49ers GM Lynch still mum on team’s draft plans

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch speaks to reporters at the team’s football facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, April 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SANTA CLARA — John Lynch may or may not pick well during the upcoming NFL draft, which starts Thursday. But, at least he won’t make the envelope mistake.

The 49ers GM made that clear Monday during his pre-draft press conference with Bay Area reporters.

Lynch’s predecessor, Trent Baalke, invented the envelope mistake. He smugly announced during his pre-draft press conference in 2012 that he had written the name of the player he intended to draft, and sealed that name in an envelope. The player was wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, one of the biggest busts in 49ers franchise history. He’s no longer in the league. And neither is Baalke.

The envelope sealed his fate.

Here’s what Lynch said Monday about his approach to the draft, and his plans for the 49ers first round pick:

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This article has 203 Comments

  1. “The envelope sealed his fate”

    Not hardly dude. Baalke lasted for a loooong time after A J Jenkins.

    But then again, accuracy isn’t your strong suit.

    1. Yes definitely! This guys is all football and improving every single year. Can’t wait to see it pay off this season. Nice to have a real leader at the position again.

  2. “……..No longer in the League. And neither is Baalke.”
    Is this one of those ‘Alternative Facts’? Baalke is indeed currently employed in the NFL, for those who appreciate Actual Facts.

    1. Indeed!

      From Wikipedia: “Baalke currently holds a position as a Football Operations Consultant for the NFL. In this advisory role for NFL, he works on game-related matters, player development, evaluation, and officiating video review.”

    2. I don’t even get the title to this article. The word “still” is included as if it is expected that GMs provide the populace with their draft plans and/or that Lynch will provide them any minute now.

        1. Lynch is almost as closed off as Baalke. I feel like a dupe for thinking he was different. Sniff…

    3. I’m also not certain he announced this at his predraft press conference. If I remember correctly this story came out after the draft.

  3. The best decision making Lynch can do is to steer clear of any player with blatant red flags – avoid the Aldon Smiths, the Reuben Fosters and the Relondo McClains of the world – because history has shown that those players cannot shake their habits and behaviors and eventually implode.

    Hard for me to recall a player drafted who had some “red flag” issues, but then was able to have a “rebirth,” so to speak.

    1. Frank Clark of the Seahawks. In November of 2014, Clark was arrested for domestic violence and dismissed from the Michigan football team.

      NFL statistics:
      2016: 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
      2017: 9 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

    2. Hard for me to recall a player drafted who had some “red flag” issues, but then was able to have a “rebirth,” so to speak.

      Tyrann Mathieu and Tyreek Hill, just to name a couple.

      1. There are a number of examples. Grant didn’t have time to research because he’s ranting about Buster Posey being overrated. Priorities.

    3. I would name Warren Sapp. I remember him dropping and after being picked, he was nearly in tears.

      1. Here lies the problem with that thought process. An apparently clean prospect could wind up having the red flags show up during his professional career, while a red flag prospect could clean up his act and go on to have a successful career.

    4. The honey badger had a lot of character concerns. Has been a model citizen since entering league

  4. Trading up is good, trading down is good, staying pat is good, all is good in Niner land. I don’t want much – bona fide pass rusher, linebacker, tackle will make my day on draft day.

    1. Round 1 Pick 15 (ARI): Landry, Harold, OLB/DE, Boston College (B+)
      Round 2 Pick 15 (ARI): Crosby, Tyrell, OT, Oregon (A-)
      Round 2 Pick 27: Jones II, Ronald, RB, Southern California (A)
      Round 3 Pick 6: Ragnow, Frank, C/OG, Arkansas (A-)
      Round 3 Pick 10: Baker, Jerome, OLB, Ohio State (A)
      Round 3 Pick 33 (ARI): Cain, Deon, WR, Clemson (A+)
      Round 4 Pick 28: McFadden, Tarvarus, CB, Florida State (A)
      Round 5 Pick 6: Scales, Tegray, ILB, Indiana (B+)
      Round 6 Pick 10: Joseph, Michael, CB, Dubuque (A+)
      Round 7 Pick 9: Bellamy, Davin, OLB, Georgia (A+)
      Round 7 Pick 22: Joseph, Sebastian, DT, Rutgers (A-)

          1. I don’t know Razor, I don’t put in the time necessary to do a mock. Have to admit tho I have done more this year then years before.

            1. James, I love hard hitting tough football players. Versatile
            2. Sweat, I am a sucker for tough ‘minded’ players. His knee……
            3. Crosby, glad to see this Duck finally getting some love. Good fit.
            4. Meeks, I think he will excel under the tutelage of Sherman.

            I know, no linebacker but I don’t know enough to pick one in the later stages of the draft.

            Really tho the first pick will dictate how the rest pans out. I am on board with Landry, Fitz, Smith, Edmunds, Nelson, Chubb as a stay at nine pick. Landry is better pick after a trade down but still at nine would be ok.

      1. ┈┈┈┈┈┈▕▔╲

          1. Thought you deserved something special for your emphasis on the OL early. I think we can win it all this year, but our real championship window starts in 2019. I’d like to have our OL in place and working as a well oiled machine by then. With Staley, Richburg, two high draft picks, and whoever emerges as the other G.

  5. “Last year, the 49ers traded up three times: Once in Round 1 to take linebacker Reuben Foster, once in Round 3 to take quarterback C.J. Beathard and once in Round 4 to take running back Joe Williams.”

    In hindsight, these selections were unwise.

    1. Well… IMO, a little early to pass judgement on Beathard and Williams. CJB showed some moxie, and Williams was placed on IR. Admittedly Williams didn’t stand out, but being stashed on IR wasn’t a bad thing. I’m interested in seeing how he does. Let’s come back and visit this in January.

      1. I believe Joe Williams does not have the mental toughness to fight for a roster spot, let alone work his tail -off for a big role.

        The signing of McKinnon should be a huge signal to Williams that he will need to line his head up with his legs.

        We could use a RB that can provide the hard 3-5 yard runs between the tackles. Juice could provide this but his strength is lead blocking and making the occasional catch out of the backfield.
        Williams certainly has the physical makeup to meet this need and more, but his biggest battle in TC might be against himself.

  6. I wouldn’t put Foster in the same category as AJ Jenkins in terms of draft mistakes. Foster can play. He was undoubtedly a 1st round talent. AJ Jenkins couldn’t play. He was a late round talent or even an undrafted FA that Baalke chose in the first round exposing his incompetence as a talent evaluator of WRs. Foster may ultimately be a mistake but I don’t blame Lynch for rolling the dice on a guy with Foster’s talent.

    1. Jenkins was not a late round or UDFA talent. Every team had him in the top 3 rounds, some higher than others, some lower than others.

      The guy was drafted 30th, a bit high vs what a lot of others projected, but its not like it was so far outside his projection.

      And look at the other WRs drafted in 2012: Justin Blackmon started strong but out of the league by year 3, Michael Floyd also had a few pretty good years but he put up 78 yards all of last year, Kendall Wright has avg 500 yards over his 6 year career (you expect better from 1st round, 3rd WR taken). You then have Jenkins, obviously flamed out (might have been something in a different situation?), but following him is Brian Quick, 1st pick of 2nd round, has averaged 250 yards a season. Then Stephen Hill (wasn’t this Grants boy??), he was done after 2 years. Finally you get to Alshon Jeffery, obviously the WR all these teams should have chose, him or TY Hilton, who came off the board at the end of the 3rd round.

      That draft wasn’t very strong for WRs. Hindsight shows who should have been taken but a lot of the guys taken around Jenkins are just as throw away as him. Brian Quick and Stephen Hill had about as much impact in the league as Jenkins did. Such is the life of the draft, a team really only hits on maybe 2 to 3 picks.

      What I’m upset is that Nick Toon didn’t have a career, his dad was a beast, short lived though.

      1. Perhaps I should clarify. I wasn’t talking about pre-draft analysis of Jenkins. I meant his actual talent level was late round or UFA but Baalke took him in the first round. I don’t recall anyone having Jenkins listed as a first round talent. I think I remember anywhere from rounds 2-5. I recall it being an absolute shocker when the 49ers called Jenkins name. After watching Foster last year, I don’t think anyone can deny the guy has legit 1st round physical talent. It’s his UFA brain that gets him in trouble.

    1. Well, at least he got the position right. Seems like Barrows should have picked Landry according to this statement he made in the article (he refers to Davenport):

      “Is he refined? No, he isn’t. He doesn’t have a full arsenal of fancy moves like Boston College’s Harold Landry. He’s not a technician like Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard.”

      1. Razor,
        Thanks for the link.
        I touted Davenport last month (Edmunds as well) but just like Barrows, I see him as a project even with his incredible measurement’s.

        Like Thomas last year, Landry is a safe pick but to a smaller extent when compared to Davenport, he will still need to develop more pass rush technique to supplement his speed.

        Barrows does bring up an interesting point in saying that Selah has noted that he wants “violence” on defense and if that is truly the case – Welcome Marcus Davenport.

    2. I like Davenport but later than #9 if they trade back I believe he would be a very good pick. imho

    3. Davenport is like Josh Allen in that he has all the talent in the world, but doesn’t play up to it. No way I’d take him in the first round never mind at #9.

    4. Raz

      I think that this is the first time that I have so strongly backed Barrows choices…It is determined that our greatest need in the upcoming draft is for an edge rusher…and the best IMHO is Marcus Davenport…what with size, speed, strength, and attitude, is the favorite of MOST of the experts in the field, and my own personal choice at # 9, ( or whatever our first pick is). It’s like the Landry afficianados are trying to stuff the vote box….If we can land Davenport, and back that up with Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James…we’ll be in grand shape with or without Nelson…( rather WITH )

      1. In the interest of full disclosure, I cast one ballot for Landry. I cannot in good conscience attach my name to Davenport anywhere in the first round….

        1. That’s why Jerry hasn’t been working in our scouting department. I’d give Gore a job if he’s interested.

        2. I don’t get the Landry pick. Another DE…?

          Don’t we have enough 1st round picked D Linemen?

          1. It’s very simple. We do not have a player on the roster that can do what Landry can. He’s the perfect compliment to what we have inside with Buckner. I see them becoming our Smith Bros. 2.0.

  7. eMJay

    Thank you for the post on AJJenkins…It is the most comprehensive explanation I have read as to ‘Why’ or How…

    1. In the unlikely event that they decide to not make any trades this is how it will go down:

      #9 Roquan Smith LB – Good bye Reuben, such a waste of talent.
      #59 Josh Sweat -DE-
      #70 DeShon Elliott -S-
      #74 Brandon Parker -OT-
      #128 Duke Dawson -CB-
      #143 Tre’ Williams -LB-
      #184 Will Clapp -C-
      #227 Daurice Fountain -WR-
      #240 Darrel Williams -RB-

      1. I’d like to see them draft Will Clapp if only for the fun we can have with the nickname. First attempt: Will “got tha” Clapp.

          1. Isaiah 55:12:
            You will go out in joy, and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field Will Clapp their hands.

        1. I love Wyatt Teller for his spaghetti western attitude, and toughness. Just can’t trust him to show up every week to the gunfight….

      2. Biderman’s power rankings:

        1. Chubb
        2. Landry
        3. Smith
        4. James
        5. Barkley
        6. Fitzgerald
        7. Edmunds
        8. Nelson

        1. I agree with these rankings more than most I’ve read. I would put Rosen and Darnold in there somewhere, but that’s about it. This “Barkley is the best player in the draft” consensus has become group think instead of analysis.

      3. @CFC, I’m not a doctor, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I think Sweat comes off the board in the 1st round….

  8. So the envelope sealed Baalke’s fate? Cutting Foster would seal Lynch’s fate? Jenkins was drafted in 2012. Baalke was our GM through 2016. Lynch ain’t going anywhere.

  9. Ideally I’d like to see the team come away with Nelson on Thursday night. I don’t believe it’s out of the realm of possibilities that the team would be willing to trade up it’s just a matter of what the price is and if a team like Denver would even be willing to pass on him themselves.

    I believe Nelson is the best player in the draft. An elite lineman(even a guard) still holds more value to me then an elite RB especially long term. After Nelson I’d say Derwin James is the next best player. Likely gone before #9 and not really worth trading up for given the players we already have.

    If the Bears take Roquan Smith and the 49ers don’t move out of #9 then I would think Fitz is highly likely.

    Do they take Sutton? To me this would be one of the more surprising moves they could make on Thursday. Which might make it the one we should all expect.

    1. Coffee’s for Closers® says:
      April 24, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      I believe Nelson is the best player in the draft. An elite lineman(even a guard) still holds more value to me then an elite RB especially long term. After Nelson I’d say Derwin James is the next best player. Likely gone before #9 and not really worth trading up for given the players we already have.

      I’m in lock step agreement with this statement. WRT Sutton, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him still on the board in round 2.

    2. I don’t think they’d move up for Nelson although he is possibly the best player in the draft. If he falls to #9 then good chance he’s the pick. Sutton would be a really bad pick. If for some reason they feel like they want him in the first, they have to find a trade down for whatever they can get.

      1. I’ve been skeptical of any move up in the 1st, but jumping to 7 for Nelson if he’s there wouldn’t chap my hide. I think Da Bears are a threat for QN at #8.

        1. Agreed on both counts BT. I’d be ok with a small jump if he’s there and if they want him they’d have to trade ahead of the Bears because you know his College Coach is already pounding the table in the Bear war room.

  10. https://www.ndtscouting.com/ledyard-2018-nfl-draft-final-positional-rankings-edge-defenders/

    Marcus Davenport
    “He’s a good athlete who plays hard and flashes good pass rush ideas, he’s just a lot further off from being a high-impact player than people think.”

    Harold Landry
    “The vast majority of elite pass rushers in the NFL have to be able to win around the outside of the tackle, and nobody in this class does that better than Landry. He’s got all the traits, production and tape you want at the position. How he isn’t getting top ten hype I just do not understand.”

    1. I’m worried about Fangio taking him if Nelson and Smith are off the board. I like that Landry is flying under the radar a little bit, but that could be a mirage. I mean, we’re talking about a guy that was ranked #3 in the country coming into the season, and he has no known character risks or surgeries….

      1. Edmunds or Fitz if that scenario plays out. I was thinking that Fitz would allow Witherspoon to take more chances. Creating turnovers was one of the things I liked about Ahkello as a prospect last year.

        1. I’d have no trepidation about facilitating a move down with the Cardinals so they can grab one of these quarterbacks. Give me that 2nd and 3rd round pick, and help yourself….

          According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Cardinals are “making a lot of noise about moving up” in the first round.

    2. How he isn’t getting top ten hype I just do not understand.”

      Doesn’t make any sense. Explosive pass rushers like this don’t come along often. It’s like some have allowed for the fact he had a bad ankle this season, but then don’t account for it in their rankings. Lot of short sightedness going on and I can’t see anyway NFL teams aren’t locked onto this kid.

      1. How confident are you Landry can Play without his hand in the dirt. We’ve talked about this, I LOVE him as the “shock” early pick and can’t see him getting past my Bears

        Jon Ledyard

        Verified account

        31m31 minutes ago
        More Jon Ledyard Retweeted B
        Very confident, but I don’t think the Bears are taking Landry (even though I would)

      2. rocket,
        The reason why Landry is not viewed as a top 10 by many outlets are the same reasons that have been highlighted by a few here – lack of hand technique and lack of power.

        Landry will not be successful if he relies on just running outside the tackle. Davenport is raw, but he is fast enough to run around as well as more than strong enough to run over the tackle.
        Bottom line, they both do share one thing – they are not top 10 picks.
        Roquan or Minkah will be our pick.

        1. Landry beat Davenport in the bench press by 2 reps, and blew him away in the 3 cone, which lends to my belief that he’s a straight line rusher. We have plenty of those. Landry is the perfect compliment to what we have. Landry 6.88, Davenport 7.2. 10 yard splits, Landry 1.59, Davenport 1.62. Shuttle, Landry 4.19, Davenport 4.41.

          1. Razor,
            There’s bench pressing and there’s physically beating the person in front of you.
            I’ll take the latter. Davenport runs circles around Landry in the violent department.
            Lot of love for Landry around here and that’s well and good. I’m just not part of the love fest (especially at #9).

            1. Davenport runs circles around Landry in the violent department.

              That’s not the take I get after viewing the tape. This violence tag that Davenport has received is puzzling to me, as is the “ragdoll” term that seems to attach itself to Landry when described by his detractors. Another is this one dimensional talk, when Davenport has nothing more than a bull rush. That’s it. He’s not an edge rusher. Bull rush we don’t need. We need edge pressure, proven and consistent. No one’s better at it than Landry….

              1. Nice #80!!!

                When he was at BC, he lined up against ND
                They always laughed at him, flattened like a pa-ni-ni

                Called him…..Rag Doll
                Little…..Rag Doll

              2. I guess what I was trying to say is that impressive combine numbers sometimes don’t translate to the playing field.
                Case in point; Orlando Brown Jr. put up horrible numbers at the combine, but when you look at his on field play he is one of the best Tackles in the draft.
                Some team is going to look past his combine stats and draft a darn good player.

                The same goes for Landry, having more weight reps than Davenport doesn’t show up as much in his game play. But looking at game film play Davenport plays much stronger than Landry. I really don’t think it’s even close.

              3. Razor,
                I’m not a Landry detractor, I just happen to see the #9 pick as a total mixed-bag. There are around 4 players we could take with our #9 pick and I don’t see Landry (or Davenport) getting drafted at that spot.

                But as I said last month if Lynch is smitten by Landry then he should draft him at 9. If Lynch believes in Landry why make a deal to draft him later in rd 1 since he will certainly be there for us at the 9 spot.

                Minkah, Roquan, Derwin, Nelson and McGlinchey might be available if we stay put at 9. Do you pass on any of these guys for Landry if they are still on board?
                I wouldn’t, and there may be some that may say the same thing. That doesn’t make me/some detractors, it only speaks to the strong possibility that Landry may be seen by the Org like others here view him.

                “Another is this one dimensional talk, when Davenport has nothing more than a bull rush.” If his bull-rush gets him to the QB isn’t that all that matters?
                Style points don’t count when it comes to sacks.

            1. No he wasn’t actually. He was double teamed by arguably the two best OL prospects in the draft.

              1. I’ve watched video (selected clips of course) of the ND game and he was handled rather roughly. Rag-dolled? Perhaps, perhaps not. Cool visual though. Going up against a top tier NFL OL could pose problems early in his career. Anyway, Landry does have much promise. As AES puts it, I’m not part of the love fest…at the #9 position.

              2. He was holding his own with McGlinchey and then Nelson came in and hammered him from the side. I don’t know any NFL pass rushers who would stand a chance in that situation.

                I’m not suggesting he will come in and dominate out of the gate but his speed will give a lot of NFL OTs problems and that’s just the tip of what he will eventually become.

              1. So, he was rag dolled when 2 first round picks combo blocked him on 1 play, and this is supposed to scare the niners away from him?

        2. AES,

          Landry is stronger and more technically skilled than Davenport. Davenport has great size and athleticism… and not much else. There aren’t many players I would be upset about the Niners taking but he would be one of them.

          1. rocket,
            Landry has never had to face NFL O-lineman on a weekly bases like he will in a few months when he comes to training camp.

            I will venture to say that the O-lineman he faces will be pretty strong. I see Davenport’ style actually being more suitable for the NFL because he is much more violent and plays stronger at the point of attack then Landry.
            If Landry can’t run around some tackles what else can he do?

            I respect your and Razor’ (and all others here) desire for Landry. Let’s just say that I’m not quite there.

            1. AES,

              Yes I know we aren’t going to get you to come over to the good side ;)

              This is not directed at you, but my biggest frustration through the whole process of talking Landry up has been the misrepresentation of him by so many people. Not just on here but on many draft sites as well. Somehow it became accepted that Landry wasn’t strong enough or big enough or was a liability against the run etc. and none of it is true. I’d just like the guy to be analyzed honestly. His size and strength are right there with some of the best pass rushers the league has seen over the past decade. He’s not undersized or lacking strength at all. He’s also able to set the edge against the run and there is plenty of video backing that up. Landry is going to be one of those guys who many will be talking about in a couple of years as somebody who came out of nowhere and it will be because they didn’t do their homework and just looked at the sack numbers for 2017.

              1. rocket,
                I don’t recall ever misrepresenting Landry’ ability as a pass-rusher and having talent.
                I’ve said from the jump that his speed and bend could be nullified by O-Cords and even mentioned a couple of scenarios on how to do this.
                1. use a RB to chip him if he gets around the tackle.
                2. slide the TE over to his side to slow him down.
                And I’ll add another strategy : just run right at him.

                This is something that adds to the mystery on here regarding the Landry love, if he’s really such an elite talent why are the same Landry followers wanting to pick him later in the draft?
                Seems to me that if he is the best pure pass rusher in the draft why wait?
                Guess I’ll find out in about 40 hrs.

    3. I don’t get it. In a league where stopping the QB is king, Landry should be very high on team’s draft boards.

  11. Here is my one-and-only mock draft for 2018. This is a combination of what general approach I think the 49ers will take, combined with which players I would select if I were GM. I tried to make realistic picks, and take players near or before where I think they will actually go in the draft. I see I have a number of picks in common with several other posters, and that’s awesome because great minds think alike! But these picks are all based on my own amateur-level evaluation of players.

    TRADE: The 49ers trade the #9 overall pick for Buffalo’s #12 and #65 overall picks. Buffalo pays a premium of the equivalent value of a compensatory third-round selection in this trade (1350 points from SF, 1465 points from BUF = 115 point differential) for the privilege of trading up to draft a QB. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan (“Lynahan”) love Harold Landry and don’t want to miss out on selecting him, so they drive a hard bargain on the trade down. And the Bills accept.

    #12 – R1P12
    Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

    Landry is THE missing puzzle piece to this defense. The “Seattle” (Pete Carroll) defense asks the LEO position to line up on all but the most obvious run situations and rush the passer like his hair is on fire. They deliberately split the LEO out wide to give him room to win with speed, explosion, and bend off the edge. Stopping the run is a secondary consideration for the LEO (although Landry can hold his own, and is underrated in the run game). Landry’s addition will force quarterbacks to step up into the waiting arms of Buckner, Thomas, and Armstead, who will rotate rushing from the interior like they are all meant to. Even if Landry himself doesn’t rack up double-digit sacks in his first year (unlikely for almost any rookie), the team sack total will dramatically improve due to his presence. The increased pressure will make the secondary’s job easier in coverage, improving the team’s play both in the middle of the field and on the back end. Saleh said early in the offseason that the defense did a good job on first and second down, but now they need to upgrade the edges and get off the field on third down. Landry makes that happen.

    TRADE: The 49ers trade the #59 and #70 overall picks for Washington’s #44 and #109 overall picks (550 points from SF, 536 points from WAS). The Skins have the fifth-least draft capital in 2018 after trading a third-round pick and elite slot CB Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs for Alex Smith. Daniel Snyder almost doesn’t make this trade because of bad blood with Mike and Kyle Shanahan, but relents when the 49ers upgrade their initial offer from #74 to #70 overall.

    #44 – R2P12
    Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

    After edge rusher, the next biggest “longterm” need for this team is a developmental OT prospect (I’d put corner third). The 49ers seem to recognize this, and they’ve met with eight tackle prospects so far. The fact that the 49ers and Joe Staley didn’t add any additional years to his two-year deal when they gave him a raise recently is a pretty strong tell that he only wants to play one or two more seasons. If I recall correctly, they actually had to talk him out of retiring before last season. Trent Brown’s contract expires after this year. And Gary Gilliam is nothing more than a backup swing tackle on a contender. So in the next two years, they will definitely need at least one (and maybe two) starting-quality tackles. Those don’t grow on trees, and you have to make them a priority in the draft. Unfortunately, this is an extremely weak OT class. Crosby is, in my opinion, by far the best value of the bunch (unless Connor Williams unexpectedly slides to the second round). Crosby would play guard this year and maybe next year while he develops his pass protection sets, and dominates in the run game in the meantime. If the 49ers decide they can commit to Trent Brown after this year, I think they move him to LT after Staley retires and slot Crosby in at RT; if Trent Brown walks, Crosby plays RT anyway. If the 49ers wait until #59, I think Crosby will be gone. So they make a modest move up for him at #44.

    #65 – R3P1
    Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

    The 49ers are gut-punched to see Carlton Davis taken toward the end of the second round about 10 picks before they select, but they are equally gobsmacked to see Anthony Miller still on the board. So they decide to wait on CB a little longer, and take the player I think is the best WR in the draft. Miller isn’t the biggest, and he doesn’t have “elite” speed. But he is both the best run blocker AND the best separator in the class, and I think Shanahan will absolutely love him. As a huge bonus, he is also somehow an elite red zone player, despite his average size, because of his extreme “my ball” mentality. Miller is explosive, can play inside and outside, and runs every route on the tree. He is a perfect fit for this team, and he is the selection despite WR being very low on my list of needs.

    #74 – R3P10
    Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford

    Honestly, this is the player that I most expect to end up on the 49ers out of the entire draft class. He simply makes too much sense. This might be a small reach for a player who is being seriously undervalued by draftniks, but after missing out on Carlton Davis the 49ers don’t take any chances and snag Meeks at #74 overall. Meeks’ strengths fit the demands of the corner position in Saleh’s defense, and his weaknesses are masked by it. Other than being 2 inches shorter, Meeks’ measurables are a near-identical match to Richard Sherman. Meeks is smart, tough, and will learn to play the position from the best possible tutor in the NFL.

    #109 – R4P9
    Fred Warner, LB, BYU

    The 49ers wait to address linebacker until the fourth round for three reasons: (1) they are doing everything they can to hold onto Reuben Foster, and don’t want to sink a premium pick into this position if they are successful; (2) linebacker is not a premium position; and (3) there are a ton of good linebackers in this draft. Fred Warner may not have elite sideline-to-sideline ability like Reuben Foster; few players do. But he’s very good at just about everything, and a big upgrade over Malcolm Smith at WILL. This pick allows Smith to slide over to MIKE while Foster is suspended, and to slide off the field to the bench if Foster returns. If Foster is cut, they can address the MIKE next year knowing that he will not be on the team moving forward.

    #128 – R4P28
    Genard Avery, OLB, Memphis

    The 49ers double-dip at the linebacker position, but get two prospects with very different skill sets. Genard Avery has the size and experience to play MIKE in obvious run situations where Malcolm Smith would be a liability, but is a perfect fit for SAM. Avery did struggle a little at times against offensive linemen in the run game playing ILB at Memphis, but he would mostly be asked to match up against TEs at SAM and will be very good against the run in SF. He is an awesome pass rusher on the strong-side edge, and would be a huge upgrade at the position over Eli Harold.

    TRADE: The 49ers trade the #143 overall pick (R5P6) to some team (no idea who) for a 2019 4th round pick. Having filled their biggest holes with their top picks, the 49ers load up a little additional ammo for next year’s draft.

    #184 – R6P10
    Christian Campbell, CB, Penn State

    At this point in the draft, value is a little harder to find. It can be players who inexplicably fell, depth players who will fill a specific role, or “height-weight-speed guys” as Adam Peters put it. I would put Campbell in category two. He fits the scheme well, and has potential to develop into an average second or third corner. Considering that the depth chart at CB is a wasteland after Sherman and Witherspoon, I think coming out of the draft with two corners would be ideal. If Campbell is gone at this pick, I’d cross my fingers that Kevin Tolliver, II from LSU is still available.

    #223 – R7P5
    Jordan Akins, TE, UCF

    Hard to know who will still be on the board in the 7th round, but I think Jordan Akins will be there if the 49ers want him. Akins isn’t a great blocker and will be 26 years old in his rookie season after spending a few years in baseball’s minor leagues, but he has very good athleticism and is a good receiver split out wide in the passing game. Akins and Cole Hikutini would compete for reps at the “move” TE position, and hopefully one of them emerges as a threat to complement Kittle at the “in-line” spot.

    #240 – R7P22
    Quadree Henderson, Pittsburgh, KR/PR

    A lot of people think that Quadree Henderson is the best pure return specialist in the draft. I agree. I wouldn’t be shocked if Kyle Shanahan was able to get something out of him on offense via jet sweeps, etc., but I wouldn’t hold my breath either. The 49ers have brought in a number of prospects with return skills during draft visits, and are clearly looking for more competition at the position. Henderson and Victor Bolden, Jr. duke it out during training camp and the preseason, and the winner makes the team.

    1. If any of you are interested, I “show my work” below as to the first twelve picks of the draft.

      #1 – Cleveland Browns:
      Sam Darnold, QB, USC

      The Browns should choose Baker Mayfield, who is the best QB in the draft, but instead they go with Sam “Turnover Machine” Darnold. Darnold can sit for a few years and develop behind Tyrod Taylor. Which is good, because he needs it. That being said, he does have a high ceiling.

      #2 – New York Giants:
      Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

      I don’t believe the talk that Darnold is the only QB the Giants would take at #2. Maybe it’s true, because their new GM Dave Gettleman is a goon. But I think he likes Rosen, who is the prototypical pocket passer and will stay composed when dealing with the New York media. He fits both Gettleman’s personality and the white-collar Giants fans, who will crucify Gettleman if he doesn’t draft Rosen and the Patriots somehow do.

      #3 – New York Jets:
      Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

      The best QB in the draft. I don’t care that Baker Mayfield is only 6’1. I don’t care that he comes off like a jerk a lot of the time. I disagree completely with the Johnny Manziel comparison nonsense. Mayfield makes plays all over the field, is an extremely accurate passer at all three levels, is an elite leader at the QB position, and his fiery disposition fits the New York Jets and their blue-collar fans perfectly.

      #4 – Cleveland Browns:
      Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

      The Browns want to trade down here, but with the top three quarterbacks off the board they find no takers. They don’t need a guard after several high-profile FA additions last year, and just signed Carlos Hyde to a big deal. So they take Chubb to pair with Garrett, which is a scary thought.

      #5 – Denver Broncos:
      Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

      The Broncos kept trying to give CJ Anderson’s job away, but he wouldn’t give it up. So they finally just cut him. He’s close to washed up anyway, so it wasn’t an awful move. Devontae Booker has potential, but after Elway misses out on all of the top three QBs and Chubb I think he takes Barkley to reinvigorate the offense. Case Keenum doesn’t have to be the focal point after this pick, which is a good thing.

      #6 – Indianapolis Colts:
      Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

      The Colts have holes all over the roster at almost every position, but they are beside themselves with excitement to see Nelson still on the board. If Andrew Luck is ever able to come back from his shoulder injury, they need to do what they can to protect him.

      #7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
      Derwin James, SS, Florida State

      I probably would have gone Landry here at the start of the offseason, but they signed Vinny Curry and traded for JPP. They need a field general on defense, and James is it. It helps that they have a gaping hole at SS.

      #8 – Chicago Bears:
      Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

      I thought about Roquon Smith here, but Fangio’s 3-4 defense asks MLBs to take on blocks directly and clean up after themselves on almost every play. Roquon can do it, but it’s probably the weakest part of his game. I thought about Landry here again, but Fangio knows he can get something out of Aaron Lynch, who they signed for cheap in FA. I thought about Denzel Ward here, but the Bears have decent corners (including Kyle Fuller returning) and Fangio has demonstrated he can get the most out of bargain bin options at this position. So Ryan Pace drafts Edmunds, and hopes Fangio can turn him into Patrick Willis 2.0.

      #9 – Buffalo Bills:
      Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

      I thought long and hard about how high the Bills would be willing to trade up to get a QB. I think if one of the top three QBs fell past the Jets, they would start working the phones with Cleveland at #4 and keep calling with every pick until they were able to make a deal. But here, the top QBs go #1-3. I think Lamar Jackson is way, way better than Josh Allen. But Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane just ran Tyrod Taylor out of town after benching him for Nathan Peterman last year, and I don’t think they like lightweight, mobile quarterbacks. I think they want a huge pocket passer like Ben Roethlisberger, and Allen has the stature to match. But he’s not that good, so they won’t be willing to sacrifice the draft capital necessary to move very far. The Bills know that they need to leapfrog the Dolphins, who could theoretically take Allen at #11 (but probably wouldn’t). They also want to get in front of the Raiders, who could trade down with somebody else right in front of the Dolphins (which could very well happen). So that leaves our 49ers. They make the call, and John Lynch makes the trade. Lynahan love both Landry and Roquon, and chances are very good that one of them will still be on the board after the Raiders and Dolphins pick.

      #10 – Oakland Raiders:
      Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

      I thought about Denzel Ward here, but the Raiders really like last year’s first-round pick Gareon Conley and signed Rashaan Melvin in FA. They have a gaping hole in the middle of their defense at 3-tech, and Maurice Hurst is the answer. Hurst will provide the interior pass rush they so desperately need on defense, and force QBs to scramble into the arms of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin on the outside.

      #11 – Miami Dolphins:
      Roquon Smith, LB, Georgia

      The Dolphins could take Lamar Jackson here. It wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think the Dolphins will trade up for a QB because Tannehill is “good enough,” and they won’t want to sacrifice the draft capital necessary to make it happen. But Chris Grier and Adam Gase are thrilled to see Roquon Smith still on the board, who is a top 5 talent in this draft class. This pick allows them to get out of the terrible Kiko Alonso contract next year, and finally fixes their LB position when combined with last year’s second round pick Raekwon McMillan.

      #12 – San Francisco 49ers:
      Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

      Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! With the twelfth overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers select Harold Landry, defensive end, Boston College.

    2. You put a lot of work into that JAG. Great job. I think you’re right in regards to most of us thinking the same way as well. While some of the names are different, position wise we all seem to be in lockstep. I also agree with the Mo Hurst pick for the Raiders in your first round mock. I put him there too and he’s a guy who is being severely underrated imo. The best pass rushing DT in the draft for my money.

    3. Thanks everyone! I did put a lot of work into it, and I’m glad to see you all enjoyed it.

      rocket, as far as Mo go, I think it’s the heart thing. I’m guessing people just didn’t move him back up their boards even after he was cleared medically. It’s the only explanation I can come up with, at least.

    4. Very strong, and several well thought out points. You and I agree about wanting two cornerbacks out of this draft, and that Lamar Jackson is favorable to Josh Allen. This shows great knowledge, time, and effort, and I commend you for it.

    1. Cowboys see Vander Esch as next Urlacher.

      I thought Edmunds was. They can’t both be Urlacher.

          1. Yeah Anthony Barr is the closest I can think of too, although Barr was used as a pass rusher in College more than Edmunds. Same body type and athleticism though.

          2. Scooter,
            Barr is a good comparison. Barr is pretty good. I believe Edmunds plays with more violence and might have better range.
            Edmunds will need to rely on his athleticism for a year or two until he becomes familiar with offensive sets, but even if it does take a couple of years to get acclimated, he will only be 22 years old.

            1. If it takes him a couple of years to get acclimated then its a couple of years he won’t be contributing like a top pick. Given the grief Thomas has gotten, why on earth should people be ok to let Edmunds take a couple of years to develop? Just because he is young? Won’t change how many years the 49ers have him under contract for.

              Using his young age as a reason for drafting him is one of the things I find most infuriating about discussing Edmunds. You don’t give lack of development a pass just because he is younger. It won’t help the 49ers any, it won’t stop the coaches pulling him off the field if he is making mistakes, and won’t stop fans getting out the knives if he doesn’t produce early.

              1. “Given the grief Thomas has gotten, why on earth should people be ok to let Edmunds take a couple of years to develop?”

                Edmunds has a much higher ceiling, and size (something that can’t be taught) was a concern with Thomas.

                Edmunds can play any LB position if he can’t play Edge right away. His ability in coverage would still make him a 3 down player.

              2. Preach on Scooter. It really is puzzling that Edmunds is such a popular choice around here when his game is really not NFL caliber at the moment. There is no question he has a ton of talent, but he is out of position so often it’s going to be a problem his first year. We can also sit here and say he’ll figure out, but that is not a given. Football instincts are partially learned but some you can’t and I don’t care how talented you are, if you can’t read the play and understand what is coming at you, you have no chance. You can’t guess and win at the pro level.

                I’m not going to be upset if he’s the pick as he has everything needed to become a great player physically and the Coaches would have to be extremely confident in his ability to learn and improve his instincts on the field, but it will be a swing for the fences pick that could wind up as a strike out.

              3. Bull on the ceiling part, especially considering the fact you are comparing two players at different positions. It would be like comparing Barkley with Nelson or James with Landry.

              4. rocket,
                Landry has never had to face NFL O-lineman on a weekly bases like he will in a few months when he comes to training camp.

                I will venture to say that the O-lineman he faces will be pretty strong. I see Davenport’ style actually being more suitable for the NFL because he is much more violent and plays stronger at the point of attack then Landry.
                If Landry can’t run around some tackles what else can he do?

                I respect your and Razor’ (and all others here) desire for Landry. Let’s just say that I’m not quite there.

              5. I never said that Edmunds would not be able to contribute. I believe that he would have more impact in his 1st year than Thomas our #3 pick. Btw, wasn’t there some noise about Thomas getting 10 sacks his rookie year?

                At the moment Edmunds would need to rely more on his athleticism (which in itself make him top shelf) but he will become a perinnial all-pro once he learns to read offensive sets.

                He’s will be good right out of the gates, but he will be great when he gets the nuances down.
                Let’s reflect on this in about 5 years and see who has more all-pro titles.

              6. And I didn’t say he wouldn’t contribute either. I said if it takes him a couple of years to acclimate like you said then its a couple of years he isn’t contributing like a top pick. Given you and others like to comment about how Thomas was a reach because he didn’t dominate as a rookie I find it puzzling why you seem ok if the same was the case for Edmunds. It seems it is ok mainly because you like him and didn’t like Thomas.

                But wait, now you say you believe based on athletic ability alone he will be a good contributor right off the bat. Maybe. But all I know is there have been plenty of players with elite athletic gifts that either took a long time to develop into top players or just never did. Athleticism does not make a great player in the NFL. Heck, if it did then Thomas would have dominated last year too.

                The best part is a week ago you were spouting off about how people shouldn’t say Landry is a 10+ sack guy because he’s never done it in the pros, or compare him to a guy that had done it in the NFL. Now you are saying Edmunds will be a regular all pro, and didn’t bat an eyelid when I gave him a favourable comparison to Barr! Lets just be honest here – you have no qualms talking up guys you like and disparaging those you don’t. Its that simple.

              7. I have no problem with Edmunds. I like Landry more because i feel he plays a more impactful position but can definately understand the argument for Edmunds.
                There are 2 reasons age is considered. If he pans out and you have a pro bowl level player, the team will get a bit of a hometown discount on his future contracts. But more importantly if he reaches his potential earlier than expected the team will have a player with a longer “prime” window in his career.
                The second reason age matters in this case, is because he’s already an absolute, athletic freak, and his body is still developing. It should be expected that he will get bigger, stronger and faster as he develops which on it’s own could take his game to another level. If he hones is his instincts your looking at a potential hall of famer.
                I understand preferring other players to him. I do as well, but it’s crazy to deny the obvious upside he presents.

              8. Scooter,
                “you have no qualms talking up guys you like and disparaging those you don’t. Its that simple.”

                I’m not sure where you are getting the “disparaging” take from. But if you feel that pointing out some flaws that I see in Landry’ game is disparaging him then I’ve learned a new meaning to the word.

                The discussion on Edmunds started when I said that I liked him as our #1 pick. My biggest value point on Edmunds was his athleticism and versatility. You said he was lacking instincts.
                I agreed. But lets face it, we could both play the “disparaging game” if pointing out Edmunds flaws as you have fall into that category.

                Also, his ability to play football at a high level is the main reason to draft him (whether its us or another team), but the fact that he is young means that he will only get better as the season rolls along.
                I’m not guaranteeing that we are going to pick Edmunds. But I see him having more of an impact then Landry – if that’s disparaging well so be it.

    2. Tremaine Edmunds was my pick 2 months ago. I will not wavier :)…. He is the pick at 9 if he is there. The fall back option is Fitzpatrick. I don’t see Smith being who they target. Landry would be a fall back plan. Same with Sutton.

        1. That’s troubling if it it’s true. Not because of the player per se. but because it’s not good to have your intel leaked publicly. My guess is it’s not legit at least I hope not.

            1. rocket,
              It’s likely the old smokescreen ploy.
              Every team is stacking their playing cards before the draft and anything leaking prior to the real game is intended to divert and confuse the opponent.

  12. I gotta say, this has been one of the more fun draft classes to evaluate. Looks as though it could be one of the more exciting drafts too. I predict it will attract their highest viewership of all time….

  13. If the Giants are willing to take a low round pick for Flowers I say make the trade. Let him compete for a spot at OG and be the backup swing OT.

    1. What’s the highest pick you would give up to see what he can do in Shanny’s system?

      1. Most I would go is a 5th, but wouldn’t be comfortable with it. A 6th and I am in.

        1. Yea, a 7th would be my offer. I could negotiate to a 6th from there if they were to engage me.

    2. I wouldn’t give up anything for him. He has really been poor for the Giants and I’d rather take somebody in the draft to develop who is handpicked by this Coaching staff.

      1. By all accounts, Laken Tomlinson was extremely poor for the Lions. You could argue that Shanahan handpicked him as a target to develop when they traded for him. I thought a 5th rounder was crazy, but Tomlinson was actually playing a lot better by the end of the year and it sounds like they’re expecting him to build on that progress and be a quality starter in 2018…

  14. The San Francisco 49ers don’t need a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they will still be impacted in a big way by this year’s QB class. At least three quarterbacks are expected to go in the top eight picks, and one general manager told Adam Schefter there is a 50 percent chance four quarterbacks go in the top five picks.

    One team looking at quarterbacks this year is the Arizona Cardinals. Carson Palmer’s retirement coupled with Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert leaving in free agency left Arizona with nobody at the quarterback position.

    The Cardinals currently hold the 15th overall pick, and given the Buffalo Bills own interest in a quarterback, Arizona might need to push hard up the draft board.


  15. http://www.espn.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/44512/trade-talk-packers-might-move-up-for-a-top-three-defensive-back

    “If you want to go up and get Fitzpatrick and you feel he’s a cornerback, not a safety, you probably have to get to nine or 10,” Kiper said. “If you talk about James, everybody seems to think he’ll go 7 to Tampa Bay. Denzel Ward, probably up to that 6-7 range because he’s the best corner in the draft.”

    Give Mr. Lynch a call.

  16. I’m almost tired hearing about Reuben Foster. He’s a good player, played in 10 games, was pretty good but let’s be realistic, he’s expendable. It’s not like he could dominate a game and if he’s not on the field week 1, the 49ers are not at a disadvantage.
    Sure he helps if he’s healthy and playing, but he is not anything like Patrick Willis or Navorro Bowman in his prime.

    If the 49ers add an exceptional pass rusher like Landry or Davenport and add some depth in the secondary, our defense can still be a top 10 defense without Foster.

    1. “Sure he helps if he’s healthy and playing, but he is not anything like Patrick Willis or Navorro Bowman in his prime.”

      Actually he is, his problem is staying on the field. As a rookie he graded out as the 4th best LB in the NFL per PFF and received their highest grade given to a rookie. Even if you don’t like their grading system, it puts him in the same category as Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner and Sean Lee, meaning it has to have some accuracy given how those players are viewed throughout the league. Additionally he had the highest Run Defense grade given to any linebacker and the run defense is noticeably better when he is on the field which was the teams Achilles heal last year.

      This is not to say he can or even should be relied upon but to act like he is not a difference maker is ignorant of the facts. You might as well argue that Luke Keuechly, Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher were not difference makers.

      1. Shoup I will argue that he is easily replaceable. I never said he was not a good player but this defense with an added pass rush presence and some depth in the secondary could easily be top 10 next year without him.

        “to say he can or even should be relied upon but to act like he is not a difference maker is ignorant”

        Again, good player, but not a game a changer. In the games he played, he was good, but they had to take away the play call responsibilities because it was too much for him, he plays a reckless style which makes him injury prone. If he does indeed come back, he will need to develop his game.

        My point is he will not be missed. Now do we need to find his replacement in the draft, I’m not so sure. Mark Nzeocha, Brock Coyle and Malcolm Smith could be a good rotation. The 49ers don’t need to spend a high draft pick at the position. With a guy like Tremaine Edmunds who can play any of the LB positions, could easily be as good or not better than Foster, and he can multiple positions.

        1. If he is not a game changer then the Linebacker role cannot be a game changing role, considering he played at a Probowl level when he was on the field.

  17. What kind of idiotic question is that in regards to the CB position from your Twitter account Grant?

          1. Not a fan. Someone’s going to take him in the first round, but it wouldn’t be me.

          2. Agree with Razor. I wouldn’t touch Davenport in the first round. Heck, I wouldn’t touch Davenport in the second round either. He’s like Colin Kaepernick: high ceiling, but a very low floor.

  18. I think the 49ers walk away with 3 draft picks devoted to their oline this weekend.

  19. You know, Grant did suggest trading Garoppolo a while back. How would that go down a couple hours before the draft kicks off…..?

  20. Its draft time and rumors abound. Teams may just let out a name of a player just to confuse the issue. Example: Bears let it leak they want Edmunds and when it comes time to draft they select Smith. Wouldn’t believe too much in the next couple of days.

    By the way congrats to all of you guys that did complete mocks, most of them were really good.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers let it leak last year that they might pick Trubisky just to make the Bears anxious about more than the mere possibility of someone trading up for him. (Remember, the Bears wouldn’t tell the 49ers who they intended to pick at #2 overall.) If so, it worked like a charm. And if it worked last year, I would be thoroughly surprised if they didn’t try it again.

      I suspect the 49ers leaked that they covet Edmunds, so the Bears reject trade-down opportunities for fear Edmunds will no longer be on the board at their new pick. That leaves the 49ers in prime position for trade offers if the teams in the middle of the round don’t want to move, or the team that moves up doesn’t want to give up the premium picks it will take to move up that high.

  21. Former Florida WR Antonio Callaway — who some considered as talented as any WR in this draft — tested positive for marijuana at the combine, NFL sources told ESPN.


    1. It’s such a huge red flag if a guy can’t even get his act together enough, for the biggest interview he will ever have in his life, to pass a drug test he knows will be coming YEARS in advance. Set aside the debate about whether marijuana should be legal or illegal. I would take most guys who fail a drug test at the combine off my board entirely. Callaway would have been off my board already with his history, but he just cost himself whatever shot he did have at being drafted.

  22. @RobDemovsky on ESPN about Harold Landry “A scout told me he’s one of the most overrated players in the draft.”

    Ha! It’s getting deep, folks!

  23. Mock 5.0
    Used Fanspeak with Fanspeak draft board and Fanspeak team needs. No trades.
    9- Tremaine Edmunds, LB.
    59- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge.
    70- DJ Chark, WR.
    74- Sony Michel, RB.
    128- Kevin Tolliver, CB.
    143- Alex Cappa, OT.
    184- Oren Burks, LB.
    223- Troy Apke, S.
    240- Zach Seiler, DL.

    1. Seb, thanks for the mock. How close is this mock to your ideal draft (or how you think the mock will go).

      1. Actually, I hope the Niners will trade back in order to obtain another second round pick. It all depends on who wants a QB, so they will have to see how the first 8 picks evolve, and who is still available.
        Ideally, they might trade back with Buffalo. Niners could move back 3 spots and get pick numbers 12 and 53 for their pick number 9. Buffalo would want to leapfrog in front of Miami, who may have doubts about Tannehill’s health and durability.

  24. Like the mock but I really believe Sony mIchel will go in the 2nd maybe 3rd at the latest.

    1. I just used Fanspeak, and he was available at that spot.
      I, too, do not think he will fall that far, and Royce Freeman was available at that spot, so the RB depth is deep.

  25. Twas the night before Draftmas
    When all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
    The draft board was hung by the GM with care
    In hopes that a player would soon be there
    The faithful were nestled all snug in their beds
    While visions of Harold Landry danced in their heads

    1. “those who know, don’t say…those who say, don’t know” Ray Romano, from “Vinyl”

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