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MadDog's Niners Draft Grade and Analysis

Thanks to MadDog for not only providing us with good insights, but also enlivening this dull message board!
Originally posted by buck:
"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."

Harbaugh has to figure out how to use this loaded backfield, but I imagine that he will find a way to get James the ball more than three or four times a game. But, that is down the road.

I find your ranking to be a more than a bit skewed. You compare James to Chris Rainey. A comparison that shows, in my estimation, just how out of kilter your take on James is.

You claim that Rainey has "even more explosiveness" than LaMichael James, and that they are similar players.

The numbers do not support your claim.

James was the leading college rusher in 2010 and the second leading college rusher in 2011.
Rainey was 75th in 2011 and was not even in the top 100 in 2010.

In three years, James scored 57 touchdowns; Rainey a total of 19.

In three years at Oregon, James rushed for 5,082 yards.

In four years at Florida, Rainey gained 2,454 yards.

As receivers, they are about the same, although Rainey was a bit more productive.

In four years at Florida, Rainey had 69 receptions for 795 yards and 6 scores.
In three years at Oregon, James had 51receptions for 586 yards and 4 scores.

"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-"

The Ravens picked Gradkowski in the fourth round with the 98th pick.

This is same Gino Gradkowski who was listed as the 240th player on your Big 253 Final Board.
Now in retrospect, just a few days later, he suddenly becomes the player the team was all over in fourth round.

Your claims that the team got burnt and that the best interior linemen were long gone does not make much sense.

How exactly did we get burnt when the player you had ranked 240th was picked by the Ravens with the 98th pick?

Were the best interior linemen really long gone?

Both Senio Kelemete and Brandon Washington were still the board after Gradkowski was picked. You had them listed to go about 100 picks before Gradkowski. Kelemete was the 133rd player on your list and Washington was the 137th.

Our actual pick in the fourth round, Joe Looney Wake Forest G, was the 189 player on your list. As it turned out, Kelemete was the 151st player taken; Washington was the 200th player taken.

If anything, the actual draft seems to indicate some weakness in your projection of interior offensive linemen.

That weakness might also be extended to your evaluation of AJ Jenkins. Apparently, Baalke and Harbaugh did not share your appreciation of the need for an offensive guard or they feel that Kilgore really does have more value than you apparently do. At some point, it becomes necessary for us to concede that despite our pretentions the actual knowledge that we have of the team and of its players is very limited.

You give the Jenkins pick an F grade, because, and if I read your critique correctly, only because the team did not move up to take Castro. It seems readily apparent, that those who make the decisions really felt that our major need was at wide receiver. They moved to meet that need—and my bet is that they gave Jenkins a higher grade than a C+.

Your grade of F, for our first pick just seems out of whack.

Really well done, well thought out buck.
Originally posted by AB83Rules:
I respect the hell out you MD, but Jenkins is an F grade? It filled a need and was a good pick, he is a speedster who was productive at Illinois with a s**tty QB.

James is great pick, Sproles like to me.

Based on the way the draft went, Konz and Sanu would of been reaches, they went may lower than our picks would of been.

I am also happy with the trades we made, can't beat turning one pick into a 3rd, 5th, 6th in 2013 and 2 6ths this year.

It wasn't a flashy draft, but it was what we needed, depth. We didn't have many needs or holes at all. I only see maybe 5 open roster spots for the 53 man right now.

I give us a B+, and thats not counting the 3 2013 picks that we got.

Hi, AB. As I stated in the thread, Jenkins himself does not warrant the F grade, it is the missed opportunity to go up and get a player with superior grades at a reasonable price at the neediest position on the field for us.
Originally posted by nw9erfan:

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.


The Niners must have thought that Jenkins will be ready to contribute a lot sooner than Hill (or anyone else available) regardless of ceiling. Harbaugh wants to win the SB next season and Hill would not have helped as much, or maybe even very much at all.


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.


I think it's much simpler than that, and explains not only the draft but the FA moves.

Harbaugh knows that he needs a team where the 3rd and 4th receivers are a lot better than whoever is covering them. He can dictate that to some extent by formations and shifts. If he has mismatches to work with -- and an OL that can do its job -- he'll beat on the opponents all game long. He knows football is becoming a passing game because of rule changes and other factors. And he wants to get to the point that he can get at least 2-3 score leads and then unleash the fury of the defense on a team trying to catch up. I think he's very happy to have Jenkins and LaMike to work with, and he's not going the Nolan and Singletary route of playing vets instead of rookies on principle. I'm betting we'll see lots of both players from the very first game on.
Originally posted by TimeBandit:
apparently you can write this genius work of art and must be completely brilliant in all eyes of the zone cause if I give a opinion on your opinion based on the general hatred of draft grades and non football employed know it alls make me laugh. Well doing this gets me a warning for breaking rule número UNO!!!! I will never doubt anyone on here with red squares cause they must be football and Niners royalty. I will go back to just reading and laughing at the kids that act like they know everything and argue about it:

this post amuses me... i mean why in the world would disagreeing with someone's draft grade get you a warning? personally i disagree with MD's 1st and 2nd round grades and give them a C+ and B- (in that order) and obviously if someone disagrees with you in your eyes they MUST be wrong... well i invite you to do all the research on almost every player entering the draft then rank every single one based on value and talent alone which is one heckuva thing to do given the fact that there are around 20 different positions to choose from and THEN try and guess where every single one of these players are drafted if they are even drafted at all... In other words... please stop trolling for unicorns and be on your way because quite frankly i will trust his opinion more than mine more often than not based on the sheer research that he does...

and now for something draft grade related... i agree with all of those except for your first two... i say AJ Jenkins get's a C+ as a pick not just as a player grade. and that Lamichael james gets a B- because Gore is on the downhill jacobs will not last for too long and Hunter seems like he can't be a complete feature back to take an entire RB's workload
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
MD, why will Jenkins not be productive until year 3?

He is still a raw player, and like most WRs, need to adjust to the league. I see him as the number 4 on the team this year, so he is not going to get many reps. Even as the number 3 in 2013, he still will see limited opportunities since the team runs a lot of 2 TE sets.
Originally posted by hofer36:
I think some of the professional draft analysts, as well many here, put too much emphasis on comparing the player taken against other players that could have been taken, as opposed to how the player taken improves the team..

jenkins add a needed element of speed and seperation at the wideout position, which harbaugh and baalke apparently valued more than the plays they could have drawn for fleener...decastro is a nice player, but his position --rt guard-- is not necessarily one that is viewed as a great impact position...the niners had a better chance of getting a rt guard in rd 4 (looney) than a speedy receiver comparable to jenkins

james gives the niners even more speed and explosion, and i think will make an impact on the return game....after gore pounds and softens the opponents middle, i can see them bringing in 4 receivers to spread the field and pitching it wide to james out of the i formation
....how much did niners like james-- i suspect he was one of their few picks who didnt get a gold helmet (couple brushes with law including a strangulation incident with girlfriend, skirted ncaa rules on receiving benefits to go to the ducks)

loney adds versatility with his potential to play all 3 interior line positions,,,they liked his makeup as well by all apeearances

robinson could be a bigger factor than many suspect...with niners facing rodgers, stafford, brees, eli manning and brady, among others, a safety with coverage skills could see alot of time

they didnt get much help on dine to lessen the reps of smith and mcdonald, so maybe they hope that williams, dobbs or tuakafu step up

i think i like the niners draft
So true, Hofer, so true... When I looked at a few of the draft grades for 2012, they all talked about Jenkins being a reach and LMJ being a guy that wasn't needed (because K Hunter is already on the roster and has a similar build). They all completely missed the point of these picks!!.....which was to provide the team with more outside speed and explosion for easier scoring opportunities and to help free up guys like Crabtree and V Davis.

I will admit that I had to ponder the Niners' strategy at first myself but when I actually did the research on their first two picks, I realized that both were ridiculously productive in college, are incredibly athletic, have refined games already and thus....are ready to contribute right now. In fact, LMJ may turn out to be a bargain at pick 61...which brings me to this point.... Picking at 30 and 61, the Niners were essentially picking in the beginning of the second and third rounds respectively. So....most experts had a second round grade on Jenkins. Well, the Niners picked him two slots ahead of the second round. Big Deal!

I'm sure many of you are wondering how the team will fit all these RBs and WRs on the team this year and that is a good question. I think Moss' chances of making the final roster and actually making a contribution are actually fairly remote frankly so if that is the case, the team really needed another guy who could stretch the field.

As far as the RBs are concerned, it appears the Niners are not planning on running Frank Gore into the ground this year. Maybe he gets 200 carries this year instead of 250-300....which makes him fresher and more effective at the end of the year and in the playoffs. He looks like he is slowing down though and I would expect him to be gone before the opening of the new stadium in 2014....although I hope for his sake, that is not true.

In the next couple of years, I can foresee Hunter bulking up a bit (to 205-210 lbs.) and becoming the future number one RB (getting perhaps 17-20 carries per game) with LMJ as the alternative getting 12-15 touches per game.

Your thoughts guys?

Cheers!
Originally posted by boomer49er:
Grading draft the day after they happen is supid. Making a whole post to give your draft grades is stupid and narcissistic.

Following this logic, any person who has provided a draft grade for any publication is stupid and narcissistic. That would be a lot of writers. Just one person's opinion. You are correct in your philosophy that a true measure of the impact will not be fair for years.
I can't agree with the grade on aj jenkins. I think he will surprise everyone. I'M with harb on this pick, you can't argue aj's with his tape. IMO this will be another aldon smith smith situation people will question the pick at first then end up loving it.
Originally posted by TimeBandit:
apparently you can write this genius work of art and must be completely brilliant in all eyes of the zone cause if I give a opinion on your opinion based on the general hatred of draft grades and non football employed know it alls make me laugh. Well doing this gets me a warning for breaking rule número UNO!!!! I will never doubt anyone on here with red squares cause they must be football and Niners royalty. I will go back to just reading and laughing at the kids that act like they know everything and argue about it:

Once more and it's a banning. It's in your hands, let it go and stay, or go at it again and go?

Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
MD, why will Jenkins not be productive until year 3?

He is still a raw player, and like most WRs, need to adjust to the league. I see him as the number 4 on the team this year, so he is not going to get many reps. Even as the number 3 in 2013, he still will see limited opportunities since the team runs a lot of 2 TE sets.
I would disagree to really call him raw...I mean really? why would you characterize him as raw? He runs the entire route tree, and he doesnt just run it, he runs the tree extremely well and knows when to accelerate in each specific route to create the seperation needed. I think just looking at his great physical talents it is easy to call him raw, when in actuality he is a very polished route runner. I don't think many people really saw his ability to play as his terrible QB play hindered him and his biggest area of need is in getting off the line. Anytime you see a CB line up with an inside tech, and force him to the sideline with an inside shoulder shiv or by just forcing him to the sideline with his hips, it really messes with Jenkins. Luckily, Jenkins will be playing the slot for us as a rookie, (this is just my conjecture of course) Thus negating his biggest problem area and making the pick that much better. Giving him an F really makes no sense to me in this whole situation, but everyone is entitled to their own grade. That being said, while watching the draft I said the same thing as you about trading up to 22 to get Decastro, would of been estatic had this happened.
Originally posted by monsterzero789:
All I read was "I had Jenkins at 33 and think he could be a good player but since we didn't do what I wanted them to do I give them an F. They should have traded up for Decastro. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Our FO sucks waaaah waaaaah waaaaah"


Your draft analysis completely blows cock like always. There's a reason why your opinions are laughed at. I have no idea how you have been labeled as some draft guru as the few years that I have lurked On this board you have been wrong most of the time. Anybody can copy/paste a big board together and move some names around. I'm glad we don't have amateurs like yourself running our FO.


Hrash but true. Add in his cocky ego thus the result
Originally posted by nvninerfan1:
Thanks for putting the work into this MD, but I completely disagree. I am usually one who defends you, but what makes any of those other WRs better than AJ? Steven Hill, had like 40 catches last year. Remember, the last WR that came out of GT from the present Wishbone Coach took a couple of years to develop in
Denver didn't he. They don't run routes in GT, they just run streaks.

AJ had a pretty productive career at Illinois without a good QB. He runs routes well, is fast, and has sure hands that don't drop balls. Sounds a little like a guy the 49ers drafted in 1985 (No, I'm not saying.......). It's always a hit or miss with WRs.

As for LMJ, I see him as another tool for Harbaugh. I can see him in the slot with Gore in the Backfield.

The other thing these two players bring to the table is consistent performance sustained over at least a 3 year college career. AJ is also an academic guy. I know that doesn't mean anything to someone who went to OSU, Florida, LSU or Alabama, but it does in Harbaugh's offense.

Couple this with the fact that we stockpiled draft picks, and you get the idea that we should be set for next year. Heck, the team that everyone tries to emulate learned this from Bill Walsh.

Finally for those who said we still don't have a # 1 WR, there are two ways to be in line to get one. You either stink up the previous season, or you trade away the future to get one. I still ask this question though, with the Ram "Greatest Show on Turf", who was there # 1 receiver. Was it Bruce or Holt? If you have several very good WRs, who needs a # 1 Diva. For that matter, who is the number 1 for the Saints? How about the Packers?

I agree with most of your statements. In fact, my ranking of Jenkins as the 7th best overall is higher than nearly all professional analysts. I think he has a good shot to be a pretty good number two WR someday.

See note about added picks for next year.

The point I made is that depth at WR is not the greatest necessity for the team right now. It is to stabilize and greatly improve the right side of the OL. DeCastro, as one of the highest graded guards to enter the NFL in a long time, solves an enormous issue for us as a Day One starter and potential star player
Originally posted by Janitor:
Originally posted by TimeBandit:
apparently you can write this genius work of art and must be completely brilliant in all eyes of the zone cause if I give a opinion on your opinion based on the general hatred of draft grades and non football employed know it alls make me laugh. Well doing this gets me a warning for breaking rule número UNO!!!! I will never doubt anyone on here with red squares cause they must be football and Niners royalty. I will go back to just reading and laughing at the kids that act like they know everything and argue about it:

Once more and it's a banning. It's in your hands, let it go and stay, or go at it again and go?


hes only at 25%

why would he be banned
Originally posted by RonMexico:
hes only at 25%

why would he be banned

Incorrect