Baalke said that a GM's is on top of his game when he drafts players before there is a need. So how did he do?
Tank Carradine doesn''t have to start this year, he can rehab his knee and spell Justin Smith. When Smith retires Tank plus 15 lbs of muscle will take RDE.
Marcus Latimore doesn't have to start this year and can slowly and completely (fingers crossed) rehab his knee. Next year, Latimore will compete for playing time whether Gore retires or not.
Both of these players would have been first rounders it not for knee injuries. A
Because of all the deep passes that we gave up in the playoffs, I was hoping that we would draft a CB early in the draft. Baalke must have decided that the best way to reduce those deep balls was to get to the QB quicker. Our interior pass rush is improved by Glen Dorsey and Tank Carradine, who can platoon with Ray and Justin on our 4 man fronts on passing downs. Similarly, on passing downs Corey Lemonier can line up as a DE and spell our OLBs. If f*gio will allow it, we can rush fresh DLs all game long, like the Giants and the Lions do.
And with Kap having new targets with Bolden, McDonald, Jenkins, and Patton, combined with our strong running offense, we should score more points early, forcing teams into passing to keep up.
If we double our sack total rushing 4, than I give Baalke an A+ That means we are dropping 7 into coverage and hurrying the QB on 5 and 7 step drops.
Reid and McDonald fill two immediate holes and will be starters. If Reid doesn't bite on too many double moves, and we allow less intermediate and deep completions than we won't miss Goldsten. And because we have improved our pass rush, Reid and the rest of the secondary won't be exposed for as long.
McDonald is already an accomplished blocker in space, and has ran and blocked out of the pistol, so he fits our scheme well enough to start in our two TE sets. While not as agile as D-Love, McDonald's size means he will hit and finish runs with more power than D-Love. When you have the fastest TE in the league, you want the second TE to be a complimentary player, and McDonald's skill set is just that.
Given who was still on the board where we drafted, I give Baalke an A for filling those two holes through the draft.
As to the players drafted later than round 4 on one of the best rosters in the NFL, it will be a miracle if any of them stick. There best chance will be ST contributors. I won't grade Baalke on them, but I am intrigued by many of them.
Overall, improving our pass rush with 2 picks and the signing of Glen Dorsey, along with plugging Reid into FS and signing NA as a CB, makes us a much better D against the pass.
Adding Bolden and V McDonald strengthens our passing attack. Both are good blockers, so are runs off-tackle and outside should improve . And if Jenkins and/or Patton can be our third WR, than Baalke has also strengthened our receiving corp. Obviously, Baalke hasn't given up on Jenkins yet, or he would have drafted Hunter at 34. Jenkins will stretch the field in 2014.
As to giving up a third round pick to move up and get Reid, Baalke than got that third rounder back with the trade down to 40 that netted Tank. Baalke gets an A for preserving that third round pick in the 2014 draft.
If Latimore comes back from his knee injury in 2014, than Baalke has really done an outstanding job with this draft.
[ Edited by mebemused on Apr 28, 2013 at 12:05 PM ]