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MadDog's Niners Draft Grade and Analysis

Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
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...

Not sure if the Niners did not consider OL a big need, but they obviously targeted guys to get the ball into their hands. They probably did not grade DeCastro and Konz as high as me. As the "draft crush", I really don't live in that world. I either think they are a good player or not.

I am not the only one that thought DeCastro graded high as a player. The National Football Post, comprised of former scouts and GM's, includling Michael Lombardi and Wes Bunting, had DeCastro as their number three player. NFLDraftScout had him as the tenth best player overall.
You can't ding a guy's grade because he won't contribute much his rookie year. The fact is you draft a guy for 7-10 years, not for 1. Think about it this way, after 2 more seasons, when Gore and Jacobs are (probably) no longer on the team and LMJ is hitting his prime, how good a pick will this have been?

So what is LMJ's grade in terms of talent acquired at that spot in the draft?
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
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.
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:
thank god you put your name in the thread title, I would of never known who made the post
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
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.


We will see with the kid, as he may be the starter if the team doesnt extend Goldson long-term.
Originally posted by irishluder:
Hey MadDog, your top 250 list was very good and was the list I ended up following for the final day

Thanks.
Originally posted by vrabbit:
sadly I agree with most of your analysis

We are both sick and twisted.
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


I do think he lowballed our first two picks as I think Jenkins and James add instant and much needed speed and explosiveness to the offense and if James does only touch the ball three or four times as Maddog thinks then those are three or four plays that he could potentially take to the house and Jenkins will be a welcomed third down addition with his solid route running as I think he will be open more often then not.

However I wouldn't give him much crap over the JJ Watt thing as Aldon was great last year but it is important to remember that Watt was an every down contributer compared to Aldon's third down contributions and Watt was very solid. He would have played great for us as well, he just wouldn't have brought the highlight reel sacks that we got from Aldon.
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?
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.
  • buck
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"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.
  • fropwns
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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.

This.
Originally posted by Oakland-Niner:
MadDog -

What would it take for you to change your 1st and 2nd round grades from F & D to B or better?

Based on how I read your analysis, if Jenkins becomes a very solid 2nd and LM becomes a X-Factor player (Bush/Sproles) you would still give them Fs and Ds. Is that accurate?

If James comes anywhere close to a Bush/Sproles, it would dramatically alter the grade. Sure.
Originally posted by fropwns:
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.

This.

That
Originally posted by KowboyKiller:
lol Gotta respect Maddog for putting his balls out on the chopping block like this knowing full well he's going to collect alot of hate for it. If James and Jenkins end up being stars this thread is going to be bumped frequently.

Here's hoping that I am wrong, and that Jenkins and James end up stars. I just dont see it.