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MadDog's Niners Draft Grade and Analysis

Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Patience, grasshopper. Been very busy with other obligations the last couple days. I did have Fleming as a fifth rounder, not in my grade, but in where I felt some team would grab him. Not sure if Baalke was channeling me, but he should have dialed during the first round,

As for Fleming's position, teams varied on where they saw him on their roster. Some would have put him inside, some outside. Running a 34 team, you usually do not draft OLBs who are 6'1", so his height and weight measurables really fit inside for most squads. That being said, it appears the team intends to put him on the outside, which means he will get zero playing time behind Smith, who isn't going anywhere for a long time, Brooks, who just signed a long term extension, and Haralson, who should still be competing for major playing time, since he has been the starter in this defense for some time,

To maximize value for the pick, a team really wants to get the best talent at the best value in the draft in the neediest area that fits your scheme. Fleming is a guy who will Be a core special teamer, but that position for that talent in that position in the draft was not a good option. The teams still needs help in the secondary, has a TE in the last year of his contract, has a NT in the last year of his contract, has no rotational players at DE right now, and is still lean at center/guard.
So now you're saying the Niners shouldn't have taken Fleming in the 5th round because he's not gonna start? He's just a special teams guy? Just how many fifth round picks are expected to be starters as rookies in the NFL? That doesn't sound like a very sound basis for your continued criticism of the Fleming pick.

Just how many NTs or DEs or Cs or Gs play special teams? Not many. And not many TEs play special teams either. Not when there's a mobile and hostile ILB, OLB, or FB who can fill the bill. And the Niners got a secondary guy, Trent Robinson, a guy you actually like, so your reasoning there seems a little hollow.

Looks like Fleming was drafted primarily for ST, and has the versatility to play OLB and maybe ILB if need be. He's 6'2" and 245, ran a 4.55 at his pro day, and appears to be a good character, gold helmet, football player type. Not a superstar, but not a "D": pick either. .

Bottom line, you had Fleming listed at #168 on your board, the Niners took him at #165, but you still give them a "D" for the pick. Seems, at the least, inconsistent on your part.
[ Edited by oldninerdude on May 1, 2012 at 9:37 PM ]
Good analysis as always MD. Always funny to look back and see how the analysis actually panned out. I believe last year you gave the Niners a terrible grade as well. Overall, I would agree with most of it, with the exception of your "trade speculation."

You should not be basing your analysis on "Cleveland was believed to want to trade" or "It would ahve only cost a third round to move up 8 spots." You go into in depth analysis on players abiliities and potential futures in the NFL, then follow up with what I interpret as PURE speculation. Maybe the option to trade up was not there? Maybe they feel good with Kilgore, Boone and Person?

Niners seem to be "bucking the trend" or taking a popular or expected pick. They seem to be thinking a little more unconventional since Harbaugh has come on board. I am guessing you will not like any of their drafts for the next few years.
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
Seriously. There is no evidence that the Browns were open to trading back from #22 to #30, or that any other team with a pick before #24 (where DeCasto was taken) was willing or interested in making such a trade. MD's criticism is purely hypothetical, all imaginary. Its based on the assumption that within less than 5 minutes the Niners could have (a) read the minds of the Brown's war room staff and known that they were not happy with the selection before them, then (b) called them up and convinced them to swap #22 for #30 and #92. (IIRC, the Browns took QB Weedon at #22, and turned in their pick promptly, in less than two and a half minutes--as if they were happy with the pick at a position of need for them. Not a likely trade partner, it seems.)

Then there's the cost. Assuming they chose to make the deal, they get a RG who MIGHT be a probowler someday and lose AJ Jenkins--who also MIGHT be a probowler someday, and the #92 pick--which Baalke brilliantly turned into not one, not two, but THREE future picks, including a third rounder next year.

The question that presents itself is this: if DeCastro was THAT good (third best pick of the draft, behind Luck and RG III per MD), isn't it likely that Harbaugh would have known it and made sure they landed the guy? Isn't it more likely that DeCastro, although good, is really not THAT good--not the second coming of Steve Hutchinson or Larry Allen after all. The Niners clearly made the best call--sticking with what they had at #30, not sacrificing #30 and #92 for a RG.

Then there's the question of just how big an impact a RG, even a very good one, is gonna have. RGs typically pass protect and open running lanes. Its not an easy job, but its not considered a skill position. So who's more important for the current version of the Niners--who have four first round draft picks on the OL already--another OL, or additional skill players at WR and at RB, who will take the offense to the next level? Seems like a no brainer.
Hey, Maddie, what gives here?

Btw, in case you think I'm picking on you, not so. Appreciate the fact that you raise these issues about the draft. You have always had the ability to raise relevant issues about the team. Sometimes your analysis gets skewed, and you're too thin skinned (IMHO, or maybe its just with me) when a potential error or possible misjudgment in a post is pointed out, but you do see and raise the issues. Nothing bad about that.

So, link, or it didn't happen. .
Originally posted by SJniner7:
Good analysis as always MD. Always funny to look back and see how the analysis actually panned out. I believe last year you gave the Niners a terrible grade as well. Overall, I would agree with most of it, with the exception of your "trade speculation."

You should not be basing your analysis on "Cleveland was believed to want to trade" or "It would ahve only cost a third round to move up 8 spots." You go into in depth analysis on players abiliities and potential futures in the NFL, then follow up with what I interpret as PURE speculation. Maybe the option to trade up was not there? Maybe they feel good with Kilgore, Boone and Person?

Niners seem to be "bucking the trend" or taking a popular or expected pick. They seem to be thinking a little more unconventional since Harbaugh has come on board. I am guessing you will not like any of their drafts for the next few years.

Last year's post draft grade was a C, but many erroneously think I gave an F grade to the Smith pick and the entire draft. Just like last year, it has some highs and lows.

As for trading up, the Pats found a partner at 21 in the Benglas to move up from their 27th spot. The Browns probably would have moved down since the pick they really wanted from Cleveland media sources, K. Wright, was selected at 20. The Lions may have moved down as well.

In the end, teams like the Eagles and Patriots took the right approach, and did not use excuses to prevent them from the player they wanted. The Eagles waited and then pounced on Cox, the Pats waited and pounced on Jones. Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.

DeCastro walks in from Day One as the starter, and the team doesn't have to play games attempting to figure out how to resolve the position. It allows Kilgore to prepare to take over for Goodwin in a year, and allows Boone to be the primary backup for LT and RT. In the end, it solves our OL problems. If Looney comes in and plays at DeCastro's level, or if Kilgore or Boone or A. Davis steps in and plays at DeCastro's level, then I will be wrong in my review (and you will see a mountain of responses from board members who think I am way too harsh). I just don;t see it happening.

As for trade down partners, according to multiple reports, the majority of teams in the first round stated that they were looking to move down. I have a hard time believing that Baalke was a the cruel victim of circumstances, and that nobody wanted to trade with him. That was the excuse used last year regarding Patrick Peterson.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on May 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM ]
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.
Lol. Couldn't it also be possible that Baalke and Harbaugh thought DeCastro was overrated? After all, Harbaugh had a perspective on DeCastro that no other coach had access to. Not saying you're wrong, but I don't think you're looking at this completely objectively here.
Originally posted by AllTimeGreat:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.
Lol. Couldn't it also be possible that Baalke and Harbaugh thought DeCastro was overrated? After all, Harbaugh had a perspective on DeCastro that no other coach had access to. Not saying you're wrong, but I don't think you're looking at this completely objectively here.

It could be a number of reasons:
1) Harbaugh who knows DeCastro better than any scout or anyone on this board did not agree that he was "the best guard entering the draft in a decade:
2) The team does not value Right Guard as a prime postion to use a first round pick on
3) The Niners think Kilgore could be very good ( which is why they traded up to get him)
4) They thought Looney is better than most think ( and again traded up for him)
5) Valued a 3rd rd pick and what they could potentially gather in picks by trading down ( which happened)
6) Felt that getting dynamic playmakers was the most important thing for this team

I have to admit I was hoping the Niners would move up to get DeCastro is well but I dont have the benefit of knowing what Harbaugh knows. Pretty sure Maddog doesnt either.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Last year's post draft grade was a C, but many erroneously think I gave an F grade to the Smith pick and the entire draft. Just like last year, it has some highs and lows.

As for trading up, the Pats found a partner at 21 in the Benglas to move up from their 27th spot. The Browns probably would have moved down since the pick they really wanted from Cleveland media sources, K. Wright, was selected at 20. The Lions may have moved down as well.

In the end, teams like the Eagles and Patriots took the right approach, and did not use excuses to prevent them from the player they wanted. The Eagles waited and then pounced on Cox, the Pats waited and pounced on Jones. Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.

DeCastro walks in from Day One as the starter, and the team doesn't have to play games attempting to figure out how to resolve the position. It allows Kilgore to prepare to take over for Goodwin in a year, and allows Boone to be the primary backup for LT and RT. In the end, it solves our OL problems. If Looney comes in and plays at DeCastro's level, or if Kilgore or Boone or A. Davis steps in and plays at DeCastro's level, then I will be wrong in my review (and you will see a mountain of responses from board members who think I am way too harsh). I just don;t see it happening.

As for trade down partners, according to multiple reports, the majority of teams in the first round stated that they were looking to move down. I have a hard time believing that Baalke was a the cruel victim of circumstances, and that nobody wanted to trade with him. That was the excuse used last year regarding Patrick Peterson.
This post is full of unsupported speculation.

Further, the posted argument--that the Niners needed to draft DeCasto in order to solve their "OL problems"--also appears to be badly misguided. One could argue that the position stated in this post completely ignores or overlooks the state of the Niner's offense last season.

According to the post, the Niners needed yet another first round selection at OL in order to cure a somewhat anemic offense that struggled on third downs, on short yardage situations, in the red zone, and with pass protection. As if adding DeCastro would suddenly, magically cure all these ills.

But the trouble did not lie solely with the OL. Rather, it could be traced to a lack of a sufficient number of playmakers who are able to get separation and get open, especially on third down and in short yardage situations. Opposing teams last season were frequently able to overwhelm the OL with numbers in these situations because they knew our skill players did not have the speed necessary to get open quickly and allow the QB to get the ball out of his hands fast enough.

So the genius cure by Harbaugh and Baalke is to add two speedy playmakers to stretch the field, get separation (and get open), and take the pressure off the QB and the OL.

There's just no way the addition of DeCasto at RG would have cured the third down ills that plagued the team last year. But the addition of Jenkins, James and Looney will go a long way towards doing so. IMHO.

So the post above is really just speculating about something that's a non-issue as far as improving the offense is concerned. Would adding DeCastro have helped? Probably. Would it have solved the third down problems. Not likely. Good as he is, DeCastro is not quick, fast, or speedy enough to get separation and get open on critical downs, nor is it his job to do so, obviously.

It seems pretty clear that Baalke got the guy he was targeting all along--both in the first and in the second round. So the completely unsupported argument that he coulda or shoulda tried to trade to get DeCastro is not only purely speculative, its also compeletely frivolous.

The post shows a lack of understanding about what the Niners were trying to accomplish in the draft, for the offense, in the first place. IMHO.

Which would be better to cure the third down/short yardage ills, getting a great RG, or getting a really good RG, a terrific WR with great speed, AND a terrific third down RB with great speed (and adding a bunch of picks next year as well). Seems like a pretty easy call.

BTW, thanks to MadDog for framing this issue the way he did. It may not have been his intent to do so, but presenting the argument the way he does allows Niner fans to more closely examine just what Baalke and Harbaugh set out to do, and accomplished, in the draft this year.
[ Edited by oldninerdude on May 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM ]
  • fryet
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Originally posted by AllTimeGreat:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.
Lol. Couldn't it also be possible that Baalke and Harbaugh thought DeCastro was overrated? After all, Harbaugh had a perspective on DeCastro that no other coach had access to. Not saying you're wrong, but I don't think you're looking at this completely objectively here.
I don't get the point of this kind of post. Obviously Baalke has access to more info than MadDog and decided that having Jenkins was better for the team than DeCastro + a 3rd round pick would have been. But MadDog is stating what he would have done and has been asked by many to do (myself included). If you just want to trust that Baalke is doing what is right, then there is no need to read draft grades. Draft graders are going to compare what the team did compared to what they have done, based on their limited knowledge. But at least MadDog has put the work in to be knowledgeable about the subject. As a fan who knows nothing about college players, I always like to hear a different perspective on the draft. Obviously the GM is happy with the players that they got - they picked them. But what do other draft experts think? That is why many are eager to hear what MadDog says.
Originally posted by fryet:
Originally posted by AllTimeGreat:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.
Lol. Couldn't it also be possible that Baalke and Harbaugh thought DeCastro was overrated? After all, Harbaugh had a perspective on DeCastro that no other coach had access to. Not saying you're wrong, but I don't think you're looking at this completely objectively here.
I don't get the point of this kind of post. Obviously Baalke has access to more info than MadDog and decided that having Jenkins was better for the team than DeCastro + a 3rd round pick would have been. But MadDog is stating what he would have done and has been asked by many to do (myself included). If you just want to trust that Baalke is doing what is right, then there is no need to read draft grades. Draft graders are going to compare what the team did compared to what they have done, based on their limited knowledge. But at least MadDog has put the work in to be knowledgeable about the subject. As a fan who knows nothing about college players, I always like to hear a different perspective on the draft. Obviously the GM is happy with the players that they got - they picked them. But what do other draft experts think? That is why many are eager to hear what MadDog says.
Wow you completely missed the point.

MadDog is framing the argument in such a way to cast Baalke in a bad light by conveniently leaving out other possibilities.

He's essentially saying that the only reason we didn't trade up to grab DeCastro was because he was ill prepared, or because he overvalues a 3rd round pick. He assumes he knows that Baalke coveted DeCastro and he wasn't savy enough to trade up for the guy he wanted when in fact he has no way of knowing whether Baalke even had the desire to draft DeCastro at all. I'm not saying the Baalke knows best and knows more than MadDog. I'm saying the MadDog is jumping to a faulty logical conclusion in order to justify his continuing ongoing assault against Trent Baalke, which he has been doing since the day Baalke was hired.

Not sure why you chose to single out my post out of all of the responses in this thread....
[ Edited by AllTimeGreat on May 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM ]
  • fryet
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Originally posted by AllTimeGreat:
Wow you completely missed the point.

MadDog is framing the argument in such a way to cast Baalke in a bad light by conveniently leaving out other possibilities.

He's essentially saying that the only reason we didn't trade up to grab DeCastro was because he was ill prepared, or because he overvalues a 3rd round pick. He assumes he knows that Baalke coveted DeCastro and he wasn't savy enough to trade up for the guy he wanted when in fact he has no way of knowing whether Baalke even had the desire to draft DeCastro at all. I'm not saying the Baalke knows best and knows more than MadDog. I'm saying the MadDog is jumping to a faulty logical conclusion in order to justify his continuing ongoing assault against Trent Baalke, which he has been doing since the day Baalke was hired.

Not sure why you chose to single out my post out of all of the responses in this thread....

You certainly aren't the only one who has used the argument "Ballke knows more than you". You were just the most recent. As I understand MadDog's reasoning, he was responding to those that were saying that Baalke was unable to trade up to get DeCastro. He was trying to show that it is likely that Baalke could have traded up, but chose not to. You are correct in saying that he assumed the reason was based on not being prepared for the scenario, and I will agree that you are correct that it may not have been unpreparedness, but a lower value on DeCastro that resulted in Baalke not trading up.

For what it is worth, personally I don't think it is worthwhile to grade a draft on a team failing to trade up, so I do have that issue with MD.
Originally posted by fryet:
Originally posted by AllTimeGreat:
Wow you completely missed the point.

MadDog is framing the argument in such a way to cast Baalke in a bad light by conveniently leaving out other possibilities.

He's essentially saying that the only reason we didn't trade up to grab DeCastro was because he was ill prepared, or because he overvalues a 3rd round pick. He assumes he knows that Baalke coveted DeCastro and he wasn't savy enough to trade up for the guy he wanted when in fact he has no way of knowing whether Baalke even had the desire to draft DeCastro at all. I'm not saying the Baalke knows best and knows more than MadDog. I'm saying the MadDog is jumping to a faulty logical conclusion in order to justify his continuing ongoing assault against Trent Baalke, which he has been doing since the day Baalke was hired.

Not sure why you chose to single out my post out of all of the responses in this thread....

You certainly aren't the only one who has used the argument "Ballke knows more than you". You were just the most recent. As I understand MadDog's reasoning, he was responding to those that were saying that Baalke was unable to trade up to get DeCastro. He was trying to show that it is likely that Baalke could have traded up, but chose not to. You are correct in saying that he assumed the reason was based on not being prepared for the scenario, and I will agree that you are correct that it may not have been unpreparedness, but a lower value on DeCastro that resulted in Baalke not trading up.

For what it is worth, personally I don't think it is worthwhile to grade a draft on a team failing to trade up, so I do have that issue with MD.
Again I never said that Baalke knew best or that he was right in his analysis. I was just trying to make a point that it could have been that Baalke just didn't like DeCastro as much as MadDog does and therefore had no motivation to move even if he had the option to. Whether Baalke would be right or wrong in this judgment I have no opinion as I do not follow the draft all that closely. MadDog could very well be right and Baalke indeed want to trade up. My point is not that MadDog is wrong, but that he is not presenting a balanced argument.

He said more than just that Baalke could have traded up but chose not to. That was stated in the 2nd paragraph and I have no problem with that statement. What he says after that is what I am taking issues to.
Originally posted by FILTHpigskin:
You can't fight in here this is the war room!
Originally posted by AllTimeGreat:
Originally posted by FILTHpigskin:
You can't fight in here this is the war room!
lol--first at the gif, then lol again at your comment.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:

In the end, teams like the Eagles and Patriots took the right approach, and did not use excuses to prevent them from the player they wanted. The Eagles waited and then pounced on Cox, the Pats waited and pounced on Jones. Either Baalke did not prepare for this situation effectively, or he did not believe sacrificing a third rounder was good value. In either case, the consequences will be that the team missed on a player that grades the best of any guard entering the draft in a decade, and in a serious position of need.

Well considering what that third rounder was turned into this year and for 2013... Baalke made the right decision.

GM's dont give up one their guys before they even get to compete, if last year you spotted a guard in the later rounds and moved up to get him it was for a good reason. If Baalke sacrifices a third to move up for Decastro then he has to write off the previous years pick as a sunk cost, which increases the amount given up for Decastro to not only a third, but Kilgores pick and the picks given up to grab Kilgore. Effectively giving up 4 picks (a 3rd, Kilgore(5th), a 6th and 7th (traded to grab Kilgore)) to move up 7 spots. For a team that does very well in the mid to later rounds, thats a horrible choice, especially when a good replacement could be on the roster already in Kilgore, Boone, or even Davis.

Add in the opportunity cost of the extra 4 picks that 3rd rounder got us this year and the decision to trade up to grab Decastro would net a negative 8 picks. That is the business side of being a GM. In order to maximize value GM's must quantify every move they make while taking the roster, draft history and future opportunities into account. Baalkes recent success at finding role players and even future starters in the 3rd and beyond... and i think you get the idea, bad move.
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