Since some minds are curious how I feel, this would be my response:
1) Baalke is not the "smartest man in football"
2) Baalke is not the "dumbest man in football"
3) Baalke may be the "luckiest guy in football to this point of this year"
Why do I respond this way? Let's take a trip down memory land with the draft: Patrick Peterson was the man the team targeted, and was unwilling to trade up to get him. While that may, or may not, end up being a good news story (to project a rookies' whole NFL career at the 6 week mark would be naive), the bottom line is that he was placed in the position of being forced to draft Aldon Smith, since it was reported that nobody wanted to trade up or down for that 7th pick. Did he backdoor himself into a nice selection? Maybe. But, I wouldn't call this genius, rather lucky if Smith, who has been solid this year, pans out. Right now, Smith is still a backup. I still contend, as on draft day, that the superior player will be JJ Watt, and we will have to track these two as time passes.
Secondly, in free agency, the team was blindsided by the loss of David Baas in free agency, and attempted to make Snyder the replacement. Once that appeared to be a risky proposition, he then looked at bargain bin centers, and signs Goodwin. Now, once again, I want to give Goodwin some time to see if he is really an upgrade or downgrade over Baas, but once again, this is not the player the team wanted to hold down the center position. He wasn't even the second guy. He probably wasn't even the third (Spencer was probably the next on the list). In other words, spin the wheel and throw a dart and see which center is hit. To me, that is not genius.
Next, the team targets a whole series of corners, and engages in serious negotiations with at least two (Nnamdi and J. Joseph). Again, the team does not get the player intended (are we seeing a theme here?), and ends up with probably the number 8 free agent corner on the list for 2011. Now, any four grader could have gone down the remaining free agent cornerback roster list and see that Rogers was the top guy left. This is not rocket science.
I have to give Baalke some credit: The signing of McDonald looks solid at this point, as he has been very active. However, let's revisit this down the road. McDonald has had some big issues with knees in the past, and the DL could use an injection of youth in it. I will concede this point in the future if the knees hold out and he continues to play well. I would have drafted Watt in this spot, saved $9 million over 4 years, and picked up a player 5 years younger that may end up becoming the best 3-4 DE in the game for the next decade.
The Whitner signing to this date was also pretty solid. Donte is going to blow coverages, and lose a game here or there because of it. If you are skeptical, ask a Bills' fan. However, so far, so good.
The signing of Edwards was another bargain bin deal that has not worked out. Still some time, we will see. Akers has been great. So, to me, you are hitting on some, missing on others.
I think this is a thread that needs to be revisited in a couple years. The Niners, in signing a slew of one-year contracts, instead of longer contracts, may end up taking a step back in 2012 if they are not able to retain a number of these guys who could be gone: Alex Smith, Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn, Alex Boone, Ahmed Brooks, Braylon Edwards, Dashon Goldson, Blake Costonzo (another nice one year pickup to this date), Chilo Rachal, Carlos Rogers, Reggie Smith, Adam Snyder, and a number of other players the team has used: Brock, Spillman, Norris. Have fun with that one, Baalke.
I close with this: If you agree with Dilfer that Baalke is the smartest man in football, then must embrace his projected right side of the offensive line in training camp: Snyder---Rachal----Davis. This is simply not smart at all, and any Niners' fan who watched last year and the first few weeks of preseason cannot argue with this point.
P.S. Some board members get all lathered up when I critique management for things I think they do in error. I ask these members to not take things so personally, as if they are personally related to Baalke, Jed, or any other person at headquarters. You would think that I go around kicking puppies, or spitting on nuns. I simply disagree with many of the manuevers this team has taken this offseason. Only time will tell if I am right on my criticism or not.
Finally, some people are stating that I am dodging these threads, or laying low. Neither of these are true. This has been an extraordinarily busy few months for me, and I simply am not on the board that much. My apologies to those who demand for me to spend hours on the board daily. That ship has sailed for now. And, now, back to more fun stuff offline.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on Oct 26, 2011 at 6:13 PM ]