I understand that there are many prospects in the second and third rounds that have tremendous potential and I would be perfectly happy to just sit on our picks and take the best players that fall to them.
That said, I think many people have been fantasizing via mock drafts for so long now that they are married to the picks we have. The scenarios have all been thought out and everyone has their draft crushes. If those picks are traded, it's the same as trading away a player someone fell in love with.
The justification people give for clinging to every draft pick seems to be that they feel the entire roster will fall apart if replacements aren't drafted for every player due to hit free agency in the next two years. Well, I just figured I'd pop in here and take that idea out back and shoot it in the head. Dirty job, but I'm a dirty guy.
Yes, the team is going to lose players to FA. Other players will be cut and some may even retire. This happens every
off-season, to every
team. Yet, they somehow manage to win Super Bowls without having 5 picks in the top 100 and 13 picks overall every draft.
When the team loses a player to FA, having a draft pick step in is not the only option. Sometimes, it is not even the best option. The team can replace a FA with... another
FA. Baalke has not been handing out big contracts to other teams FAs, but he has done pretty decent job finding good value to fill holes. What makes people think the same can't be done in the future? There is all this hand wringing about replacing Justin Smith, but people seem to forget that he was also a FA signing brought in after Bryant Young retired. For all we know, someone like Glenn Dorsey could step in and the defense would be fine. Remember, Justin Smith was considered a disappointment as a draft pick with the Bengals and he wasn't considered a good fit in a 3-4 defense when he was signed. Nobody projected that he would turn out to be one of the best defenders in the league. Yes, he was a big contract FA, but the market has changed. There are good FAs available at good value.
Baalke has also shown that he can acquire talented players via trade with Boldin and McCoy and he didn't give up much to get them. A proven receiver and a veteran back-up QB for 6th and 7th round value respectively. Holes filled after other players left.
Must I also mention that there will be a draft after next season, too? One in which the team already has a surplus of extra draft picks.
I'm also mildly amused that so many people want to add all these rookies for the future when fans are still grumbling about last years draft. Either you think Baalke knows what he's doing and you trust the rookies will develop or you think he can't evaluate talent and it would be a waste to draft developmental players.
Point is, there's more than one way to skin a cat. I get it... some of you have your hearts set on certain prospects and others think they have the best plan. Just try to keep an open mind and remember that this draft is not nearly the "make or break" event that people have been hyping it up to be. There's always going to be opportunities to add players in the future... and next off-season everyone will just be going crazy about a new batch of FAs and draft prospects.