Davis- "A-" grade. Best available OT in the draft when the team was on the board. Has the highest upside of any OT in the draft. I think he's a huge upgrade, and will easily start from Day One. Completely engulfs rushers, and looks smooth in the process. The only downgrade for me was losing the 4th rounder in the trade up, but I can understand the paranoia the team had about being leapfrogged.
Iupati- "A" grade. One of the best OG prospects in the last decade. He should easily bench Baas at LG. Just like Davis, completely engulfs defenders. Still learning the game, and will only get a ton better. Think about how good he is already, with Idaho coaching, weight room facilities, strength coaches, etc.
Mays- "D" grade. Good value spot for a team looking for a safety who is not going to cover anyone. That is not us.
Think about his athleticism, speed, jumping ability. Off the charts. Why was he bypassed by all of these teams in the first round, and more than half of the second round? And, nobody lower than 49 wanted to move up to secure his services. He is simply not a coverage safety. Mays was exposed badly in Senior Bowl practices as someone who is incredibly stiff and cannot change directions. Many scouts believed, and stated, that he will need to transition to OLB in the NFL. The team needed a centerfielder who can cover a lot of ground, and put Goldson into the SS role. Now, we have two guys with coverage limitations. Not a smart move. Many other better coverage safeties on the board at the time. I could not have blamed the team if they sacrificed both the second and third rounder to jump up and grab Nate Allen, some who clearly has the ability to patrol the back end of the secondary, cover speedy receivers in a big play league, and make plays.
Bowman- "D-" grade- I have no idea what the Niners are thinking here. I'm not sure they do as well. Bowman is strictly a 4-3 defender in the NFL. He cannot rush the passer effectively, and is not the best at taking on blockers. To blow a third rounder (which is a common issue with the team the past few years) on a backup to Willis is not a good investment. In the first presser, Singletary did not seem to know where they would play him as well. Welcome to the "We Don't Know where they are going to Play" club of Balmer, R. Smith, and others.
Ginn- "A" grade in trade. Ginn has to be included in the draft, since this is the value we receive for our fifth rounder. Ginn's best football is in front of him. He instantly eliminates our second most glaring need this offseason, and becomes our first deep threat at WR in a LONG time. I believe he assumes the number three WR role, and could even push Morgan (depending on Morgan's development).
Dixon- "A-" grade- The Niners did not appear to have any confidence in Coffee last year, so they better pick up someone they can hand the rock to when Gore is on the bench, or injured. Dixon was second in the SEC in rushing (behind Ingram), with a brutal OL in front of him. Wes Bunting said this about Dixon, "Becomes a starter in his rookie season...Becomes a solid NFL player with no real weakness". Now, I'm not going to go as far as Bunting, but this is a guy really liked in NFL scouting circles.
Byham- "B-" grade- I know this is a head scratcher for many fans, but this team did not execute well on third and short last year. Byham is a stud blocker, better than Bajema and better than Bear. So, while he is not going to catch more than 5 balls this season, he will probably make this team with ease, and have a chance to play on Sunday in situational roles.
Kyle Williams- "A-" grade- The team needs an insurance policy for Ginn, who has had some health problems in the past. So, why not select another lightning rod who can run like the wind. Williams has a terrific shot at making the team as the team's fifth receiver, and a guy who can play in the slot in 4 WR sets. He needs to work on route running (few rookies don't have issues). A guy to stretch the field.
Philip Adams- "D" grade- Better CB's were on the board, including McClain (the Niners plucked Patrick Stoudamire off the priority free agent market), but the team could use a developmental CB on the practice squad, so I understand the positional selection. Might have to move Adams to FS down the road, but I honestly don't give the kid much of a chance to make the team.
A more interesting option would have been to select one of the small school 3-4 DE's on the board (Lissemore or Howard), a big school 3-4 DE who I think is going to make an NFL roster in Doug Worthington, or go complete off the chart and select Jameson Konz, a freak athlete the Seahawks selected later, who might be able to play at numerous positions on the field.
That is the short answer to the best and worst picks. I give the Niners a final grade of 82.5% in the B/B- range.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:27 PM ]