The first Trent Baalke-Mike Singletary draft is complete with the 49ers selecting eight players during the three-day session.
Yes, we write that it was a Baalke-Singletary draft . . . because that’s exactly what it was.
Singletary was asked if he had more influence in the draft than a year ago when Singletary was entering his first full year as coach and Scot McCloughan was the general manager.
“Did I? I’d say yes,” Singletary answered. “When the season was over, I get really excited about the upcoming year. I don’t want to go into hibernation and go relax. I want to know who’s out there. I want to know their stories. I want to know where they came from. I have a vision in there. I want to make sure everybody understands what that is and that we’re all on the same page.”
The 49ers went heavy on the offensive line early. They added two more pieces to help the run game in the sixth round with the additions of powerful running back Anthony Dixon and tight end Nate Byham, a blocking specialist.
Here is a look at the players the 49ers added and how it plays into the big picture:
Round 1 (11) – Anthony Davis, OT, 6-5, 323,
The 49ers considered right tackle to be their biggest weakness. The 49ers probably did not need to give away a fourth-round pick to move up two spots. (Some thought they could have moved back in the first round and still gotten their guy.) But Baalke and Singletary did not want to take any chances, and that’s completely understandable.
Round 1 (17) – Mike Iupati, OG, 6-5, 331,
It would’ve made sense to take a cornerback at this spot in the first round. A case could even be made to take guard/center Maurkice Pouncey. But the 49ers fell in love with Iupati’s size and aggressive approach. That will serve him – and the 49ers – well in the run game. But he’ll have to tone down his aggressiveness in pass protection. He’ll compete against David Baas for the left guard position. Baas is signed through this season, and it’s pretty clear he does not fit into the team’s long-term plans.
Round 2 (40) –
Mays played 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage at USC. In the NFL, his best fit is as a box safety to help in run support. Dashon Goldson, a former cornerback, is better-suited for free safety. This move would seem to impact veteran Michael Lewis. But, not so, says Baalke. “Michael Lewis is the starter,” Baalke said. “You draft a guy like Taylor Mays at the level that we drafted him, certainly you want to get him on the field, but Michael Lewis is the starter and he’s one of the best leaders on this football team. I know how competitive he is. He’s just not going to give his job away.”
Round 3 (91) – Navorro Bowman, ILB, 6-0, 242,
The 49ers expect Bowman to be a backup at inside linebacker. It might be a while before he gets on the field, but he should be a core special-teams player. The 49ers took Scott McKillop for a similar role a year ago. Said Singletary, “This kid can step in and get some reps and try and get better and really get a good understanding of what we’re doing. We have Scott McKillop. Scott McKillop is trying to get it. He’s trying to get his game together and take it to the next level. It’s just taking a little time.”
Round 6 (173) – Anthony Dixon, RB, 6-0, 233,
Round 6 (182) – Nate Byham, TE, 6-4, 268,
The 49ers kept just two tight ends on the roster last season because they did not have a blocking specialist. They selected Bear Pascoe for that role a year ago, but that did not work out to the liking of the coaching staff. The 49ers are likely to keep three tight ends this year. The 49ers already have Joe Jon Finley and Tony Curtis on the team, but Byham looks to have a strong chance to make the 53-man roster as he can also play an H-back role and block out of the backfield.
Round 6 (182) – Kyle Williams, WR, 5-10, 187,
Williams’ best fit is as a slot receiver. He’ll compete against Jason Hill for playing time there. Williams can also be used in the return game as a complement to Ted Ginn Jr. The 49ers will have some good competition at the receiver positions with Williams joining a group that includes Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Hill, Ginn, Brandon Jones and Dominique Zeigler. After the draft, the 49ers added a dynamic return specialist, LeRoy Vann of Florida A&M, who also has a chance to make a major contribution.
Round 7 (244) – Philip Adams, CB, 5-10, 192,
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That is it, folks. I’ll be posting a blog entry tomorrow around noon.
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