From a personnel standpoint, very comfortable with who we have, the direction we’re going and how it fits within the schemes that we want to run.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/49ers/2016/06/28/offseason-report-chip-kelly-niners-colin-kaepernick-san-francisco/86473278/

    Title: On 49ers: GM Trent Baalke looms large at Jim Tomsula news conference

    “I think somewhere in there, he says we’re going to run the football,” the general manager said, drawing laughs from the crowd but only underscoring that he is running the show.

    Matt Barrows, Sac Bee 1/15/15

    1. IMO, the nod goes to McKenzie based on his employment with the Green Bay Packers! McKenzie joined the Packers in 1994, as a pro personnel assistant and was promoted to Director of Pro Personnel by current Raiders scout and former Packers General Manager Ron Wolf in 1997. In 2008, he was named Director of Football Operations for the Packers. During his time with Green Bay, the Packers won 7 division titles, three conference championships, and 2 Super Bowls – XXXI (1996-97) and XLV (2010-11).

      However, Trent Baalke (DoPP: 2008-09, VPoPP: 2010, GM: 2011-Present) has had far more success to date, with their current teams:

      REGGIE McKENZIE – Oakland Raider (2012-2015): 18 W – 46 L, 0-0 Postseason
      TRENT BAALKE – San Francisco 49ers (2008-2015): 71 W – 57 L, 5-3 Postseason

  2. I’d put not re-signing Delaney Walker in the top five Baalke failings. With Walker, the 49ers may have won the 2013 NFCCG.

    Dixon gave a nice effort when Bruce Miller went down, but without Walker there was no one left to execute the intricate backfield whams and traps.

      1. Wiki says Walker was drafted in 2006. I didn’t realize he was in the league so long before the 2011 season.

    1. Baalke had to choose between Walker and Boldin. Tough choice. I don’t fault Baalke for choosing Boldin.

          1. One of the most talented rosters in the league and they won 2 more games than the 49ers? Until they get past 8-8 (14 years and counting) just STFU about the your beloved Raiders, Grant.

  3. Flying that raider flag high today eh?lol..and got a Raider suit.Michigan cap on while flying it too …hahahaa… Didn’t know u were oneof Harbaughs biggest fans…
    Raiders got sum good pieces..But jury is still out..They were sitting home like Niners were last year.. Winning free agency In march doesn’t guarentee squat..come September..October..Nov…
    Games still have to be played.
    They’re not determined on paper..lol

  4. Pretty much don’t need to read this after you read the title, unless your TomD I guess. I feel like this is re-visited far too often. Ah well, I know its the slow season.

    Man my basketball team (Lakers) and my football team seem to be trending in the same direction, I wish I liked baseball cuz this is just depressing.

    At least I have my beloved Trojans….. oh wait

    1. Not impressed then with the mozgov signing? Lot of cake for some one who was benched! Looks like Durante liked the clipper presentation over the Warriors! Maybe Durant can play we for the niners! Big wing span!

      P

  5. Smart for McKenzie to build through the draft for a few years, grab free agents this year.

    Mack, Carr, Cooper, Jackson have valuable experience at the very same time free agents Smith, Irvin, Osemele are still in (or near) their primes.

    The Ray-Duz had a shot at Mack and Cooper because they had very high draft picks. I’d grade the Carr pick the highest.

    1. B2W,

      Agreed on Mack and Cooper. Those picks were served to The Raiders on a silver platter. Total no brainers.

  6. Grant,
    You write that Aldon Smith was a positive addition for the raiders but don’t count Baalke drafting Smith as a positive. His time with the 9ers ended up negatively but he had a couple great seasons and they would have never reached the SB or NFCCG without him. imho

    1. Drafting Aldon Smith doesn’t qualify as a brilliant move. It qualifies as a move that blew up in the Niners’ face.

      1. 44 sacks isn’t exactly blowing up. Obviously it didn’t end well, but I’d argue Aldon was a better pick than Crabtree

          1. Having Justin next you you helps big time. Justin’s the ultimate buh-dass. But I think its overstated.

            Justin and Aldon were hurt in the same 2nd half of the New England game. This made it look like his sacks were all the result of Justin Smith.
            Aldon played almost one-armed the remainder of the season. His shoulder / labrum thing was worse than reported. I think it affected his player in 2013 too. His noodle prevented him from returning to full form.

            Fully healthy the Smith Bros would have killed the Ravens.

            If it was all Justin, why didn’t the other OLBs (like Haralson) wrack up huge sack numbers.

            1. Aldon Smith was fully healthy last season and he was not good. Didn’t have Justin Smith attracting most of the attention.

              1. Aldon may have been physically healthy, but still a shadow is his 2011-2012 form. Assuming his shoulder-labrum are OK, his noodle remains his biggest issue.

              2. But he had a guy that had almost 20 sacks playing on the other side of him in Mack smh

      2. With players declaring early, its hard to get a bead on how they will handle life in the pros. I don’t remember any off field issues before he was drafted.

        Aldon Smith was key to the 2011-2013 run. A teams only a handful of plays from three Lombardi’s.

        Maybe no “brilliant”, but not terrible. Players are time bombs these days. Part of its the players, and part of it is changed social standards for NFL players. In different times/locations some Aldon’s incidents would havce been swept under the rug by the local cops or team.

    2. Coach, Baalke could have drafted Watt who went 4 picks later. To me, that was a huge miss, especially after Aldon imploded.

      1. Baalke also passed on Justin Houston in that draft. If you count the misses – guys Baalke has passed on in previous drafts – his legacy gets even worse. This bum should have been fired last year along with Tomsula.

  7. Grant,
    If the Raiders make the playoffs this season and the 49ers don’t show improvement [especially along the O and D lines] this season, I will totally agree with you but until McKenzie’s team can make and win in the playoffs he is not at Baalkes level.

      1. Really Grant? McCloughan built those playoff teams? Those teams were nothing without Baalke’s hire – Harbaugh which you identify as his best brilliant move. Further, Harbaugh’s system isn’t as effective without Davis and Iupati. Again, when and wasn’t McCloughan absent for nearly a year before Baalke was hired as the full-time GM? The team certainly didn’t run itself. You also missed the following:

        Signing all of the core “McCloughan” picks to long term deals. I also recall key performances in those playoff games and the SB appearance that outplayed the opposition….unless you think Alex Smith could have destroyed GB and Atlanta during the SB run. No, I didn’t think so either.

        1. The core of the team was Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Joe Staley. All were acquired by McCloughan. Baalke added Aldon Smith, Culliver, Rogers, Whitner, Bowman, Miller, Davis, Iupati, Goodwin, Kaepernick, Boldin. Complementary players, with the exception of Bowman, Boldin and Iupati.

          1. Many argue how much influence Baalke had in the 2010 draft. Some say very little, while others say Baalke had major influence as early as 2009.

            McCloughan
            Vice President of Player Personnel 2005–2007
            GM 2008–2009 (replaced just before the draft)

            Baalke
            Western Region Scout 2005–2007
            Director of player personnel 2008–2009
            Vice president of player personnel 2010
            GM 2011–present

            There’s Baalke-McCloughan overlap. I think they are cut from the same cloth. McCloughan usually had more draft/cap capital to play with.

            2005 – Alex Smith – 1
            2005 – David Baas – 33
            2005 – Frank Gore – 65
            2006 – Vernon Davis – 6
            2006 – Manny Lawson – 22
            2007 – Patrick Willis – 11
            2007 – Joe Staley – 28
            2007 – Nate Clements – 21 (Free Agent $80m, $22m million guaranteed)
            2008 – Kentwan Balmer – 29
            2008 – Chilo Rachal – 39
            2008 – Justin Smith – 4 (Free Agent $45m, $11m signing bonus)
            2009 – Michael Crabtree – 10

            (Clements and Smith’s draft positions included)

            1. McCloughan had set the draft board in ’09 before he left. Baalke didn’t get creative control until ’10.

              1. Sounds about right. Many give McCloughan credit for 2010 too (except for the Mays pick, when they blame Baalke).

                I think the two are very similar, spending 4 years together building draft boards.

                2005–2007 McCloughan VP of Player Personnel, Baalke Western Region Scout

                2008–2009 McCloughan GM, Baalke Director of player personnel

          2. So Grant you’re really arguing this is a Super Bowl 3x playoff team WITHOUT Harbaugh? Is that your argument?

          3. Baalke took McCloughan’s team and built it into a real bruising bully, with a lot of help from Harbaugh. The additions were more than just “complimentary,” they were the right fit.

            Look at the “Vernon Post” game where Alex Smith beat NOLA. The Niners snot-knockered the team that was supposed to be tougher into oblivion. Aldon Smith, Whitner, Davis and Iupati played great football that day. That was Harbaugh’s team, and it would not have been there but for Baalke.

        2. Bulky has given us the worst return on investment these last 5 years in the NFL.
          Nobody is going to make a silk purse out of this pig………………..

        1. And that mostly comes down to Carr. He needs to improve his TD/INT ratio in the 4th quarter. Raiders would have been in the playoffs last season if he hadn’t choked away a few games throwing lake picks.

          1. Would’ve could’ve don’t count Grant you’re judged by wins and loses in all of sports and as of right now Mckenzie hasn’t won PERIOD!

  8. Quality over quantity.

    Baalke team playoff appearances: 3 consecutive seasons, including 3 NFCC and one SB

    Reggie McKenzie?????????????

    1. Crabtree as a “brilliant” move ..? .. really ..?

      (C’mon stat junkies… help me out.. here .. )

      What has Crabs had … one .. good
      (or fairly good) season …his entire tenure ?

      1. Yes. McKenzie signing Crabtree was a brilliant move. He’s way better than most 49ers fans want to give him credit for.

        To be honest, I don’t think the 49ers have a single receiver on their roster right now that could even hold his jock.

    2. Baalke took over a team that already had a solid base and built that up with the help of a tremendous coach.

      McKenzie inherited a team made of of chicken scraps.

      Totally different situations.

      I’m not sold that they have a head coach capable of making the most out of the talent they have, and that could end up costing him.

  9. Grant,

    I would agree with most of Baalke’s mistakes you list. However, I think Tomsula was really Jed’s hire. From various reports I’ve read, Baalke had other people in mind for the HC position. Jed York had a crush on Tomsula for years going back to the Singletary era.

    1. Tomsula was Baalke’s hire. He’s the GM. Harbaugh was his fire. He’s the GM.

      Remember when Eddie DeBartolo fired Bill Walsh? No, you don’t. Because Carmen Policy stopped him from doing it.

  10. Baalke isn’t as bad as the media says. No doubt he’s missed on some but he’s also nailed some! As a matter of fact I think the 49ers roster is loaded with young talent right now & if Chip does for the team like Harbaugh did (coaching) next season Baalke will be considered 1 of the best Gm’s again!!!

    1. I agree!!! Lets talk about all the great Offensive players hes picked in the last 5 years! That should take all of 2 seconds………………..

  11. And yet the Raiders are going 14 years of no playoffs or even getting over 500 lol Obviously a Raider fan wrote this article lol

  12. The other thing Grant is not mentioning is the Raiders have been picking in the top 10 in like forever! So of course Mckenzie is going to hit more on draft picks. The 49ers have picked in the top 10 once in the last 5 years

  13. Baalke had the entire 2012 draft disappear. Teams do not do well when the GM whiffs on an entire draft class.

    Other than Torrey, Baalke whiffed on the 2015 FA signings. Shareece Wright, who was cut, played well for the Ravens.

    RM has done better than TB, but that is only in personnel matters. RM still has not sniffed the playoffs. Raiders have tough sledding ahead of them, with the Chiefs improving through the draft, and having to play that Denver Defense twice a year.

    Grant, it is easy to say that RM has done a better job than TB, but neither have achieved greatness.

    1. Grant …

      just for some grins n giggles …
      just where … would
      Carmen Policy fit into this equation ? ..

      (or.. izzat before your time ?)

      1. Considering Shareece Wright switched teams 5 days before playing, he did OK. later in the season, he fit in well and played a major role in their defense.

    1. Old Coach–your cherry picking. Baalke’s entire body of work is abysmal. You do your job as effectively as Baalke, your fired.

  14. Baalke somehow thought Jimmy T. could coach an NFL team. You cannot underestimate what a colossal miss and error of judgement this move was. Firing Harbaugh, yeah clash of egos. But putting Jimmy T. in as a head coach in the NFL, let alone the “teacher”, the “win with class”,an “upgrade” After horrible Harbaugh. How did Jimmy T. even get through an interview one has to wonder?

    1. I beg to differ. Tomsula did have a track record. He coached the last game of the 2010 season. They failed down the stretch, so Singletary was fired. Tomsula took that talented, but under achieving bunch, and fired them up.They were dispirited for being out of the playoffs, and had nothing to play for, except pride.

      Tomsula had them energized, focused and prepared. They ran rough shod over the cards, and surrendered a meaningless TD at the end.

      I had high hopes that Tomsula could do the same with the 2015 squad, but they lost 11 starters and the majority of the team leadership. Losing Cowboy, Willis and Gore cannot be over emphasized.

      After the first game in 2015, I thought that they were poised to return to the playoffs. Then the wheels fell off. The loss of Cowboy meant they lacked a decent pass rush, and Scooter shrewdly pointed out the loss of Aldon at the last second was a gut punch.

      AD retired, but Baalke should have been communicating better with him, because they could have drafted an O lineman with a high pick. The loss of AD resulted in a putrid O line, that only succeeded in getting Kaep so injured, he needed 3 surgeries.

      Baalke should have retained Gore. He promised to retain veteran leadership, but let Gore walk. Once Hyde became injured, the RB situation was calamitous. Until the last game, Mike Davis had 24 yards in 25 carries. Benching Hayne who knew the playbook was obtuse when Baalke decided that cut couch potatoes were better than him, even though they had 5 days to study the playbook.

      In the end, I was dismayed at how undisciplined and unprepared the players were. There were way too many unforced errors. The other coaches were from the bottom of coaching barrel, and their lack of coaching prowess was all too evident.

      Tomsula was dealt a bad hand, and he endured a lot, but in the end, it was a dismal season from the owner, FO, coaching, the players to the ball boys. It was amazing they won 5 games. They should have won only 2, and if the Raven receivers had caught their passes, the Niners had only the first game to call a solid win.

      So Tomsula was in over his head, and was stabbed in the back before the last game, but I still like him as a defensive line coach. He should have gotten some Coordinator experience before being thrust into a Head Coaching job, but when the Niners were offered to him, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

      I wish him well.

      1. Well said. Tomsula was a good defensive line coach who needed to be groomed slowly and could have one day been a decent head coach.
        But pushing him to HC immediately, providing with a subpar supporting cast of coaches, and getting bottom of the barrel FAs sealed his fate.

    2. Here’s a bigger error of judgement-buying tickets to a 49er game with the current ownership.
      From old man York giving Bill Walsh a hard time on football matters, to young York’s football judgements…………….there are better things to spend your money on.
      Like Marriuchi and Harbaugh before him, Kelly will be gone if he’s successful.

      1. You hit the nail on the head. Its the cheapskate ownership
        Just look at how they are dealing with the city of santa clara

  15. Seb nice defense of Jimmy t. But the post was not about Jimmy T. It was about Baalke. And Baalke made a huge judgement and assessment error. Comments stand. But as far as JT, yes he was dealt a bad hand, put in a position he was not equipped for. How can you not like him, he’s a super nice guy clearly. But the post is about Baalke.

    1. Well, you were preaching to the choir about Baalke.

      When Baalke puffs up and blusters that he does not listen to criticism, maybe he should. That way, he may learn a thing or two. He should listen to the criticism, and act accordingly. Right now, his ego and shallow character has given AD a headache, but if he wants the Niners to win, he should swallow his pride and accede to AD’s wishes. Baalke’s handling of Boone was obnoxious, and heavy handed. It also contributed to the O line woes.Since it is so toxic, Baalke should promise to arrange a trade of AD to a team of his choice, as long as the Niners get adequate compensation.

      Baalke is full of hubris, but has been humbled. Baalke wanted to get rid of the last vestige of JH by trading away Kaep, but Chip probably threatened to walk away if that happened, so Kaep is here against all odds. In the draft, both Buckner and Garnett looked to me to be Chip Kelly picks, so it was nice to see Baalke lose total control of the draft.

      Baalke is the problem, especially if decent free agents avoid the Niners like the plague. Baalke re signing Devey was another horrendous decision, and I am glad Flaherty put his foot down and had him released. As long as Devey was on the team, no QB would have been safe. I fear for AS’s health.

      1. Why do you continue to spout all of this conjecture about ‘Chip’, Flaherty, and Jordan Devey when you are making it all up ? This isn’t the way to gain credibility….now you’re sounding like Tom D….

        1. Oregon, I may have an active imagination, but you are the one with his head in the sand if you think that the tension between Chip and Baalke was not over Kaep being traded away.

          Making it up about Devey? Did you watch last season? I did not make it up about Devey being re-signed by BAALKE. He was the one spouting off about re signing him because of of his value. It was specious, especially after the Panthers cut Josh Norman, and let him go for nothing.

        2. Oregonniner,

          Just the facts please…I post only facts from sports journals. Your’s and Seb’s domain of speculation do not interest me, so please refrain from your speculative remarks–See posted sports jounals below I’ve posted. Peruse them at your leisure.

      2. Not bad, seb–until you said bulky has been humbled. I see no proof of that.
        And Jed allows it—unbelievable.

        1. Saw, Chip has kept Kaep on the team, when every indication showed he wanted to leave, It is no wonder why Kaep had his surgeries away from the Niner doctors, and he rehabbed 2 hours away from the Bronco HQs, who needed a QB since PM retired.

          Somehow, Chip convinced Kaep to stay, and he is protecting Kaep from the FO, even though up til the eve of the draft, Baalke was threatening to trade him away. I am glad Kaep has shown maturity and forgiven the slights. In his PC, he could have ripped the Niners, but took the high road.

          If you think that Buckner was only a Baalke pick, I cannot convince you otherwise, but both Azzinaro and Chip were probably jumping up and down and yelling with delight when he was selected. Baalke probably would have picked Jaylon Smith or Jack. Baalke did pick Redmond as his ACL pick in the third round.

  16. While I noted Baake’s strikeout’s on mid level offensive talent, I’m blazing the fastball right into Baalke’s kitchen–Defense.
    What GM passes on Earl Thomas at # 11 and takes Taylor Mlays?…”We’ll, we play big boy football” here…I guess Thomas was a midget, huh Trent?

    Also, McKenzie is smart enough to hire ex-49er dynasty team players to coach his team up–Ken Norton Jr. as DC and Bill Musgrave (3rd string behind Steve Young). I can’t wait to watch them take them to the playoffs, while the Jed-o-saurus and Trent-a-pythicus’ Pleistocene era offense keeps banning ex-49er greats from employment.

      1. And detractors, I do not want to even compare T–Anthony Davis to 5X Pro Bowler, 3x First Team All Pro, Thomas. Davis could not hold the edge against a decent pass rusher.

        1. As an example of the type of talent a GM M-U-S-T find (if he’s worth his salt) at #11 is Dana Stublefield, drafted in RD 1, # 26 in 1993 by the Niners.

          Stubblefields below stats s/b the type you get at # 11, which Davis never provided:

          3× Pro Bowl (1994, 1995, 1997)
          First Team All-Pro (1997)
          2× Second Team All-Pro (1995, 1996)
          NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1993)
          NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1997)
          NFC Champion (1994)
          Super Bowl XXIX Champion

          Career NFL statistics

          Tackles:
          434

          Sacks:
          53.5

          Interceptions:
          2
          Player stats at NFL.com

          1. However,

            San Francisco 49er Dynasty coach, Peter Caroll managed to find a player in Thomas with those stats…Too bad the York’s keep distancing themselves from there past–Go Raiders.

            1. And Musgrave got a steal in Connor Cook, who I fully expect will develop into a solid pro with the Raiders. Musgrave knows how important a Steve Young backing up Joe Montana was.

              1. Raiders, Mckenzie already proving he can draft QB’s better than Baalke, who hasn’t a clue here.

                • Connor Cook was surprisingly forced to wait until day three of this year’s draft just to hear his name called… the Oakland Raiders stopped his free-fall, making him the seventh passer drafted this year.
                Reggie McKenzie was likely executing a move he learned in Green Bay from ex-Packers GM Ron Wolf, who habitually drafted young quarterbacks in order to develop them and then reap a reward in trade value (see Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell and Aaron Brooks). In a league where there are never enough starting-caliber passers, Cook could be a valuable commodity in a couple of years, earning the Raiders a return in trade that exceeds their initial fourth-round investment.

              2. DTom

                …and you got all of this from your so-called “sports Journals” nothing more than high school hero worship….how many do you subscribe to ?

    1. Great stuff, Tom-D. It absolutely appears the Yorks and baalke will have nothing to do with anyone from the Walsh coaching tree
      I believe it is because Baalke is the polar opposite of Walsh, with respect to how to develop an offense-among other things.

  17. I’d be a rich man if I could have made the bet I whispered to myself as I clicked on the link; “I bet Grant has twice as many errors for Baalke that he does for Reggie.”

    I’m not about to be an apologist for the worst GM in the league(Ok, maybe not THE WORST but he’s one of them) but to say that McKenzie only has two strikes against his record is so myopic that it wreaks of subjectivity.

    Here are Reggie’s screw ups from an-biased perspective. Upon further review it’s a bit closer then the suggested by some:

    1.The 2012 draft. The only player left is the one they used their compensatory third rounder on and he’s a back up o-lineman. Sure they didn’t have a first or second but that’s no excuse to essentially come up blank in that draft. Are back up tackles really that hard to find, Baalke seems to do ok getting them in the 7th round.

    2. In 2013 he signed Kaluka Maiava, Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett to multi-year deals with guaranteed money and none are currently still with the team.

    3. McKenzie essentially whiffed on second round tackle Watson who’s only started 12 games in 3 seasons.

    4. 2014 Signs James Jones who gets cut after one year of a 3 season deal, whoops.

    5. Signed Woodley to a two year 12M dollar deal and he was playing with the Cardinals after one season with no sacks. Signed Justin Tuck to a two year 11M dollar deal and he wasn’t resigned afer two years and 6 sacks. Signed Antonio Smith to a two year 9M dollar deal and cut him after one season and 3 sacks.

    6. Trading for Matt Flynn in 2013.

    The Raiders traded two fifth-round picks to the Seattle Seahawks for quarterback Matt Flynn, and paid him $6.5 million for just one start. He lost his job to Terrelle Pryor, now a wide receiver for the Browns.

    7. Drafting D.J. Hayden in 2013.

    McKenzie drafted Hayden with the 12th pick. Hayden was supposed to be special. Today, he is one of the worst corners in the NFL. Oops.

    1. McKenzie had to sign players to meet the minimum spending requirement and no good players wanted to come to the Raiders before 2015. And Watson tore his Achilles. I wouldn’t consider the 2012 draft a major screw up because McKenzie didn’t have a first- or second-round pick. If that’s a major screw up, then so was Baalke drafting Marcus Lattimore, Corey Lemonier, Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Joe Looney, etc.

      1. If that’s a major screw up, then so was Baalke drafting Marcus Lattimore, Corey Lemonier, Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Joe Looney, etc.
        —————
        Actually, I would call those major screw-ups considering the overall production those players provided, even if they were UDFA I’d almost still call them major screw ups.

      2. They had 6 picks in 2012, only one less then the default amount. After 4 years to only have one player left is a sign of a bad draft, to have a blank year in your draft history as a GM is a major screw up.

        1. I don’t consider whiffing on mid- and late-round picks to be “major screw ups.” You do, though. Fair enough.

          1. When all you get in the draft are mid to late round picks you better make them count and he didn’t. I’d call that a major screw up, it’s not labeling what type of picks have more value then another it’s a matter of, you need to come away from this draft with talent and that didn’t happen.

              1. Draft and Free Agency, how else is a GM graded? When your success is largely if not entirely hinged on how you do in two aspects and then you do poorly on one of them, what doesn’t make that a major screw up?

              2. If McKenzie had blown the first- and second-round picks, I’d consider that two major screw ups. But Hue Jackson traded those picks before McKenzie was hired. Jackson made the major screw ups.

          2. Completely agree Grant – a bit harsh calling whiffing on mid and late round picks as major screw ups. You’d like (expect) to get some decent return out of 1 or 2 of the 6 picks, but I wouldn’t consider it a major screw up. Not like Baalke’s 2012 draft.

            Also agree it is unfair to label a guy that wasn’t able to perform after suffering a serious injury a major screw up. However, Watson hadn’t really impressed in the two seasons prior to his achilles injury either.

            1. You guys are getting wrapped up in the minutia of which rounds and how many picks but at the end of the day its the GM’s job to find players for his team and whether he had 3 or 13 when your best choice ends up being a back up tackle you’ve screwed up.

              1. You just said pretty much what I did, except I don’t consider it a “major” screw up. He still screwed up. But if you don’t think the resources available should be taken into consideration regarding the level of incompetence, I think you are being unfair. It is much worse getting a whole draft wrong if it includes high round picks than it is getting a whole draft wrong if you have no high draft picks.

      1. Wilson …

        I’d much rather see your double-replies .. than
        the two stooges .. posting .. just so they can
        see themselves in print

        1. MW its so slow right now that is seems like regular posters aren’t visiting as much till TC starts. Rightly so not a whole lot going on to talk about. What we have left is arguing about who’s lame GM is better and a bunch of filler from the stooges you mention.

  18. It’s an unfair comparison of the two GMs. The Raiders are definitely improving and as of late the personnel moves of McKenzie have been far more effective than Baalke’s.

    However, one cannot discount the hiring of coaches in the equation and Baalke brought in Harbaugh who turned the franchise around. He did it with picks which where underperforming, good ones to be sure though seriously not living up to potential, and with decent players that Baalke drafted or brought onto the team.

    How both perform going forward will be interesting to see. Will Jack del Rio turn out to be the coach to bring the Rayduhs out of the caller with the cast McKenzie brought in is anyone’s guess. Will Baalke who seemed like a genius a couple of years ago, only to fall to earth recently, gain his mojo back with Kelly and the young talent around him? Will CK or the Florida cast offs rise up? Who knows?

    I do know that if Aldon Smith was a positive for McKenzie, he was also a positive for Baalke. The fact that he is a big dummy is hard to predict. You take a chance. He worked out, imperfectly,but was a major factor in the Super Bowl run along with Justin Smith but not only because of him. He has talent on his own. Otherwise, McKenzie would not have signed him and he would not have made Mack that much better by tying up defenders (much like cowboy did).

  19. Here are your Top-4 since Baalke became the GM. There is no Reggie McKenzie on the list:

    1. Seahawks

    GM: John Schneider
    Average position of 1st pick: 30.6
    Total picks: 48
    Pro Bowlers: 7
    Best Pick: CB Richard Sherman — 2011 5th round
    Worst Pick: G John Moffitt — 2011 3rd round

    Seattle is the gold standard for drafting in the NFL right now. The 2010 draft netted Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Russell Okung and Golden Tate, laying the foundation for their 2013 Super Bowl team. Chancellor and Sherman were 5th-round picks, and they landed QB Russell Wilson in the 3rd round.

    2. 49ers

    GM: Trent Baalke
    Average position of 1st pick: 19.2
    Total picks: 48
    Pro Bowlers: 4
    Best Pick: LB NaVorro Bowman — 2010 3rd round
    Worst Pick: WR A.J. Jenkins — 2012 1st round

    There may have been dysfunction inside the 49ers in recent years, but it did not stop them from finding some good players. The 2010 draft was their best with Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in the 1st round and NaVorro Bowman in the 3rd.

    Modal Trigger
    J.J. Watt, first round, 2011Photo: Getty Images
    3. Texans

    GM: Rick Smith
    Average position of 1st pick: 17
    Total Picks: 44
    Pro Bowlers: 1
    Best Pick: DE J.J. Watt — 2011 1st round
    Worst Pick: DE Sam Montgomery — 2013 3rd round

    The Texans have not landed a ton of superstars, but they drafted the best player taken in the past five years — Watt, who has been the Defensive Player of the Year twice. They also have drafted a number of solid, if not spectacular, starters.

    4. Patriots

    GM: Bill Belichick
    Average position of 1st pick: 29.2
    Total Picks: 44
    Pro Bowlers: 2
    Best Pick: TE Rob Gronkowski — 2010 2nd round
    Worst Pick: S Ras-I Dowling — 2011 2nd round

    Belichick’s drafts came under criticism for a few years, but he has done a solid job of restocking his roster through the draft. Gronkowski was a huge home run.

    Only Schneider, of all active GMs in the NFL, has drafted more pro-bowlers than Baalke.

    Baalke’s mistakes really aren’t the draft. Hell, he’s even one of the smartest GMs in not over-paying fan-favorites that turn into scrubs.

    His big mistakes were dropping Smith for Kaepernick because Harbaugh was so sure he could make a guy who couldn’t read defenses an NFL QB, letting Iupati get away in FA and being a little too conservative in acquiring replacement FAs when his top talent leaves.

    But considering he rarely blows a FA choice, it’s hard to really criticize him there. We’re not paying $10 million a year for guys who fail the second they leave their own team like what happens with so many teams.

    1. In 5 years, how many all-pros has Bulky picked? 4?

      Must I talk about what would happen to Bulky in the real world?

    2. ‘But considering he rarely blows a FA choice’- Maybe you forgot last year.

      This year, decent FAs avoided the Niners like the plague. Beadles, who many see as a scrap heap reclamation project, IW, who is in a boot, and JORDAN DEVEY were this year’s crop.

  20. The whole premise about who is better is tempered by the fact that both GMs have not won a ring. Baalke inherited a talent laden team and got them close, while Reggie has started slow but has the Raiders on an upswing with high hopes for next season, with a good crop of FAs, and a decent draft. Baalke has trended downward.

    Compare both GMs with John Elway, Bill Bellichick, John Schneider and Ozzie Newsome, and you can see that both are lower tier GMs. Even Ted Thompson, Dave Gettleman, Steve Keim, Rick Spielman and Kevin Colbert all are better.

    Both the Raiders and Niners need to have their GMs improve, otherwise either can only claim to suck less than the other.

  21. Here’s a fan post about Patton and the value he’s returned given draft position. This is something I strongly agree with. He’s not a good WR, but he’s not a bust either, and has provided ok value for where he was drafted.

    http://www.ninersnation.com/2016/7/1/12085726/quinton-patton-fan-expectations-and-the-draft

    Personally I think he should make the roster this year. Seems to me most people want to get rid of him just because he’s not developed into starting calibre WR. But not many teams have 5 or 6 starting calibre WRs sitting on their roster. He’s a capable backup that has developed into a good STs player. Decent (albeit not great) value from a 4th round pick.

    1. Personally, my main issue is his penchant for whiskey, tango, foxtrot moments during a football game. Whether it’s running the wrong way, posing while sitting on top of a player or the 6 penalties, 3 of which were the personal foul variety. Some of those were drive killers. Three seasons, and only 472 yards of production. He’s under performed, mentally inconsistent, but I agree he has some value as a blocker and gunner on special teams….

      1. Under performed is really only based on one’s expectation. He’s basically been a pretty average performer for where he was taken.

        1. Scooter your comments on Patton’s performance being on par for his draft position should give all on this blog cause to review any expectations regards to this group of WR’s and UDFA’s we have currently.

          1. Oh heck yes. I am constantly amazed at the positivity being shown towards all the late round and UDFA WRs we have. While I am hopeful one or two guys emerge, the most likely scenario is the 49ers are in desperate need of adding a WR next offseason.

            1. Scooter, some where if feels like TB doesn’t believe in high draft or big name WR’s. I often wonder if we’d have another SB ring if TB would have added some real talent at WR in those 3 years we were competitive. We’ve been asking for WR’s since 2010 for Smith.

              This offense and the QB’s might a have a really hard time being effective without WR’s who can perform better than Patton.

              1. Well, they had Crabtree who was a 1st round pick and he spent a 1st rounder on AJJ. He also traded for Boldin, and took some flyers on former 1st rounders Moss and Edwards. All of these guys were on the roster at some point between 2011 and 2013. In 2014, he added Johnson and Lloyd also.

                I think he realised they needed WRs. Unfortunately they were never able to get 2 good WRs playing together. Even when they got Boldin in 2013, they lost Crabtree for most of the year. And he wasn’t the same player in 2014.

              2. Maybe I should have said he wasn’t very good a drafting them (I liked Crabtree despsite his injuries) and when other high dollar WR’s were on the market we got people in the twilight of their careers. We also had Hastings, Moore, and a whole host of other no names like we have now. Boldin was a good pick up as well as T Smith.

              3. Sure. But there really was no excuse for losing the SB in 2012. The 49ers had the best roster in the NFL. But they came out flat. That’s on the coaches and players, not Baalke.

                And I can’t help but wonder if they’d have been in the SB again if Crabtree hadn’t gotten injured in 2013. That could have been a good offense with everyone healthy, and it was still a great D.

        2. Part of my expectations are no whiskey, tango, foxtrots to go along with an average performance. Hence, the under performer classification in my humble opinion….

  22. I think it is a numbers game. There are many WRs who could contribute if given the chance, but Patton may keep them from playing, even though he is not a speed burner.

    I do think Patton is talented, but he is undisciplined and can make those terrible blunders that hurt the team. He may incur that personal foul that negates a big gain, then block a punt for a TD.

  23. A couple of other very good moves made by Baalke that aren’t included in your list Grant:

    – drafting Anthony Davis. Sure, he’s bailed on the team now, but he was one of the best RTs in the NFL and one of the reasons the 49ers had a dominant run game from 2011 to 2013.
    – drafting Aaron Lynch in the 5th round. Excellent value pick and one of the most promising edge players in the NFL.
    – signing Ian Williams as an UDFA. Has developed into one of the better NTs in the NFL. If it wasn’t for injuries he’d be a more recognised name.
    – signing Carlos Rogers for peanuts. What a savvy move that was. Turned in a 1st team PB and 2nd team All Pro season on about a $4m deal.
    – in the same year he signed Rogers, he also signed Donte Whitner, another savvy signing that was a big part of the 49ers success on D between 2011 and 2013.
    – after letting Whitner go, Baalke signed Bethea to replace him. Most thought he was on the decline, but he proved people wrong on his way to his 3rd PB season.
    – re-signing Alex Smith in 2011. Sure, Harbaugh was the impetus behind it, but we can’t have it both ways. Either Harbaugh deserves as much credit/blame for personnel moves as Baalke, or Baalke should receive his due for getting Smith back in the fold. Smith may have just been a game manager, but his revival under Harbaugh was instrumental to the 2011 playoff run, and he set them on their way to the SB in 2012 (which Baalke’s other QB move in 2011 took the team to the SB). Then he helped the 49ers get some nice draft picks in return (even if Baalke hasn’t gotten much out of them to this point).
    – while you want to discredit the selection of Aldon Smith, between 2011 and 2013 he set the record for most sacks to start a career. You don’t do that just because of the guy next to you. Sure, his off field issues meant it was only a short term stay, but Aldon was another guy that was instrumental to the 49ers success between 2011 and 2013.

    Basically, Baalke made some excellent moves that put a SB calibre team in the hands of a good coach. They should have won in 2012. It wasn’t Baalke’s fault they didn’t.

    Baalke is also very much to blame for the current state of the franchise. His decisions in the 2012 and 2013 drafts have set the team back massively post player defections, as he failed to replenish the roster. Even the 2011 draft has proven to be pretty poor for longevity, and his decisions have cost them two of the most talented guys from their 2010 draft. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 draft classes have a lot to make up for, and so far haven’t done enough to show they will be able to.

    Obviously getting rid of Harbaugh has also coincided with a lot of issues. Player retirements and defections, plus replacing him with a buffoon, have taken a talented and well coached roster to a shell of its former self in the space of pretty much one season. It is now a complete rebuild required. And Baalke has not shown much to suggest he is capable of leading such a rebuild.

    1. I also find it incredible that 3 of Mackenzie’s brilliant moves have yet to play a down for the team.

      1. Scooter – Re the Aldon comment “You don’t do that just because of the guy next to you” I agree.

        If it was all Justin Smith, than why didn’t Haralson set sack records?

        Many don’t realize Aldon badly hurt his shoulder in the same 2nd half of the Pats game Justin got hurt. Aldon’s shoulder / labrum injury was far worse than the 49ers let on.

        They both rely on heavy hands technique in the pass rush. Neither player returned to full form.

        Pass rush is about want-to. You have to be the right kind of crazy to run a 20 yard dash through a monster 50lbs bigger. I think Aldon’s mental issues were a factor in his ho-hum Raider tenure (though he was coming into form just before the suspension). If his heads on straight and he returns in shape, he will dominate.

  24. To make a claim for R-Mac is bogus. To sit here and say that Mack was a steal and came from a small school is shortsighted. He was rated as the 2nd best pass rusher behind Clowney in that draft as well as being seen as the most versatile player at any position. Merrill Hoge on ESPN even went as far as saying that Mack was the best defensive player he has ever evaluated. It was an easy pick that anyone could have made, especially when they were drafting at 5…something Baalke has never done.

    Drafting Amari Cooper at 1.4 also was not seen as a steal and also an easy pick, whom many still had rated higher than White considering his body of work at Alabama.

    Besides drafting Carr, Cooper, and Mack…to sit here and boast about R-Mac is ridiculous because it is not like he accomplshed anything else. The team finished 7-9 last year, that is not saying much.

    Big wupp, they went on a shopping spree in FA this year but history in the NFL has shown that Free Agency never pays off and usually blows back on the respective team. That also cripples the future of their team as well as the salary cap. Those FA signings will probably be gone in 2-3 years max because when they have to pay Carr, Cooper, and Mack things will get expensive and those other guys will be cut.

  25. ‘History has shown that free agency has never paid off”. Wrong.

    Seahawks signed Avril and Bennet, and won a SB.

    Patriots signed Browner and Amendola and won a SB.

    Broncos signed Demarcus Ware and Talib and won a SB.

    To go back farther, the Niners acquired Fred Dean and Hacksaw and won SBs. They signed Deion Sanders and won a SB. Cowboy helped them go to 3 NFCC Games.

    True, some bottom dwelling teams have signed FAs and they have stayed in the cellar, but to say that signing FAs is a poor strategy and blows back on a team just is flat out wrong.

    Niners should learn from the Warriors. They just signed Kevin Durant, and now they are poised to win another championship. The Giants signed 2 pitchers, and are leading the league. Shrewd free agent signings will help a team achieve greatness.

    Baalke, and his strategy to build and develop only through the draft sounds nice, but when he whiffs on an entire draft class, he is just set up for more failure.

    1. You are correct Seb. FA has its purpose. Smart FOs will use it to take a good team and put them over the top, ala the examples you gave.

      I think what Arturo meant though was that history shows teams don’t typically build a good team through FA. The core of the team typically needs to come from the draft. FA is used to supplement the team. Teams that have historically relied on FA to build the core of a team have failed.

      The Raiders are in an interesting situation where they have a good young nucleus they have built through the draft. But they are still finding their feet and yet to really prove themselves as a top flight team. Will be a good test case to see how adding a lot of top name FAs to a young and improving team works.

      1. Maybe he was considering the GB Packers, who do use that strategy, and has done well. However, it takes a shrewd judge of talent, and whiffing on a first round pick or whole draft class can hamstring a team.

        I agree, it is better to build through the draft because they can lock in players to those rookie contracts. Yet, in the Niners’s case, they need help. Signing a cast off OL, a guy in a boot and Jordan Devey just does not instill a lot of confidence in the team’s direction.

        1. History in general shows the most successful teams tend to put the core of their team together through the draft. Even the Seahawks, Patriots and Broncos teams have relied heavily on the draft.

          1. True, but those teams are solid organizations, and FAs helped them get over the top.

            All teams rely on the draft, because that is the main source of new players. Very few teams were built with tons of FAs. Washington, in the George Allen days before Joe Gibbs, was the last to do it. The Niners had their core of draft picks, but they were so attractive, top flight FAs wanted to come here to win a ring. They would accept less and be content as backups, and they also helped achieve greatness.

            I guess when he says that FA never paid off, he was referring to the Jacksonvilles of the league.

            1. “I guess when he says that FA never paid off, he was referring to the Jacksonvilles of the league.”

              Yes, exactly my point. And I think Arturo’s point. Teams that rely on FA to fix their issues of not drafting well are set up to fail. Those teams that succeed typically develop a lot of their own talent, and supplement through FA to take them to the next level.

              Hate to say it, but the 49ers going on a spending spree this offseason would most definitely have been the former, and in all likelihood doomed to fail. They need to get their own young talent performing before they can maximise returns from top line FA additions.

              1. Assuming a 155 mil salary cap, most teams have a roster worth around 150 mil. Niners have a squad that is worth 105 mil.

                It is hard to win without the right horses……

              2. Sure is. But overpaying for a few FAs isn’t going to take a bad roster and make it good. 49ers need their young guys to develop into a solid team. Questionable whether that will happen, but its what needs to happen before it is really worth investing a lot into outside FAs. We’re in a rebuild Seb. Best accept it.

              3. Well, if the Niners had signed Osmele or even Mitchell Schwartz, we would not be having as much O line anxiety, and if Jackson or Irvin were signed, the pass rush might have been improved.

                If Baalke had bid high enough for Sean Smith, they might not have drafted red flagged DBs, and they instead could have gotten Prosise or Paul Perkins to bolster the running game. Now the Niners will have to face Prosise twice a year.

              4. Sure, it would have made the casual fan happier if they had signed some of those guys. But none of them (even all three combined) would have made the team good unless the young guys develop. And none of them are exceptional players – they are all decent to good starters. Without good talent around them they would likely look far more ordinary and in a year or two would be saying Baalke was an idiot for signing them. Like the Jags fans do about pretty much all of their high priced FA additions.

              5. I would have been happy if Baalke had managed to sign one of them. And with 49.5 mil in cap space, they could afford to be generous. However, it seemed as though the word was out, and decent players avoided the Niners like the plague.

                There is a saying that says- you get what you pay for. Going cheap produces cheap results.

              6. Do you think the 49ers would have been a good team if they had spent big in FA, like the Raiders? If you do then sure, Baalke whiffed big time.

                Personally I don’t think signing 3 or 4 pretty big money FAs would have made all the difference for the 49ers this year. It may have produced marginally better results. Or maybe not. It certainly would have prevented 3 or 4 young players from getting snaps and showing what they can do. And it probably would have resulted in a lot of dead money in a few years time when we found out first hand how high priced FAs don’t perform to their contracts on mediocre teams.

              7. I do not think that the Niners should have splurged for an Olivier Vernon sized contract, but thought they could have done better than a Beadles and Devey crop of FAs.

                You are right, there is no guarantee that any FA would come in and set the league on fire. Teams lock up valuable talented players so they do not hit the Free Agency market. Free agents usually have value, but also flaws. Or maybe the team is set in a position and they can afford to let him walk.

                I just yearn for the good old days, when FAs wanted to come to the Niners to get a ring. Raiders are trying hard, but have a daunting task with both Denver and KC in the same division.

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