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MadDog's Niners Draft Grade and Analysis

  • RKab
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I felt the same way about trading up for Decastro - then I realized (a) the guy who coached him in college probably has a better understanding of his talent than I do and (b) you need a trading partner. The only spot where the team traded out of a pick around where Decastro fell to was NE moving into the Bengals pick. And the Bengals wanted a guard (Zeitler) so they needed to stay in front of BAL and SF. But if the team would been interested SF would have had to give up a 3rd and #30 at a minimum. So hypothetically you could have Decastro or Jenkins / Looney / 3rd / 5th Rounder next year.

At this point, I'll take the later. There's a ton of money and picks invested in the oline right now. But adding more bulk and size won't get this team to the next level. The 49ers desperately needed to get faster and get some big play ability out there.

I also agree that the focus of the offense clearly changed towards the end of the season with more passing either out of Gore's injury or Harbaugh's intent. But the concept that this team will only be a smash mouth team I believe is misleading.
  • Blitz
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Originally posted by longtime49erfan:
Originally posted by nw9erfan:
Originally posted by longtime49erfan:

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.

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

This is a great point and too often overlooked in terms of draft evaluation. From the viewpoint of Baalke and Harbaugh, they are looking at their draft picks in terms of what they can be with an entire off-season of great coaching. The vast majority of draftniks are not.

For example, they might agree with Maddog in that Stephen Hill is overall, a better athlete and even that he has more upside than AJ Jenkins. However, they also see that right now, Jenkins is a much more polished player than Hill and that after an off-season of NFL weight training and excellent coaching, AJ could help the team far more than any other wideout they could have gotten at pick number 30.....and who am I to disagree?

Another example is Looney. Right now, it appears he is a good road grader but that he is lacking in terms of his pass protection skills. Well, B and H probably look at him as having all of the athleticism necessary to be a very good OG in the NFL but simply needs some time to refine his pass protection techniques...and they feel they can help him do that.
That is exactly my point. If you are going to accurately analyze draft picks, you must include how the players will play after going through the offseason and being coached by the team's staff. Great points from you, too nw.

I think, along the lines of what you are saying above here, you also have to look at it in terms of where your current team is with regard to how long they have been functioning together in the same system etc. The team is relatively new in that regard.....one year of this offense....hence, not that far along. IE...don't need to draft a player who can do "x" well, if the team hasn't even got to "x" yet. You just need to draft player who can get to "x" at the same time as everybody else has been planned on being there. A timing thing...the idea being to get everybody to arrive at the same place and time you want them to.
[ Edited by Blitz on Apr 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM ]
Thanks for the effort sir. Deff disagree with your James grade doe
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
The Eagles love Cox

I've had that same impression for years now.

Regarding DeCastro, I'm of the POV that Harbaugh not being in his corner...despite tremendous exposure to him and a clear need at the position...is kind of damning to DeCastro. Last year Harbaugh & Baalke did a tremendous job of recognizing internal talent (Bowman, Tarell Brown, Ray McDonald, etc), so they've earned the benefit of the doubt from me when evaluating players that they're very familiar with.

It may not be necessarily "damning" of DeCastro. As in, I don't think Harbaugh has any doubts or red flags about DeCastro. But it certainly seems that Harbaugh doesn't believe DeCastro is head and shoulders above the rest of the guards. As someone pointed out elsewhere, it may speak to Harbaugh thinking that DeCastro's success was somewhat attributable to the system and good coaching, and that the 49ers can make a helluva guard out of someone with only 3rd round talent.
  • RKab
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Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
The Eagles love Cox

I've had that same impression for years now.

Regarding DeCastro, I'm of the POV that Harbaugh not being in his corner...despite tremendous exposure to him and a clear need at the position...is kind of damning to DeCastro. Last year Harbaugh & Baalke did a tremendous job of recognizing internal talent (Bowman, Tarell Brown, Ray McDonald, etc), so they've earned the benefit of the doubt from me when evaluating players that they're very familiar with.

It may not be necessarily "damning" of DeCastro. As in, I don't think Harbaugh has any doubts or red flags about DeCastro. But it certainly seems that Harbaugh doesn't believe DeCastro is head and shoulders above the rest of the guards. As someone pointed out elsewhere, it may speak to Harbaugh thinking that DeCastro's success was somewhat attributable to the system and good coaching, and that the 49ers can make a helluva guard out of someone with only 3rd round talent.

Considering how Harbaugh was able to take a number of 49ers to the next level last year - it may be safe to assume that a lot of Stanford prospects were "overachieving" or that Harbaugh had already done as much as he could with them.

Who knows. I don't think stocking up on more lineman makes this team much different than last year's team. Which was a very good team but floundered in the red zone and had no deep threats. A Jenkins and a James could have a synergistic effect and make everyone better because of the threat.

Jenkins is the kind of pick that Baalke's legacy will be tied to and I hope he does well. I just hope he didn't outsmart himself. Bellicheck in NE I think routinely outsmarts himself and he thinks he's pulling one over on the rest of the league and ends up drafting a handful of "reaches" that never turn out.
[ Edited by RKab on Apr 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM ]
  • Amir
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only read a few pages but when did DeCastro become more highly rated than Iupati coming out of college?
Originally posted by Amir:
only read a few pages but when did DeCastro become more highly rated than Iupati coming out of college?

I'm pretty sure DeCastro had a higher consensus grade than Iupati. That might not be particularly relevant since Iupati has already shown that he will achieve at the high end of his projected range.
  • Blitz
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  • Posts: 7,858
Originally posted by RKab:
I felt the same way about trading up for Decastro - then I realized (a) the guy who coached him in college probably has a better understanding of his talent than I do and (b) you need a trading partner. The only spot where the team traded out of a pick around where Decastro fell to was NE moving into the Bengals pick. And the Bengals wanted a guard (Zeitler) so they needed to stay in front of BAL and SF. But if the team would been interested SF would have had to give up a 3rd and #30 at a minimum. So hypothetically you could have Decastro or Jenkins / Looney / 3rd / 5th Rounder next year.

At this point, I'll take the later. There's a ton of money and picks invested in the oline right now. But adding more bulk and size won't get this team to the next level. The 49ers desperately needed to get faster and get some big play ability out there.

I also agree that the focus of the offense clearly changed towards the end of the season with more passing either out of Gore's injury or Harbaugh's intent. But the concept that this team will only be a smash mouth team I believe is misleading.

I agree with this.

Look at this way too: Year one, Harbaugh knows he can only do so much his first year. Doesn't matter who he has personnel wise, they are only going to be able to absorb so much. So it does no good in year one to draft somebody who you can't even use yet because the other parts of the offense aren't even there yet, and won't be there until year two.

You know, it is a case of baby steps. I think a lot of people are forgetting these guys have only played together in this offense for a year (not even an offseason either) and they really are just starting out still. They just far exceeded everyone's expectations last year. Harbaugh is already spooky good....and he's still got most of his s**t still packed away. He did what he did last year with what was given him, not what he built. He has just started building. Yeah, he's spooky good alright. lol
[ Edited by Blitz on Apr 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM ]
  • Amir
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 25,848
Originally posted by Janitor:
Thanks everyone for turning this thread around and allowing it to be about football.


I'll say what I've said in other threads. Truly we can't know what grade we got until a few years from now. But I do understand the allure of making judgements now.

My mod draft grade:

Janitor - F
Rubberneck - dont care, lol
Boast - Incomplete

That is all
  • Blitz
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 7,858
Originally posted by Amir:
My mod draft grade:

Janitor - F
Rubberneck - dont care, lol
Boast - Incomplete

That is all

lol You are a God.

Originally posted by WildBill:
I appreciate Maddog's and OTC's work on rating the players in the overall scheme of things. However you don't see people skewing OTC because of the way he presents himslef. Madddog tends to be adamnant (sp?) about his after draft ratings and criticism of the picks even when he is in the wrong. He doesn't see the forrest for the trees, he only sees the player and not how they fit with the what the niners want to do and the type of system they are running or what the team feels they are in need of.

Like Maddog, I would have wanted Decastro and wouldn't have minded if they traded up, but I am open to knowing that:
1) Starting OL can be found in the later rounds if you have good coaches like Bob McKittrick was.
2) The niners wanted more speed.

Hill might have seemed like the answer to some instead of Jenkins, but Hill is really raw and limited, Jenkins can run a lot more routes than Hill and is smoother and more polished. This will cause a Safey to make a choice play up for the slant or back for the long ball, make the wrong choice and you will pay. Also, it seems that besides the production, and measurables like the 40's and all, there is a unique physical trait of that position that the niners are looking for. Last year Aldon's wingspan, the FO envision it helping him reach out to swat a pass, snag a pass, grab opposing teams ball carrier even when he is being held up, and helping to shed people. Well this year it was Jenkin's big mitts.

As for L James, he is a home run threat all the time he touches the ball. Harbaugh has faced him time and again. So he knows this. Limited touches perhaps, but it is what he does with that touch. Plus, I can see where JH is going with this, once Gore is gone, we won't have a single back that we rely on as the bell cow. It will be RB by committee. So Hunter and James doesn't have to be work horses. Plus, sometime down the road they will probably draft a battering ram of a running back to complement. With Vernon Davis and posiblly Moss and maybe even Owusu, the niners are showing a need for speed,

Maddog is only see the forrest and not the the forrest for the trees. In other words if they contribute to the niners making the playoffs and a SB, then it was a good draft. Baalke and JH are looking for people who can contribute to the team as a whole and not on just an individual stat basis. If you doubt that then I point to Specail teams as proof.

MadDog made it clear that he likes the player, but thought we passed up on someone better. Time will tell. I agree with him. I don't hate Jenkins, I just think he has a limited role and I don't envision him as a starter.

Among positives, Jenkins is deceptively quick, however while he has decent speed, he is not as fast as his 4.3 time would indicate. Another positive is his focus and initial burst off the line, also deceptive in this regard, surprising defenders often times.

Jenkins' lesser traits are that he lacks strength compared to most of the receivers of this class. He is not going to break a lot of tackles, and he's got average moves in the open field. His lack of strength also hurts him when fighting for balls, negating his good vertical because most corners can out-jockey him, and when running with the ball he is a guy who is susceptible to fumbles. This lack of strength again haunts him in press coverage when he faces a physical corner that locks onto him to keep him from using his quickness to get downfield. Jenkins must also fix his problems stopping on his routes -- that can KILL a QB's confidence in you. He is generally good with his hands but not as consistent at "plucking the ball" or extending his arms as I would have liked to see the past season. I think his production was slightly inflated due to being the only legitimate option, but that's just my opinion.
Originally posted by Blitz:
Originally posted by dj43:
Originally posted by 5280High:
Consider this, the offense we ran last year was out of necessity. Limited offseason = safe conservative offense. It also catered to the players abilities since they were drafted for sings fysical offense. That was successful, but during the season Harbaugh has keyed in on what Alex does well, throw with multiple receiver sets, often out of shotgun. Being a former qb there is no way Harbaugh will be complacent with just a smashmouth team. I think we will see more multiple receiver sets to cater to Alex's strengths. It would appear they drafted to add that type of versatility to the offense. We can line up with 7 lineman or completely spread out.

I think you are very close to the mark here. Harbaugh looked at last season and how limited the offense was, and also realized that while last season often relied on some trickery and deceit that opponents would be well prepared for this year, and said, "we better get some weapons that will let us open things up."

His playbook is a hell of a lot bigger than what we saw last year. You can bet, Harbaugh is thinking in terms of using his full play book. You can bet, he has been planning on using as much of his playbook at any given time that he can. You can bet, he is gonna plan and build, through the years...with the the objective of using as much of his playbook as he can.

Being a former QB, it must have been painful to see such a one-dimensional offense as last season. I believe that is a big part of why they picked Jenkins instead of someone else. He will be more game ready than any others that were realistically available. Also, it is worth recalling that Harbaugh was at Indy when Marvin Harrison broke in with 64 catches his rookie season. So while I am not saying Jenkins will have a similar career, it is reasonable to think Harbaugh believes a rookie can have an impact his first season. JH will give this kid every opportunity to be a #1 receiver by the time the season starts.
Man oh man MD....I hope you drink when you go through these pages.

Few comments.....

Jenkins surprised the hell out of me, I figured it would be OG or WR, but Jenkins...right out of left field. The kid has talent which I think we all can agree on but how high he will go is yet to be seen. If he becomes a more productive WR compared to Crabs then its a win in my book. I still think we need more talent at the position but you have to start somewhere.

James baffled the hell out of me, didn't think we would go RB but if we did thought it would be a bigger back. Although I cant argue with the ability of making guys miss coupled with raw speed, small backs do worry me. I haven't watched a lot of footage of the kid and will bypass the "highlights" that show 0 flaws on youtube...Chilo I'm sure had a highlight reel. I'm very indifferent about this pick but will hold of judgement until I see him play.

We have created a bit of a log jam at WR, RB, and OL. I would love to know who gets cut and who sees the field more then 10 snaps a game. Hopefully Jenkins makes it at slot and gets heavy rotation by week 3-5. James will need to make both Jacobs and Cartwright expendable in camp. We have a good chance Gore is out at some point with a nagging injury. If he is up to speed, can pass block, and doesn't look lost I think he will add a different dimension then Hunter right now.

Although I wasn't happy that we didn't move for DeCastro, I was surprised we didn't move for Glenn. Time will tell but I do give this draft a C+ on players and a B- with the additional picks.

I do have to say looking at what we have I think we go back to WR next year and go big at DE and NT.
[ Edited by jreff22 on Apr 29, 2012 at 10:54 PM ]
Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Great Job D-Money

Love the grades.

Thanks big homie, truly appreciate it.
Lol, I just dug up MD's grades from last year. That thread turned UGLY about halfway through the season when Aldon Smith, Chris Culliver, and Bruce Miller had already panned out. Yikes.