Every year, I learn as much from MD's amateur efforts to educate us on the draft as from professional commentators who get paid to do the same job. Thanks MD! And kudos for standing by your picks when Baalke does something different.
We all agree that grading a just completed draft is a fool's errand, but we do it anyway because training camp doesn't even start for a couple of months.
An assumption that MD makes in submitting his picks is no trading. As a pre-draft predictor you have to do this otherwise there are so many variations in the actual draft order (with trades) that there is no longer a basis for comparison between mock A and mock B. If you want to have a conversation about who to pick where, the only way to have that conversation is to assume no trading.
But we all know that the actual draft is full of trades. When MD compares his static picks to Baalke's dynamic picks (with trades), you have an apples to oranges comparison.
Consider Baalke trading up 6 spots, right in front of Seattle, to pick Vance McDonald TE. If you watch the NFL draft live feed, while waiting for the 55th selection, Chris Berman says that there have been a couple of trades at 55
. The 49ers move up and select Vance McDonald, and Seattle trades down from pick 56. It was the speed with which Seattle traded down that caught my eye. Seattle wasn't even on the clock yet, at 56.
Seattle was also looking for a TE. In fact, Seattle drafted McDonald's teammate at Rice, Luke Willson, in the 5th round:
While I'm not privy to either Seattle's or the 49er's war rooms, it looks to me like Baalke anticipated that Seattle might take McDonald at 56. And the "proof" is the fact that Seattle traded out of 56 before their time on the clock began. Both Seattle and the 49ers were scouting Rice TEs, so they likely noticed each others interests. Perhaps Seattle had Luke Wilson graded higher than Vance McDonald, but that isn't likely using MD's Big Board (Luke Wilson isn't on MD's Big Board.)
From MD's perspective, trading for Vance McDonald wastes a pick and there was a player of higher value waiting for us at 61. From Baalke's perspective, Seattle and the 49ers liked McDonald, and Baalke had a 6th round pick to burn to get the top rated player on his board. And as an added bonus, perhaps deprive Seattle of TE that they had scouted. Hence the apples and oranges comparison with the inevitable disagreements of who should have been picked where.
Lastly, both Seattle and the 49ers have stacked rosters. If they stay healthy, they will meet each other in the NFC champions game. What are the odds that a 5th round or latter player will make the roster? Even with the average NFL roster, i'm guessing less than 50%. With a stacked roster, much less. MD's static approach takes BPA at each draft slot. Baalke's dynamic, wheeling and dealing approach, accepts that the odds are small for a late round draftee making the team, and uses those late round picks to maximize the value of his early picks who are more likely to make the team.
Since 3 years is a long wait to settle the matter, I'm looking forward to training camp to get a first look at our 2013 draftees, and a better look at our 2012 draftees.