Making our offense elite for the next few years should be Baalkes focus early in the draft. Kap, Gore, Vernon Davis, Crabtree and Boldin with a great O-line. Yes I know its kind of already "elite" and Anquan is a great addition to that but in my opinion he's a replacement for Manningham who won't be ready until the end of the year and who I thought did really well up until the injury and I think he can be a proper no.2 receiver. He's only 26 and played and performed at the highest level. AJ also can hopefully step up into the slot as long as he puts the effort in needed.
Crabtree - no.1
Boldin 1 year rental then hopefully Mario's back next year no.2
AJ - no.3
Kyle Williams - no.4
Mario - IR
So it looks pretty good but Crabtree will be up for contract renewals next year. Now nobody knows whether or not he is going to want mega bucks but I think with his history Baalke would be foolish not to prepare for this. If we don't have a potential no.1 receiver in the squad then Crabtree will hold all the aces in the contract negotiations and if he does want a huge contract then we'd have to draft a rookie next year and hope he steps up to no.1 immediately or pay Crabtree his money. (IMO too big a risk for a team that are SB contenders)
Therefore I believe a WR in the first round is a must. Losing Crabtree and not having a top replacement for him would be devastating for a team knocking on the door of a Superbowl. This is a young team and we have to look further than just next year, that's a general managers job. Also if Crabtree is ok in contract negotiations and we can easily afford him then we could have devastating 1-2 WR tandem Rice and Taylor style that would set us up for years to come. Either way it makes soooo much sense to go get him this year.
Also with Delanies departure there is a glaring hole for a no.2 Tight End now.
Trade up high for:
Trade up into the twenties:
Stay at 31 possibly 34
I know there are more but these are only the ones I can see as being no.1 receivers with upside to probably get near Crabtree's level. Eifert I'll be honest I'm not sure how big the difference will end up being between him and the next guys Ertz or Escobar, but I'll put it down that he's a top 20 talent so bargain after that.
With 13 draft picks we can potentially get whoever we want and we don't have enough room for 13 rookies. All depends on who our scouts like the most. Austin and Patterson are both predicted to be gone by 15-17 Which might just be too much of a gamble for Baalke.
Eifert goes from a top 15 to 2nd round depending on who's mock draft it is and Keenan Allen potentially has dropped to a mid-2nd round. Who knows. What I do believe is if he is still there at 30, Atlanta won't hesitate.
In my opinion the best of the draft on offense lies in the mid to late 1st round and defense mid 2nd to 4th. Perfect
If Eifert falls past #25 we should trade up and go get him, it'd cost us #34 and a 6th and maybe a 7th round pick. Not much for a devastating Tight End which would end the days of Vernon taking on double coverage. The way Gronk and Henandez have been last couple years has led the Pats to a SB and a AFC championship game and Brady putting up huge numbers. Again. And with that they didn't need to rely on Welker when he wanted a big contract so they let him walk. In the Tight Ends department you have a deep threat in VD and a RZ target in Eifert which can make use of Kaps incredible arm and give a big FU to all the coaches that are studying against the read option.
Then for a future no.1 receiver, there's a lot to choose from and I would be happy with any of the names above. Personally Hopkins aka Nuke around the mid twenties which would cost us #31 and a 4th. Just love to hear Nuke every time he catches for a first down and he's my personal favourite especially after the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (incerdible game) but Baalke could go with anyone in the names aforementioned that would benefit us hugely and i wouldn't be upset with any of them. They all have fantastic upside.
We would still have our late 2nd, two thirds and a 4th to shore up our D with 2 safeties, D-line and a CB even though we have about 6. The Defense could be well covered with picks like Swearinger/Rambo/Banks etc at Safety and Brandon Williams/Montari Hughes/William Ghloston etc for D-Line.
So for defensive minded people on the Zone who are adamant on Datone Jones and Cyprien. Jones and Cyprien are just replacements for what we already have, it is not moving us forward or evolving which is what great NFL teams must do, Jones isn't even known for taking on double teams which is one of the things J.Smith does so well that leaves Aldon open to get the sack. Cyprien I feel would just be a wasted pick he's just a poorer Goldson, maybe in a few years he becomes better but we'll be waiting a few years to get back to where we were last year. Which wasn't good enough anyway. We'd just be revolving players in and out and poorer ones at that.
If 49ers went this way in the draft the offense would be hugely improved and immediate Superbowl favourites, while protecting themselves against a possible greedy WR. (Who can blame him, did you see Megatrons contract)
The Defense gets its future replacement for J.Smith, gets improved with Donte Whitners replacement and depending on Trent Robinson we could go for ball hawking FS.
Now that's Evolution.
[ Edited by smithc28 on Apr 13, 2013 at 5:56 AM ]