49ers own 4th-worst 1st-round NFL-draft record during the past five seasons

I just read a fascinating article I want to share. This article attempts to rank NFL teams based on how well they’ve drafted in Round 1 the past 10 years. Here’s what the author, Sharon Katz, writes about the 49ers:

“San Francisco’s most recent drafts have been trending downward, with the fourth-worst AV per pick in the last five seasons after ranking eighth from 2006 to ’10.”

To read the full article, click here.

This article has 143 Comments

      1. Makes sense,

        the 49ers were picking at the bottom of the 1st round in 3 of the 5 years, the only time they weren’t they drafted Aldon and Arik, two solid players. The fact that Aldon is out of the league at the moment and Jenkins is a bust, as well as draft position, skew the numbers. As far as I know, Jenkins is the only 1st round bust. A horrible pick that haunts Baalke, I’m sure.

        You guys really need to think these things through.

        1. Aldon was a star, and Armstead has the looks of a developing star. Ward is turning into a lockdown, slot corner, which is a very tough position. Eric Reid made the pro bowl.

          So, if you guys have half a brain, and think these things through, you realize the AJ Jenkins pick, and just as importantly, Aldon Smith’s alcohol problem, skew the numbers.

          Come on guys, your smart enough to think these things through, aren’t you?

          1. No doubt, the AJ Jenkins pick was bad. But it came at the very end of the round. It’s a pick that Baalke should be criticized for. However the other 4 first rounders were excellent, IMO, considering 2 of the 4 were also late round picks.

            1. However the other 4 first-round picks were excellent picks, IMO, especially considering 2 of those 4 also came at the end of the round.

          2. Pittsburgh, New England, Seattle, Green Bay have all been picking in the last half of the 1st round for years but they still manage to have good drafts. Baalke has been awful and the on-field results proves that point. This scientific ranking based on actual performance RELATIVE TO DRAFT POSITION proves it. This ranking takes into account the teams draft position so your point is moot. From the article:

            “the ranking is essentially based on a formula that determines which teams have done the best job of drafting players who exceeded the expectations of their draft slot during their first four seasons in the league.”

            If you had actually bothered to read the article before commenting then you wouldn’t look so silly right now. Blaming Baalkes abysmal performance on draft position is ludicrous.

            Come on, you’re smart enough to think these things through aren’t you?

            1. Houston, go ahead and ignore what I said about Aldon. If it makes you feel better.

              Unless you hold that pick against Baalke, this AV is obviously skewed.

              1. reasons, go ahead and ignore the fact that this ranking takes into account draft position so your entire point is meaningless. You also neglect to realize the ranking uses the players first 4 years in the league so Baalke gets full credit for Aldon Smith’s contributions. Again, your point is meaningless.

                Dude, just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.

      2. Grant, recent press chatter linked McCloughan to the Mike Nolan/Alex Smith-over-Aaron Rodgers decision – does that sound right to you? otherwise, McCloughan seemed to have a magic touch.

    1. McCloughan’s last two drafts were pretty bad. He was better than Baalke, but he was doing a poor job too by the time he was fired.

    2. It was March 2010. Some want to credit him with that draft, others not so much. I say he was gone 2 months before the picks were made, he gets little credit, its Baalkes’ (and wasn’t he the head scout as well, he helped with the guys picked).

      So under Baalkes watch you had Davis, Iupati, Aldon, Jenkins, Reid, Ward, Armstead. Too early to tell with Ward and especially Armstead, but Reid, Aldo, Iupati and Davis (before retirement) are damn good players…

      The prior 5 years were better, but Kentwan Balmer??

      And lets not go back before that when it was Rashan Woods, Mike Rumph, and Kwame Harris…ughhhh

  1. I didn’t need an article to tell me that our drafts suck, the proof of that has been on the field.

    1. The only opinion that matters on this topic is Cassie Baalke’s. If she’s fine with the quality of drafts then we all need to just accept that poor on-field performance is not reflective of the outstanding players drafted by Trent.

  2. Baalke Timeline

    2005 to 2007 – 49ers Western Region Scout
    2008 to 2009 – 49ers Director of player personnel
    2010 – Lead 49ers draft in place of McCloughan (queue debate on who really ran that draft)
    2011 – 49ers present General manager

    What it took to build the 2011 team

    2005 – Alex Smith – 1
    2005 – Frank Gore – 65
    2006 – Vernon Davis – 6
    2007 – Patrick Willis – 11
    2007 – Joe Staley – 28
    2008 – Justin Smith – 4 (Free Agent $45m)
    2009 – Michael Crabtree – 10
    2010 – Anthony Davis – 11
    2010 – Mike Iupati – 17
    2010 – Novorrow Bowman – 91
    2011 – Aldon Smith – 7

    Years it took acquire them – 7
    Key players – 11
    First round draft picks – 9
    Top 11 draft picks – 7
    Years of losing football it took to acquire all these high picks (2004-2010) – 7

    7 top 11 picks is telling. Draft – Slot – Matters

        1. Interesting stuff. I’ll try to read up more no AV when I can.

          When assessing drafts relative to player production, should recent drafts factor into it? Players with the same ability are more likely to get snaps in years 3-5 relative to their rookie seasons.

          This is no blanket defense of Baalke. He’s made some bad assessments. 2012 was awful. Lots of misses since.

          This is Baalkes first “McCloughan draft slot” draft. I’m hoping for a star player.

          1. It appears that cape is cutting off essential blood flow to your vital regions. Scott McCloughan built a championship team in SF. He then moved to Seattle and Built a championship team and a super bowl winning team. Now he has gone to Washington and in his first season, they made the playoffs.

            Please stop with the apologetic approach of protecting Baalke. There is no where in his career that he can look back on and point to success. Your attempt to paint Baalke as a talent scout under McCloughan is mute because one has had success without the other. McCloughan is probably one of the best talent scouts in the history of the NFL.

            McCloughan did not hire Singletary. He did not hire Nolan. He was told by the ownership who to hire. In spite of poor coaching the talent was on the team. When he left, the influx of talent stopped. Then, not even phenomenal coaching could hide the deficiencies in the coaching scheme.

            1. He built a championship team that never won a championship and it took him 6 drafts to do it (and then another in 2011)???

              You give him way too much credit, if he was as good as you’ve claimed he would have solidified the oline and wr position in years 1 and 2, not had your 20 year old rookie qb take a pounding with crap to throw to.

        2. Yah, and also the fluke of Aldon Smith, right? I guess Baalke should have known he would LATER develop a substance abuse issue ?

          1. The AV is the type of thing that can be skewed, even if 4 of the 5 first round picks develop into excellent players. 1 bust, and 1 player, out of the league on substance abuse, skew the numbers, no?

            There is no question, Baalke and Harbaugh erred on the AJ Jenkins, put a name in an envelope pick.

            But, unless you take into account that one of the players was also breaking NFL records, but counts against the AV thanks to substance abuse, Baalke would be ahead of where he drafted.

            Maybe you hold him accountable for Aldon’s personal issues? I don’t know if that’s fair?

            1. Just remember this.

              26 players Baalke drafted over the last 3 years are still on the roster. The Chicago Bears have only 17 players TOTAL on their roster, whom they drafted.

              Nuff said!

            1. Show me where “alcoholic” is listed as a risk?

              Wonderlic score? Really dude?

              If your going to blame Baalke for not predicting Aldon’s substance abuse, then you aren’t worth debating, IMO.

              Guys like you will never be convinced with common sense. You’re going to believe what you want to believe, regardless of the circumstances.

              1. I sure hope Baalke isn’t using SIGMA as a baseline for his first round selections!

                That would be an even bigger mistake than not being a psychic, right Houston?

              2. Well, genius, you are saying Baalke couldn’t have known Aldon would flake out so the AV is skewed because of something unpredictable. That’s provably false. There were plenty of pre-draft red flags on Aldon that clearly predicted he was a major risk.

              3. Your’e right Houston, Baalke isn’t psychic and he doesn’t have a crystal ball in order to predict a player will develop an alcohol abuse problem.

                Who cares if Aldon was breaking NFL records, and there was nothing specific that would indicate alcoholism, specifically?

                What a horrible pick.

              4. Sure, there were some red flags. Many, many players have those.

                Aldon was never arrested. No public record of arrest, or law breaking.

                If you’re going to eliminate players like that, even with his obvious level of talent, then your draft record will end up worse than Baalke’s GUARANTEED!

              5. Sorry Houston, you’ve lost the argument.

                There is no team in the league taking players off the board for those reasons.

              6. And I haven’t even mentioned the “luck” factor.

                Bottom line, everyone knows, a lot of it is simply blind luck. If if Baalke has had some bad luck, which he obviously has, then the law of averages says it will balance out eventually.

                Which would suggest this draft will be a good one.

              7. AJ Jenkins was not a bad luck pick. That was a bad pick, poorly evaluated, and poorly selected.

                And that’s a pick you can criticize Baalke for. No doubt. But Aldon? No fricken way!

              8. An arrogant selection and a very humbling reminder, probably was thrown in his face with disdain by Harbaugh on numerous occasions. The 2012 draft class ushered in the Harbaughcalypse and is the reason we find ourselves in the untenable situation we’re in….

              9. The AV takes into account a players “FIRST FOUR YEARS IN THE LEAGUE.” So Baalke got full credit for Aldon’s glory years and he still has been in charge of the 4th worst draft record of the past 5 years.

                You have revealed you didn’t even read the article. You only jumped in to defend Baalke without even knowing how the AV works. Just go bask in your ignorance and come back when you care to actually educate yourself.

              10. Jim Harbaugh had his hand in the Jenkins pick, so I highly doubt that he was arrogant enough to throw it in Baalke’s face.

              11. Harbaugh was not involved in the hermetically sealed envelope containing the name of A. J. Jenkins. Baalke was high on himself and actually believed himself to be the draft ninja….

    1. Two awful drafts

      Year – Chart Value – Players
      2008 – 1,463 – Balmer, Rachal, Regie Smith, Cody Wallace, Josh Morgan, Larry Grant
      2012 – 1,031 – Jenkins, LMJ, Looney, Fleming, Robinson, Slowey, Johnson

      1. Problem is this article talks about 1st round only…which shows its a worthless article.

        The draft is so much more than the 1st round. How many times do we need to list of guys like Montana, Brady, R. Wilson, Favre, Brees, etc etc etc, that weren’t 1st round picks and are HOF and Future HOF players. And its not just qbs, we as niners fans know how productive guys like Gore, Owens, Bowman and many others were for this team.

  3. I really hope that Baalke does not have sole power over who to draft. I hope it is a consensus decision, and Chip gets to have lots of input on the first 2 choices.

    1. I seem to recall someone declaring that Baalke was “hitting it out of the ballpark” during the last draft.

      1. What’s not to like? Doesn’t change the fact he should have been fired with Tomsula, or that he whiffed on an entire draft class, which in turn set the franchise back at least 3 years. With 12 picks at his disposal and the holes he helped to create, he needs to show up and perform so this team can improve their performances….

  4. Grant

    What’s really interesting here is how this calculus seems not to correlate with success, don’t you think? For instance, the Raiders are at 31, and teams like Seattle, Green Bay, and New England rank near or below the 49ers.

    If teams build through the draft, some teams must really excel in the lower rounds (Seattle), and that must make a huge difference.

      1. You say that like its a GOOD thing. Seattle has had some big big misses in the first round.

        2008 – Lawrence Jackson
        2009 – Aaron Curry
        2010 – Russel Okung
        2010 – Earl Thomas
        2011 – James Carpenter
        2012 – Bruce Irvin
        2013 – Traded for Percy Harvin
        2014 – Traded out of first, took Paul Richardson in the 2nd.
        2015 – Traded Max unger and their First round pick for Jimmy Graham.
        That’s one or two hits with 3 total busts and some awful trades.

          1. Seahawks helped build their roster by poaching Niners. Maybe the Niners should employ that strategy with other playoff teams, too.

          1. Or is it development, that’s been the difference?

            If memory serves me correctly, The Chickenhawks received poor grades, directly proceeding those drafts, by the media at large for at least 2, maybe all 3 of those drafts.

      2. It’s all riding on the next 3 days. Baalke can make or break his career in the span of the next 3 days, IMO.

        Believe me, if he chokes this year, I’m going postal!

        1. You will know how I feel about this draft if you don’t read me around this blog for a while, after it’s conclusion.

          I’ll be in therapy.

  5. I believe this ranking will change after this season. I think Armstead and Ward will shine this season and as long as Reid stays healthy he will be solid. There is nothing that can be done to change the Jenkins pick and I imagine thats the pick that skews the avg.

    1. Reid looks even bigger than last year, reminds me of Laron Landry, obviously not as big, but he’s getting there. It would be nice if all that muscle would translate into some monstrous hits on the field.

      1. I’m wondering of Reid’s held back because of the concussions. Either holding himself back a little, or the staff having him changing his tackling style?

        I’m hoping O’Neil’s defense doesn’t have him running around too much pre snap. He still needs work on tackling angles.

        1. He needs to change his tackling style. I’m tired of seeing him launch himself shoulder first at his opponent with his arms down. Some of these guys need to go back to pop warner to learn the basics …Square up, hit with your facemask and wrap up!

    2. I’m don’t put alot of stock on all those “last [number] of drafts” articles because they include rookie seasons.

      It overlooks “traits” prospects. Developmental players that might not shine until year two or even three. Armstead, Tartt, Bell are “traits” picks. Gamble picks with high ceilings.

    3. Yep, I agree OC. The ranking of the past 5 years could easily look a lot better if Armstead and Ward keep improving, which I think they will.

  6. I posted my trade down mock earlier, today I will post my standing pat mock.

    Rd 1 Ronnie Stanley OT ND
    Rd 2 Noah Spence OLB W Ky
    Rd 2 Kamalei Correa OLB Boise
    Rd 3 Kevin Hogan QB Stan
    Rd 4 Nick Kwiatkos ILB WV
    Rd 4 Keyarois Garrett WR Tulsa
    Rd 5 Jared Norris ILB Utah
    Rd 5 Tyler Ervin RB SJ St
    Rd 5 Tyler Higbee TE W Ky
    Rd 6 Quintan Jefferson DT Maryland
    Rd 6 LaQuan McGowan OL Baylor
    Rd 6 Caleb Benenoch OT UCLA

    1. I really hope the Niners draft Ervin. Round 3 is a tad high for Hogan by CW, but I think he’s still a good value in that round. Spence is a bit of a character risk but calculated character risks at QB and pass rusher is often worth taking.

    2. + Spence, Correa, Hogan, Ervin.

      I’ll feel “blah” about Stanley, but blah doesn’t mean a bad pick. If he develops more strength and power he could turn out to be a fantastic pro bowl LT.

      1. Brodie,
        I feel pretty blah about most 1st Rd Oline picks there just not sexy but after last year its pretty clear how important they are.

        1. I remember the AD/Iupati draft. Baalke even traded up in the first to choose AD. Felt blah, but produced results.

    3. I only know three of these players — Stanley, Hogan, and Ervin — and I like them and think they would be good fits, especially the first two. Hogan IMO could eventually be an elite QB in the league, a more mobile Brady. I know that’s really stretching it, but when Brady was drafted most probably viewed him as a backup.

        1. I’m just not a Hogan guy. Don’t see him as being anything more than a journeyman in the NFL. I’d rather the 9ers go OL again or ILB in the 3rd.

  7. The AV metric may not very good for assessing draft quality since it does not reward or penalize teams for success or failure based on draft position. For example, picking a starter picked in the first round should be awarded fewer points than penalty points taken away for picking a bust in the first round. Additionally, any quantitative assessment of the draft quality has to be normalized against statistical chance of success at that pick position.

  8. All PD 49ers GM’s

    It would interesting to come back on Sunday and review how players we mock’d that were actually selected by the 49ers.

    The person with the most players chosen get’s bragging rights as the PD GM of the Year for 2016.

    Are you in?

    1. I’m in. I am amending what I think the 49ers WILL do to reflect the following selections by Baalke (NOT in order of draft round):

      1. DeForest Buckner, DE
      2. Rees Odhiambo, G
      3. Fahn Cooper, OT
      4. DJ Reader, NT
      5. Daniel Lasco, RB
      6. Kamalei Correa, OLB
      7. Eric Murray, CB
      8. Matt Weiser, TE
      9. Malcolm Mitchell, WR
      10. Vernon Adams, QB

      P.S. Niners will want Connor Cook, but it sounds like the Browns are looking to draft him at the start of Round 2. Joe Licata, QB, will be an undrafted free agent invite.

      P.P.S. This draft is not reflective of what I would do as GM. Of course, Baalke is the professional…

    1. I will celebrate Draftivus on Saturday night, that’s Draftmas for the rest of us.

      After having observed Feats of Futility from the front offices in general for three days, I open a bottle of cab to begin the Airing of the Grievances about the Niners selections and, of course, Baalke’s inability to pick players on offense….

  9. Before Myles Jack’s knee issue cropped up, many pegged Bosa or Buckner at 7. Had my heart set on getting one of them.

    Now its understood Myles Jack knee issue is real. I don’t know how severe, but its there. A real possibility of future microfracture surgery.

    That leaves Stanley, who could turn out to be a really good pick. He could be good trade back bait with the Titans too.

    If the Elliott or Stanley going somewhere 3-6 rumors are true, it puts Bosa, Buckner (and possibly Tunsil?) in play at 7. The top of this draft will be very, very interesting.

      1. Could be the case. The only problem… Jack should be ready to play this year. That might take him off Baalke’s draft board.

    1. Don’t forget Ramsey Brodie. He could slide to the 49ers if the Chargers and Cowboys choose to not address their secondary with the first round picks.

      1. I’m assuming if one of Ramsey or Tunsil dropped, some teams would trade up for them.

        For example, if the Bowboys really did want Elliot, it makes sense for them to trade back a few slots. Maybe 7. And if another team leapfrogged 7 for Elliot, Dallas would have a shot at Bosa or Buckner.

        1. For example, if the Bowboys really did want Elliot, it makes sense for them to trade back a few slots.

          Not really. It’s been reported on NFL Network that Ravens would strongly consider taking Elliott if he fell to them. And then there’s the always looming prospect of a team trading up to snag Elliott.

  10. It’s not the first round picks that have been the most damaging. It’s Baalkes overall poor drafting: This article was posted yesterday but I’m posting it again as it appears some people cough..49reasons…cough failed to read it judging from the apologetic defense.

    The schism between Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers’ front office combined with early player retirements have really cloaked the fact that the 49ers have been the worst team on getting return from draft weekend over the past five years.

    No team has accumulated and made more picks than the 50 players the 49ers have selected, yet they rank 29th in return AV and dead last in return per pick (4.6). Nine of those 50 picks (18 percent) have yet to play a game in the NFL, the highest rate for any team over that span.


    No way to spin this one 49reasons.

    1. It is very interesting because in terms of getting value on draft day trades (pick wise) almost no one is better than Baalke. Sadly, while he consistently wins in that regard, the selections he has made has rendered his great trades worthless.

    2. Yep, its been the picks after round 1 that have been the real problem. Though again I think he’s done a better job the past two years, and we should start to see that this season.

  11. My last crack at a mock and predicting where Baalke goes with the first pick. I think it’s inevitable he’ll take the same player for the second year in a row. Just seems like a Baalke thing to do:

    7: DT DeForest Buckner – Oregon

    37: DE Shilique Calhoun – Michigan State

    68: OLB Deion Jones – LSU

    105: G Vadal Alexander – LSU

    133: CB Eric Murray – Minnesota

    142: TE Jerell Adams – South Carolina

    145: WR Charone Peake – Clemson

    174: RB Josh Ferguson – Illinois

    178: DT D.J. Reader – Clemson

    207: G Landon Turner – North Carolina

    211: OT Brandon Shell – South Carolina

    213: CB Daryl Worley – West Virginia

    I think they’ll add a QB in UDFA rather than use a pick on one. I don’t see Kap getting traded. Always possible, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to make it work with Denver not wanting to pay his guaranteed money.

    1. Nice rocket. I like the Buckner/Calhoun back to back, to ensure a pass rush. Big fan of both Adams, as per the PFF article Brodie2Washington posted, as well as DJ Reader. Not as sold on G Vadal Alexander; I would rather have Thuney.

  12. First round mock:

    Rams – Jared Goff
    Eagles – Carson Wentz
    Chargers – Laremy Tunsil
    Cowboys – Joey Bosa
    Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey
    Ravens – Ronnie Stanley
    49ers – DeForest Buckner
    Browns – Laquon Treadwell
    Bucs – Vernon Hargreaves
    Giants – Jack Conklin
    Bears –Ezekiel Elliott
    Saints – Sheldon Rankins
    Dolphins – Shaq Lawson
    Raiders – Myles Jack
    Titans – Taylor Decker
    Lions – Kevin Dodd
    Falcons – Reggie Ragland
    Colts – Leonard Floyd
    Bills – Jarran Reed
    Jets – Paxton Lynch
    Skins – Darron Lee
    Texans – A’Shawn Robinson
    Vikings – Josh Doctson
    Bengals – Corey Coleman
    Steelers – William Jackson III
    Seahawks – Andrew Billings
    Packers – Germain Ifedi
    Chiefs – Eli Apple
    Cardinals – Ryan Kelly
    Panthers – Mackensie Alexander
    Broncos – Connor Cook

    1. I wouldn’t touch him. There’s already one weak knee player in the middle of this defense, and I don’t see the advantage of adding another….

        1. I started out with Jaylon Smith and then when he went down my attention turned to Jack. Now that he’s got a small cavity forming within his knee, Buckner, Bosa or Ramsey….

          1. Still bummed about Jaylon Smith. My only consolation is that if he was healthy he’d have been taken before #7 anyway!

            1. I’m bummed about Jaylon and Myles… I felt like with both healthy (or at least assumed to be healthy at the start of the season) one of them could have fallen to #7

            2. It was heartbreaking. Reminded me of the Bryant Young injury. Not in visible gruesomeness, but just how it made your heart sink to the pit of your stomach. He was fun to watch here locally and he would have been another great ND player to add to the 49ers legacy. I would have found a way to trade for him….

    1. Now let’s see if he can (a) maintain that weight (b) play at that weight and keep his speed and agility, and (c) translate the added weight to added power.

        1. I sure hope you are wrong! But getting up to 270lbs in one offseason has me worried he hasn’t added good weight, and might therefore be at the expense of some of his quickness.

  13. Add Reggie Ragland to the list of ILB prospects that could be drafted later than first thought. He has an enlarged aorta.

    1. Apparently Darron Lee is also considered a chance to go lower than most expect, but not for any medical reasons. ILBs may be falling.

  14. I have just two wants in this draft.
    1st Myles Jack
    2nd my Sooners DE Charles Tapper
    Kids motor doesn’t stop and could easily become a dominate OLB if not DE!
    I hope they can snatch him in the 3rd

  15. On Rotoworld:

    Reporting live from 49ers headquarters, ESPN’s Bob Holtzman said to “keep an eye on DeForest Buckner and Myles Jack” for San Francisco in the first round.

    The Niners would be an obvious landing spot for Jack; 49ers GM Trent Baalke has never been shy about drafting players with medical concerns, and San Francisco never found a 2015 replacement for Patrick Willis and Chris Borland alongside Navorro Bowman. Buckner, who played for Chip Kelly at Oregon, would book end college teammate Arik Armstead on San Francisco’s line.

  16. Anybody else have any snacks they like to have on hand during the draft? I like to have a glass jar filled with red and yellow peanut M&M’s sitting out at all times….

    1. I do, but I can’t touch them thanks in part to being slapped on a low sodium diet.

  17. All I ask for Draftmas is no reaches or projects taken in the first three rounds. Please draft the BPA as let’s face it, the Niners need upgrades at every position, except maybe safety.

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