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MadDog's Niners Draft Grade and Analysis for 2012 NFL Draft

Originally posted by susweel:
Md also hated the Aldon Smith pick so hopefully this turns out the same.

Not true. Gave it a C+ grade. Let's be fair. Just thought a better player was on the board in Watt.
Originally posted by Janitor:
Originally posted by RonMexico:
hes only at 25%

why would he be banned



Originally posted by mrwoodz:
Just out of interest - and I am of the school that still believes WRs take til 3rd year to show true color so I wouldn't expect AJ to be the #1, #2 or whatever this year, what is your take on Manningham?

As for the OP, grading the pick of someone at #30, that he considered a possible #33, is ridiculous to call it an F.

I think anyone overly critical of AJ, and James, is overestimating what we had at the RB and WR positions.

Moss, Jacobs, Gore - fall into categories of getting older, not long left (contract, career or both)

Manningham, Crabtree, Ginn, Williams, Swain, Hunter, Dixon - all fall into categories of short contract length, or yet to convince they deserve to be here for the new stadium.

There are likely other names I'm forgetting just now, but the only members of our backfield (including QBs) that I am convinced will be in our roster for 1st game at new stadium in 2014, are a TE and a FB.

I think many have the chance - but not many on our offensive roster stand out as definites.

Like many of the players above, AJ and James have the chance to be there - and they offer something different to what we had already, and add competition.

IMHO I'd grade them both as Cs - as both may have been available with a trade back - but you never know if there were any tradeback options - and neither were likely to be available by the time our next pick came up.

Picking someone that would defintely have been available with our next pick is quite possibly the only criteria that ever justifies an F.

As for the draft overall - it gives us new options offensively, offers some potential in later rounds, and gave us some great extra picks next year - my initial feeling is to give it a B overall.

I encourage you to revist the post and re-read the section on the first pick. It gives my personal grade for Jenkins in that spot (C+), but the real reason why I assigned an F for that selection.
James can take some of the Ginn reverses and fly type plays, while also being a good receiver and 3rd down back. When asked about him, Harbaugh said they couldn't keep him from scoring in short runs in college. A very explosive back who adds greatly to the niner offense.

Jenkins may wait to start if Moss and the other vet WRs come through, but if Moss is done and Williams does nothing to improve, I could see Jenkins starting out the year as the third receiver. Then, if the 9ers continue their WR injury woes, he may move up the depth chart. The Stanford kid may also become valuable in these circumstances.

The rest I leave to Harbaugh and Baalke as all I can tell is what the draft magazines and sites tell me...and they all disagree! Looney is either a stiff hipped waste of a pick, or one of the top G's in the draft. Where is my dart board?
Originally posted by cciowa:
jesus yes. Maddog just did what everyone else does,, he gives his opinion on things and unless I did not read things right,, he never flamed anyone and there is no reason why some of you have go off on him so you disagree with his first two picks, so do i but do you really have to crucify him.Jesus it seems like everytime the man posts something,, you got a mob that breaks out the pitchforks and torches. and the above poster is right,, give him some credit for being right where so many others were wrong,,, nate davis, mays etc etc.jesus

Thanks, Hope your daughter's wedding went well.
Originally posted by D-Money:
MD first of all thank you for all your hard work during the draft process and helping these unknowlegdable people who don't know s**t about the draft (like the many who posted before me) up to date on current incoming college players. Why everyone is dissing you now after the draft? I don't know.

Round 1. When you explain the reasoning behind your grade, it makes since. To give up a third and select the best offensive guard to come out since Hutchinson, we should've moved up all day. Decastro would have made our whole line better and he would be on the field every play on offense. The F/O missed on the trade up here. As much as I'm shocked about the pick of AJ Jenkins, I still like him and I know both you and myself were high on him before the draft. I've even referred to his hands and route running being similar to Jerry Rice. Yes, J.R.
Grade B-

Round 2. If you think your an expert in the big ten, I'm your expert for the PAC 12 (excluding Colorado and Utah for now). With most of my family being Ducks fans, I can tell you this pick is an A+. LMJ is the most explosive player in this draft not named RG|||. Chris Rainey is not even on the map when compared to LMJ. I was a little surprised that we got him truthfully as he is smaller back like Kendall Hunter, but he will be a returner similar to the greatest in history, Chicago's Devin Hester. This alone gets him an A+ grade being selected in the second round. He offers more than Hester on offense, he is not afraid of contact and is so fast, no defense can account for him with only a single player. Sorry Gore but LMJ will take away more of your carries than you think.
Grade A+

Round 3- no player picked as the pick was traded for a third, fifth, and sixth round selections next year and a sixth this year. If you're going to give me 15 cents for 10 cents. I'm a winner and so was Baalke.
Grade A

Round 4- moving up to grab a position of need. No question this pick was forced for us to take guard as we passed over guard the first three rounds. I'm not too familiar with the player myself but the position needed starter material through the draft and we didn't get that for this year. Giving up that extra pick in the sixth doesn't hurt us much, I just don't know if this pick does us much good this year besides inexperienced depth.
Grade C-

Round 5- with the best linebacking crew in the League, we knew this position only needed depth and a special teamer. I think we got more than that in Flemming an overlooked linebacker playing next to Teo? At Norte Dame. His numbers don't suggest he was a pass rich specialist but I think he develops nicely and has the time to do so, quality pick here
Grade B

Round 6- this pick is horrible. I have to completely disagree with you on this. He can run with wideouts and should be switched to corner, if he stays at safety we messed up. Duke Ihenacho from SJSU should've been the pick here. Robinson may be a willing tackler but that doesn't mean he is good at it. He was constantly getting run over by running backs and wideouts in college. This was the worst pick of the draft for me as we filled a need but did not select a quality player.
Grade D-

Round 7- okay pick here the problem with him is straight up, his medical condition of carrying the sickle cell trait. He could be very similar to Rasheed Saleem? A lb we drafted in the third round a while back but became tired quicker and easier due to his Muslim religion and fasting during training camp( not a good idea). If Harbaugh can somehow give Johnson special treatment and break him more during practice and games, this may be a great pick, I just don't see Harbaugh slowing down for anyone. The fact that he's a seventh rounder who could make the team makes this pick that much better.
Grade C+

Understand what your saying about transitioning back to real life. haha. And to all you hating on MD STFU. Ha. Look I'm glad we got Aldon Smith but JJ Watt is just as good. And is the Texans version of Aldon Smith , both would've been great picks last year at seven.

Thanks for the kind thoughts. I don't see the impact of LMJ as many others since the style of offense they ran at Oregon was so wide open, it really allowed players of his caliber to post significant numbers. I think we will continue to see players like these at Oregon emerge over time. Agree to disagree.
It's actually funny that as fans we get a sexy draft with skill positions in WR and RB and a lot of the pundits "pan" the draft. It should be a casual fan's or madden fan very happy.

Maddog as usual thanks for the draft analysis. I don't always agree and it makes for good reading and discussion, but we all appreciate the time you put into it and it gives us a good launching point for us Niner Geeks to watch the draft and make better sense out of it.

I gave the Niners a B- for "reaching" per the experts (even though St. Louis was looking to take him at the top of the 2nd) for the draft but a solid A for all of the trades that set us up for next draft 3, 5, and 6th that is sick.

Number one, the biggest argument that you have for the F grade is because DeCastro was available. That point is moot because we don't know what the price was to move up but the biggest reasoning is that Harbaugh coached DeCastro and knows him the best. I think he will be good, but not all world. He's kinda slow at 5.4 in the 40. He does hit targets in space, and has great balance, but is he a mauler like Looney who had 224 knockdowns in his career probably not. Slowey who you nailed with your pick moves well. (What is his 40 time by the way at his pro day? It wasn't listed.) The guy also had 38 reps at pro day and said he's done 45. He looks like a real find. GREAT CALL MADDOG.....that kind of quick is impressive. Where did you hear about that guy.

So the Niners picked up a 3rd, 5th, 6th and 6th in this years draft for two players who can come in a push Person, Kilgore and Boone vs we probably had to give up a 2nd or 3rd round to move up.

I for one didn't have AJ Jenkins on the radar, but since we drafted him, I have watched his tape along with all of the other player tape.

Let's compare the WR's

Blackmon is overrated. He doesn't get good separation he is more physical. I think he will be average.

Michael Floyd I liked, he's a big receiver but only ran a 4.47 and doesn't play that fast.

Sanu, and Jefrrey I don't like. They don't get seperation and they are slow. (4.55 range)

Kendall Wright had the production, but didn't run well at the combine and has like 16 percent body fat. And he's only 5 10.

Rueben Randle is overrated and is similar to Crabtree, he will struggle to get separation with 4.55 speed.

Brian Quick was another guy flying up the boards, is big 6 3 220, but played in div 2 and only ran 4.55.

Hill isn't a complete reciever yet, only runs the 9 route. He does block well, but the guy is a 3rd rounder, 4th rounder (a 6th or 7th rounder based on production) He just a workout warrior at 4.36, 6 5 220. (However why didn't this guy get more run in College?)


A better route runner than any of those guys.

Ran 4.39 (some say 4.31) so he's faster than everyone by a long shot except for Hill. So he's a deep threat unlike most of the other guys.

Produced in college and wasn't a one year wonder. Senior year he had 55% of the passing yards with over 90 catches and 1230? yards?

You say that he won't play until year 2 or 3, I say "let's see what happens." A quick review of last years WR/TE injuries........Crab in Preseason, Bynam for the year in camp, Braylon by the 2nd game? (and was never the same), Morgan by the 5th game (with tampa bay) Delanie broke his jaw, Ginn was out and we start Crabtree, williams, Swain and Hastings.

That won't happen this year.

So why again was this a bad pick? We get a deep threat, smooth route running receiver that can play all of our reciever spots so if Randy (retires again), Crab doesn't play preseaon for the 4 year in a row, Manningham gets hurt.........we got some options.

LaMichael James is not going to blow anyone away by his size 5 8 195, or his official speed 4.45 (unoffical 4.37) but the guy is a FREAKIN BALLER!!!!!! Nobody had better production in college as consistently as James. A 5-foot-9, 195-pound All-American, James rushed for a school-record 1,805 yards this season despite missing two games with a dislocated right elbow. He led the nation with an average of 150.4 yards rushing a game. James is Oregon's all-time leading career rusher with 5,082 yards. He is the first Pac-12 player to have three straight 1,500-yard seasons.

This guy is going to play RB, Tailback, Slot, Screen passes, he will run the Fly Sweep to perfection, how about a double reverse with him and Ginn? Sick. And he can continue to develop. He has the best burst in the draft. I think he will fit in fine behind our line. He's faster the Sproles, and he's a late 2nd round pick almost a third.

I don't think we have ever had a back as explosive as James. The back I think of with the best burst on the Niners that I've watched is probably wendell tyler but James is on a whole other level.

I'm cool with these picks. They fit the team well and give us more speed and more flexibility. I can't wait to see Roman, Harbaugh and Chryst use these new chess pieces.
Originally posted by 9erred:
So let me grade the maddog draft

Round One- Peter Konz, C/G - Team wants to improve offense and move chains. Konz is veratile, but often injured, pro bowl center on the niners with two years left on contract, question mark on ability to move to RG. Grade B because position of need.

Round Two- Mohamed Sanu, WR - Does not bring anything to the table that Manningham or Crabtree cannot do. Good possession WR, but with Moss also under contract, he is the 4th to 5th best WR and cannot return kicks. Grade C

Round Three- Brandon Thompson, NT - Great pick, with Isaac Sopoage having only 1 year left on his contract, and Ian Williams unproven, this is a good pick. A

Round Four- Malik Jackson, DE - Potentially will not make the team as he is no better than Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, RJF and Tukufua (who has 2 years left on his contract). Grade-C

Round Five- Vick Ballard, RB - A straight line runner is not what this offense needs. No return ability, going away from smash mouth football. A DiXon clone. Grade- incomplete, because any player in round 5 or lower should not warrant lower than a C. IT your grade of a D on the ND linebacker was puzzling. At least he can contribute on ST's, and step in if Larry Grant gets signed away.

Round Six- Antonio Allen, SS - Team needs a safety who can cover better, not a SS. Grade C

Round Seven- Derrius Brooks, CB - PS bound, grade incomplete.

So with knowing how the draft would unfold I give you a B-/C+

I am in one million percent agreement that the Niners should have traded up to grab De Castro. I was screaming at my TV like a lunatic, give up this years 3 or next years 2, I don't care, grab De Castro NOW at 22 or 23.

Thanks for your honest evaluation.
Originally posted by nw9erfan:
Absolutely....and just for the record, both JJ Watt and Aldon Smith turned out to be studs so Maddog sure as hell wasn't wrong... He simply preferred one stud over another.

Man...some of you people who post don't do your homework...

I got your back, MD...

Thanks, I was beginning to think that Watt was a scrub after his 12 tackle, 2.5 sack performance against the Ravens in their playoff game.
Originally posted by mike:
Could have been a lot of those options. Also it seemed like Baalke had the whole thing planned out(names put in envelopes) and wasn't going to get too excited when someone unexpected started falling. Certainly it would have made for an interesting discussion if he fell past the Steelers but I think they weren't interested in trading up that pick because it would throw off their whole plan.

It's easy to look back and say we should have hopped up to 23, but maybe when you're seeing someone fall he keeps falling past the Steelers. You never know. Maybe Cleveland wasn't interested in a trade like you said, they got Weeden and if they traded back they likely could have missed him.

You always have to look at the board. The Eagles love Cox, waiting for him to slide down a bit, and then moved up. The Pats did the same with Chandler Jones. I just think the team should have done the same.

Originally posted by m_brockalexander:
Mad Dog, it takes two to tango when making trades. Do you know for a fact that the Niners had willing partners on the other end of the phone to go and get DeCastro? Do you know for a fact that the Niners didn't try to move up?

You put a lot of effort into your evaluation and I respect the effort. I look forward to seeing your boards and lists because they are comprehensive and well thought out. Still, giving the Jenkins pick an F grade while giving the three trade down picks that are still anonymous an A grade seems a little unrealistic.

RE: the James pick, I am still dubious of his effectiveness on the Candlestick turf, but the Niners don't always play at home and Harbaugh is all about the competition. He is a definite "wait and see" pick.

My guess is that either the Browns, Lions or Steelers were willing to move down. Before the draft, it was reported that nearly every team in the first round was looking to move down from their choice. Now, that may have changed during the draft, but I would be willing to believe that one of these team would have made that deal. Most teams are.
Originally posted by nw9erfan:
Excellent post...

Translation: I agree with all of the major points you make here.

One of the curiosities about MD's grade on Jenkins is that he won't contribute in his first year. I disagree with that because the Niners drafted him to help stretch the field so I see him playing a lot in his rookie year...unlike a guy like Stephen Hill (a WR who MD loves), who by all accounts, is so raw that he will take at least a year or two to really adjust to the NFL.

Now, admittedly....Hill may have a higher "upside" than Jenkins but the latter has a very polished game right now (runs good routes, has great hands, knows how to get open, is very intelligent and hard-working and can assimilate a complex offense in his first year). Hill doesn't.

Therefore, I just don't see Jenkins as much of a "reach" frankly. I'm sure the Niners believe they can coach up what few flaws he has (playing more to his timed speed and doing better against press coverage) and quickly develop a productive wideout.

Note to MD... I really do understand your reasons behind your grades, and I respect them.

I think the reasons the Niners didn't draft an OG in the first round are threefold...

One...they like the guys they have and didn't feel it was necessary.
Two...they wanted to spend their two top picks on guys that they felt would make the offense more explosive.
Three...they didn't want to tie up too much money on OLmen.

Remember that they now have 3 first round draft choices starting on that line. When it comes time to resign them, they might be faced with having to let one of them walk (much like New Orleans had to do with OG Nicks) because the combined salary total would be too much to deal with in terms of the cap. If they had a fourth first rounder, that would almost certainly be the case.

I can see your point....and I can also see what the Niners might be thinking...and neither point is wrong....IMHO...


Good breakdown.
Originally posted by strickac:
On Jenkins: he might not become a #1 WR, but I'm comfortable that he'll big a very productive player for us. He runs good routes, has speed to beat safeties, and has solid hands, which is a nice to finally have. He gets good separation on crossing routes, which should get him on the field earlier, maybe even in the slot. Most importantly though, he's not diva and he's a hard worker. I think he'll fit in perfectly in the offense. Like harbaugh said, what can't he do well?

Most people thought very highly of Josh Morgan and Jenkins is a far superior prospect. I think he'll be a huge upgrade as our #2, especially over Ginn. Moss is on a trial basis. If he pans out, that just a bonus. Manningham and now Jenkins vastly strengthened our receiving corps. We're adding a fast guy with reliable hands, who knows how to separate. I like his upside.

As for your grades, I don't follow your logic. We missed on DeCastro, but so what? We missed on Luck also. You had Jenkins as an early 2nd rounder and we drafted him at the end of the 1st. That seems to line up I me. We got a solid football player, with no character issues, at a position of need. That's a nice pick IMO. I'm not knocking your option. I just think you put added value on a RG. I too feel Decastro is going to be a solid pro, All-Pro potentially. I just think adding playmakers to the offense is what's going to get us to the next level.

I'm curious, if Kilgore or one of the others plays RG at a high level and Jenkins has a solid rookie year, how would you grade the pick?

Depends on the performance of DeCastro. If he ends up a Pro-Bowler, one of the best guards in the NFL, then I don't think I'd change my analysis.
Originally posted by SBinMT:
Thanks to MadDog for not only providing us with good insights, but also enlivening this dull message board!

My pleasure.
Thanks for your in-depth analysis. I appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into it, however, I disagree with your conclusions, particularly with respect to rounds 1 and 2.

I think you have neglected to include one vital ingredient in terms of analyzing the 49ers 2012 picks. In fairness, I think most analysts have failed to include this ingredient in their analyses.

That ingredient is coaching. You - and most others - tend to grade players based on their statistics, performance, history, etc. However, in order to properly grade a draft pick, you must integrate the coaching element, too. What will these players be like after being coached by Jim Harbaugh and his staff?

You are correct in your statement that we will not really know how successful (or not) this draft was for 3 years. However, we should begin to get a sense of how these players will respond to the 49ers coaching staff and philosophies during this off season, OTAs, training camp, and the 2012 season.

Personally, I think Trent Baalke gets a B+ or maybe even an A for this year's draft. I trust Baalke and Harbaugh to successfully mold these players - or at least most of them - into good contributors to an already excellent team.

IMO, if the draft makes the team better, then it is a good draft.
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