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MadDog's Niners Draft Grade and Analysis

Well, another draft comes and goes and time will tell who are the big winners and losers from this weekend. The Niners tried an unconventional approach this year, which may end working out well, or flopping. Once again, a few years down the road, a clear picture of the strength of this draft will emerge.

There are many ways to approach my analysis. At first glance, I thought an incomplete grade is warranted. The addition of a third round pick next year, via trade, does add some merit to this draft class. The later rounds won't have the same impact in the grade, but any additional pick is an additional pick. However, going the incomplete route is a cop-out, since this is all fun and games. So, here it is:

Round One- AJ Jenkins- A bit surprised with the pick. However, in the last days before the draft, the Rams were all over him, and I almost put him at 33 on my big board. I thought they wanted J. Jenkins more and had AJ after him. Jenkins was the 7th WR on my board, and the 4th taken overall. I think he is a good player, not a great player. To me, he is a solid number two WR in the NFL, but this is not going to happen until year 3. Expect very little impact in 2012. Smooth, quick, runs good routes, and productive, despite a lack of quality QB play. Saw a lot of him since I live in Big Ten country. Grade: F.

The reason for the grade is more than the player (because to me, Jenkins at 30 is a C+ grade). It is the opportunity to utilize the pick for the best value. And the best value at 30, was to not stay at 30. Great opportunities jump in front of you rarely in the draft, and the Niners passed on a golden one. Due to the nature of needs-based picks, from 6-21, we saw a complete run on defensive players. Only Tannehill at 8, Floyd at 13, and K. Wright at 20 were selected on the offensive side of the ball. At 21, the Bengals traded down so NE could draft Chandler Jones. The next handful of teams on the clock had OL needs, and to me, this was the time to make a move. The Browns, at 22, from all reports, lost out on K. Wright at 20, and could have been a trade partner. The Lions, at 23, needed OL help. The Steelers, at 24, for sure. The Texans, at 26, as well. So, with the top graded interior lineman in possibly a decade sitting on the board at 22, in David DeCastro, the Niners could have picked up one of the best players in the draft, and at great value. It would have cost a third rounder according to the value of trades around the same pick and according to trade value chart. The Niners missed on DeCastro, which would have anchored the right side of the OL for a decade.

Round 2- LaMichael James- Quick, shifty RB who can make players miss, and has potential to make big plays on offense. Rotational, third down back, who will probably play 10 snaps per game. And, therein lies the problem. The team is stocked at RB, with Gore, who is a three down back, Hunter, who is a similar back to James, and Brandon Jacobs. James may get his hands on the ball 3-4 times a game, and I just don't think this is good value for a second round selection. The team could have found a similar type player with even more explosiveness in Chris Rainey, about 4 rounds later. Grade: D.

Round 3 Traded- Good negotiation by Baalke. The Colts drafted TY Hilton, who is more explosive than James, but they gave up a lot in moving up. A fifth rounder next year and the pick five picks later. Grade- A

Round 4- Another great value trade dropping six slots and picking up a 6th this year and 6th next year. The Dolphins saw Lamar Miller on the board. Grade- A

Round 4- A third trade in the matter of ten picks. Team gives up pick for a 3rd rounder in 2013. Panthers desperately wanted Frank Alexander, and I don't know why. Great value trade. Grade- A

Round 4- Joe Looney- A pretty good pick under the circumstances. I think the team got burnt in the Dolphins trade when the Ravens grabbed Gino Gradkowski, who I think the team was all over. The best of the interior OL are long gone by now, and the team needs a guy who can come in and compete right now for a starting position. Looney has a ton of experience, is savvy, smart, and is technically sound. He will compete for the starting RG spot right away. That is the upside. The downside, Looney doesn't have much upside, and I'm not sure he will ever reach the level of Adam Snyder. A decent value pick because the team desperately needed a body. I had a list of guys graded higher, but I think pick is alright. Grade- B-

Round 5- Darius Fleming- Good football player that is athletic, quick, and productive. Not sure how he fits on our team. I speculate the team will shift him inside to ILB, and he will compete for the primary backup role under Bowman. He provides some insurance in case Bowman does not re-sign with the team in the future. The team had greater needs, and there were better players on the board, so this is a head scratcher to me. Grade: D

Round 6- Trent Robinson, Michigan State, FS- Home Run. The Niners get a steal in the 6th with a guy I had a late 3rd round grade. One of the best FS prospects in this draft, Robinson can run with WR's, and is not afraid to tackle. Productive, experienced, and solid instincts. Really outstanding pick.Grade: A

Round 6- Jason Slowey- Another terrific pick from small school Western Oregon. Slowey adds a lot of versatility in this draft, as we will be able to play all three interior line positions, and in an emergency, play tackle. Athletic, tough, and raw. Has much more upside than Looney, and Slowey was on a list of six small school guys I predicted the team would select. Brilliant play for a sixth rounder. Grade: A

Round 7- Cam Johnson- Edge OLB rusher, Virginia. Johnson is an enigma. Great athletic ability, played in a 3-4 system, has tremendous upside, and is a terrible underachiever. Lacks passion for the game, should be more productive and dominant. Guy with character flaws. However, you are getting second-third round talent in the 7th round, and if he can get his head on straight, becomes a terrific value pick. Could be starting material on another 3-4 team. Grade: A

So, as you can see, this is a complicated grade, with the variable of additional productive players next year. In most drafts, the greatest focus of the grade is the first two or three picks, and this was the down part of this draft class. Just not enough bang for your buck, and the loss of a potential Pro-Bowl type player in DeCastro because the team did not make the move up. Late rounders and future picks helped the final score below.

Final Draft Grade: C

As for my draft board, based on my best player available board, in a straight up, no trade draft, I had:
Round One- Peter Konz, C/G
Round Two- Mohamed Sanu, WR
Round Three- Brandon Thompson, NT
Round Four- Malik Jackson, DE
Round Five- Vick Ballard, RB
Round Six- Antonio Allen, SS
Round Seven- Derrius Brooks, CB

It has been a fun run. I will gladly take all questions, and time permitting as I shift from this board to real life, I will hopefully get a chance to respond to all.

Cheers.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on Apr 29, 2012 at 11:19 AM ]
Don't care what you think, lol
I could predict your grades better than I could predict the draft.
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Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Don't care what you think, lol

Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Don't care what you think, lol

You lie. You already memorized it.
Originally posted by ImaMod:
Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Don't care what you think, lol


LOL THIS LOL
Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Don't care what you think, lol

LOL

So you don't care yet you open up his thread and read it. Then take the time to post telling us you don't care.

Brilliant!
Originally posted by joey82:
Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Don't care what you think, lol

LOL

So you don't care yet you open up his thread and read it. Then take the time to post telling us you don't care.

Brilliant!

Da fuk are you LOL
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1st rd: F
2nd rd: D

???

lol. ridiculous, as usual.
I thought there was a knock against Konz that he had a lot of injuries and there was a fear his body was not going to hold up?
Originally posted by MadDog49er:


Round 2- LaMichael James- Quick, shifty RB who can make players miss, and has potential to make big plays on offense. Rotational, third down back, who will probably play 10 snaps per game. And, therein lies the problem. The team is stocked at RB, with Gore, who is a three down back, Hunter, who is a similar back to James, and Brandon Jacobs. James may get his hands on the ball 3-4 times a game, and I just don't think this is good value for a second round selection. The team could have found a similar type player with even more explosiveness in Chris Rainey, about 4 rounds later.

Grade: As for my draft board, based on my best player available board, in a straight up, no trade draft, I had:

Round One- Peter Konz, C/G

Just a couple notes:

  • I'm betting LMJ is in the game for more than 10 snaps per, and gets his hands on the ball more than 3-4 times. I think you'll often see him in the game when Gore is there, in motion or split out, or even getting a direct snap from time to time (I'm assuming we see a LOT of shotgun/spread this year, given we didn't draft another receiving TE). Or you'll see short yardage and goal-line plays with LMJ and Jacobs -- if the latter makes the team -- which will be a nightmare for the opponent's DC if the play isn't telegraphed. So while I never grade a draft, I feel more optimistic we'll see LMJ as a potent weapon this year than you do.
  • I liked Konz a lot, and was shocked when he fell as far as he did before getting picked up (more so than I was when Glenn fell, since he had some serious agility questions about him). With Konz, I have to think there's a potentially serious medical issue, an attitudinal thing, or some other factor that made him radioactive to several teams who could have used his services even more than the Niners.
  • Finally, I really liked the strategy of trading picks for the picks next year. The Niners are well stocked and could even see more if some of the new players achieve well beyond expectations to the extent a vet or two is traded for more picks. Had they been in that position this year, I think you might have seen them pull the trigger for some of the players you liked (e.g., DeCastro).
MadDog, thanks for the analysis. As the first draft was unfolding I was hoping like heck the 49ers were going to make a move for DeCastro. Then, in the second round, I was hoping like heck Konz would fall just a little bit further (after the Bears traded up for Jeffrey instead of Konz, I thought he had a chance).

But don't you think it's obvious in hindsight that (1) the 49ers didn't consider OL a big need, (2) they didn't have DeCastro or Konz graded as highly as most of us (for that matter, none of the NFL teams seemed to)?

Given (1) and (2), don't you think your grades are too low? You're projecting your own draft crush (DeCastro) onto what you think the 49ers should have done, but the 49ers did exactly what they set out to do. It's not like they botched their plan. They just didn't want the guys that we wanted them to want...
Coming from the guy who wanted JJ Watt over Aldon Smith, yeah, lost your credibility a long time ago. D's and F's for the first 2 picks? lmao
We differed a bit this year and one example would be our sixth rounder. I was very unenthused by the Trenton Robinson pick. In my opinion, his trait of "not being afraid to tackle" is negated by his inability to tackle well or get run over because of his midget size compared to most NFL players.

I gave him a 6th-7th round grade because I thought the primary attributes needed to be a starting safety weren't there -- good tackling and the ability to physically match up with strong receivers. His IQ is good I think and he's decently athletic, so my belief is he would make he mark on special teams.

Robinson to me was a guy that wouldn't fit what we need at safety. Too short (below 5-10), easy to throw over because of that and his tendency to get outmuscled would make him less effective fighting for balls he might have a chance at, and a guy who even if he was in position with the receiver may not be able to make the tackle after the catch since I don't think he tackles all that well. In the Senior Bowl, he was horrendous really.

In my mind, he's actually a better fit for a slot corner. I think that matches up to his abilities better. It's all a matter of opinion though, so we'll see. If they really like him, it wouldn't shock me to see them let Goldson walk for big money in 2013. But that'd be a terrible move.

But if he's anything like these early minutes of this clip (and to be honest, this was a game I didn't even catch, but was much like the others I watched of Robinson), he won't do much here.

[ Edited by OnTheClock on Apr 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM ]
Originally posted by defenderDX:
Coming from the guy who wanted JJ Watt over Aldon Smith, yeah, lost your credibility a long time ago. D's and F's for the first 2 picks? lmao

If you are going to give a guy s**t when he gets it wrong you can at least give him props when he gets it right. He was right on N. Davis, Rachal and Mays just for example.

I appreciate the time you put into this draft to share your thoughts and I realize that your opinions are just that opinions.