Monday, May 9, 2011

49ers Draft Review: Part 2 of 2

Alright, onto part two, which I had already had added onto part one and realized it was too long, so I decided to save it for another post. However, in a bone-headed move, I forgot to copy and paste the second part properly and I have to now come up with a re-write, but don't worry, I still have it fresh in my mind. Just scroll on down or Click Part 1 for the first part of the draft breakdown.

So we left off talking about the the Aldon Smith pick, though I would have rather taken Amakamura, but hey, the Niners obviously think Smith can be a All-Pro pass rusher at this level and be their James Harrison. I guess we'll see. The Kaepernick pick again, I loved. I would have accepted either him or Dalton, heck even Ryan Mallet with open arms, but Kaepernick has so much athletic talent that I could see Harbough making him a star. So that coupled with the fact I'm hoping for a 10-sack season out of Smith since the franchise is so high on him, I would say the 49ers were looking mighty good heading into the 3rd round. Things got a little questionable after the Kaepernick pick. They grabbed 218th ranked prospect in the draft by Pro Football Daily, Chirs Culliver who isn't even sure where he'll play. Not to base everything on PFL's grading system, they're certainly no guarantee, but to leap that fare, that low in the draft was a jaw-dropper. Especially when looking at the talent sitting there in the 3rd, which should be a player you expect to compete for a starting job immediately, not in 3 years. (some "passed on" talent listed in Part 1)

I don't want to keep beating a dead horse in the Culliver project though, I just hope I'm way off base and we'll leave it at that. The Kendall Hunter pick was a much better one, although I think I would have leaned toward Dion Lewis of Pittsburgh if I were drafting (who many had as the 3rd best back in a RB-thin draft). The 49ers chose Hunter who had two 1,500 yard seasons at Oklahoma State and has been repeatedly compared to former OK State Hall of Famer, Barry Sanders. The Niners need that speedy, change of pace back and Hunter is just that. He's allusive, quick and will be a great change of pace to the more straight-forward, down-hill running Frank Gore. The only thing with Hunter, is that a lot of people close to College Football and OK State feel Hunter will not be able to take the rigors of being an every-down back and his ceiling is that of a change of pace guy. That's why I would have gone with Dion Lewis. Lewis ran for 1799 and 17 TD's as a freshman, and carried the ball 325 times. He's also more active in the passing game than Hunter, which has drawn comparisons to Brian Westbrook, tallying 405 yards on 52 catches in 2 seasons with Pitt. Hunter totaled just 184 yards and 31 catches in that span. Now all that said, again, I don't dislike this pick, Hunter is a good player, just think they could have gotten a little bit better of one in Lewis just for that passing element in for the WCO.

After Hunter, they traded up to grab a Division-2 guy in Daniel Kilgore, who wasn't even expected to be drafted. Granted, he was an 2A All-American Left Tackle, the there were simply better options. Maybe they traded up hoping WR Tandon Doss (check his game-by-game vs. powerhouse D's) would fall and if he did and they still passed, I would have been all over Bay Area airwaves and talk shows with the massive hysteria about passing on him. I would have definitely gone wideout in the 5th, then saved the O-Lineman projects for later rounds like they did in '02 with Kosier and Heitman, their two best picks of that draft, sadly. There were some good wideouts there at 28 in the 5th like a guy who had only 100 catches, 1,120 yards and 10 TD for ECU last season after an 83/979/7; 3 return TD's in his Jr. year, and that man was Dwayne Harris. I guess they just thought Harris wasn't physical enough or fast enough to make it in the NFL. The guy I thought they would go after was Nebraska's Niles Paul (No question about his physical ability, just health), the big, speedy, physical receiver. Paul was thriving in an offense traditionally focused on running until breaking his foot (probably what kept him from going in day 2), could play flanker or slot and was big in the return game.

However, they somewhat saved the tail-end of the draft with the 6th round wideout, and my value pick of the draft, Ronald Johnson out of USC. Harris was available still, but Johnson's WR coach from USC is know in SF so he has first hand knowledge and told Harbough/Baalke to grab this guy over Harris. Johnson had a pretty nice year in 2010 leading the Trojans in receiving TD's with 8 and essentially tying for the team lead in catches and yards. He didn't put up huge numbers because he played on a USC team that has become stocked with so many talented players that want to go there that they have an infinite amount of talent. With so many different weapons, Matt Barkely did a great job of spreading the ball around to everyone in 2010, which is the only reason you didn't see Johnson with 80+ catches and 1,000 yards. The thing I wonder about with Johnson though, is why didn't his old coach Pete Carrol take him first after seeing him all those years in SC, instead going with the 6'5" Kris Durham from Georgia in round 4, rated way below Johnson on the big board. In fact, I think Seahawk fans are probably wondering the same thing on why they reached on a guy when there were many better available at the position. Regardless, I liked the Johnson pick and was hoping the 49ers would nab a WR higher in the draft. I think Josh Morgan should be challenged, and I think they need a slot receiver they actually will use consistantly, even in the West Coast offense. The way or lack of way, they used Teddy Ginn last year was amazingly stupid, and they still were even running more of a spread.

Now after Johnson, there really isn't anyone worth going into detail about. They grabbed TCU safety Colin Jones who's role will be special teams, if he makes the team, as he run and tackle. In the 7th, it was project fullback Bruce Miller (converted DE) of Central Florida, Guard Mike Person out of Montana State (ironically enough, rated right behind David Kilgore, who the Niners drafted 2 rounds earlier) then finished off with cornerback/safety Curtis Holcomb out of Florida A&M who probably never sees the field.

So after all this jabbering about a so-so draft, it's time for the grade. As you can tell, it was kind of a roller coaster draft in my eyes and so much of this draft will rely on what Kaepernick and Smith end up doing. If they would have went with more natural picks later in the draft, I would have graded them much higher, but I don't like all the projects. I really could keep going on and on and on some more about the draft, which is why it's so intriguing and one of the big reasons I started this site, but I'll keep it at that for the keep in mind, this isn't signifying the end of 49er draft talk, but it does signify our formel 49ers Draft Review.

BASJ'S 49ers Draft Grade: C
(Note: Raiders Draft Review, plus the "How I Would Have Drafted" if I were Baalke/Harbough post to Come!)

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