AKA The "LONG LIVE THE SOUTH!" Draft
49ers have the #1 overall rated draft if you aggregate across the major networks/publications. ESPN is the only one that gave below an "A".
NFL Network: A, A
Jamie Dukes: A
Tom Waddle: A
Sports Illustrated: A
This got kind of silly for a while. The 49ers traded up for S Eric Reid, who should replace Dashon Goldson. Then, they stole DE Tank Carradine at 40, TE Vance McDonald at 55 and WR Quinton Patton at 128. In between those picks, San Francisco also added quick DE/OLB Corey Lemonier and RB Marcus Lattimore, the latter of whom could be a star if his rehab from a catastrophic knee injury works out. Grade: A
Yahoo Sports: A+
The 49ers came into this draft with four pretty obvious needs: Safety, defensive end/line, second tight end and the eventual replacement for Frank Gore. Check, check, check and check. Sure, Reid, Carradine, McDonald and Lattimore might not all hit in the long run, but the 49ers got four strong candidates. The 49ers showed aggression by trading up for Reid, a guy who coach Jim Harbaugh tried to recruit to Stanford, and still got Carradine, a guy who some people thought San Francisco was going to take in the first round. Lattimore is the truly intriguing prospect as he tries to come back from a horrific knee injury. If he returns to form, the 49ers might have nabbed the best back in the draft.
Fox Sports: A, A+, A
Floyd Engel: (A) Why were they in the Super Bowl? Because of drafts like this where they go get safety Eric Reid. And bonus karma points for picking up Marcus Lattimore in the fourth round.
Marvez: (A+) The selections of Reid and Rice tight end Vance McDonald fill the voids created by the free-agent departures of Dashon Goldson (Tampa Bay) and Delanie Walker (Tennessee). On a team as deep as the 49ers, Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine and South Carolina running back Lattimore could land on the PUP list or injured reserve as those talented players recover from knee injuries.
Schrager: (A) The rich got richer. The 49ers added to an already loaded roster Reid at safety, Carradine at defensive end, and Quinton Patton at wide receiver. Vance McDonald is a talented multipurpose tight end who will fill the void left by Delanie Walker.
CBS Sports: A
Boasting one of the league's most talented rosters and an arsenal of draft picks, they bounced throughout the draft (each of their first four picks was acquired via trade) to land a starting free safety, two exciting pass rushers and one of the more intriguing tight ends in a very strong class. Tampa Bay paid big money to ex-49ers safety Dashon Goldson, but Eric Reid's speed, explosiveness and ball skills might make him an upgrade. Cornellius Carradine plays with the physicality and motor to warrant his nickname of "Tank" and only slipped to No. 40 overall due to a late knee injury. Corey Lemonier is a bit straight-linish, but he has a quick first step, an improving spin move and both the length and build to contribute immediately. At 6-foot-4, 267 pounds, Vance McDonald looks the part of an in-line blocker, but his primary contribution will be as a pass catcher, a similar role to what he played while often being split out wide at Rice. Of the 49ers' Day Three picks, wideout Quinton Patton and Marcus Lattimore are the easy highlights. Don't be surprised when Patton overtakes 2012 first-round selection A.J. Jenkins. Lattimore is a terrific talent and, with San Francisco already possessing a strong stable of backs, he doesn't have to be rushed back onto the field.
NBC Sports (Rotoworld): A
The rich got richer. The 49ers entered Thursday with an NFL-most 13 picks. GM Trent Baalke turned them into very arguably the most impressive haul in the league, along the way picking up a 2014 third-rounder in Friday's trade with the Titans. Only Reid and McDonald may be definite first-year contributors, but that's far more a testament to Baalke's roster building than his individual selections. Carradine is a to-the-whistle edge rusher who along with Lattimore could be "redshirted" as a rookie due to knee woes, before emerging as plus 2014 starters. Patton is a silky smooth route runner with ball skills and insurance on contract-year No. 1 wideout Michael Crabtree. Lemonier might have been a first-rounder had he not played on such a bad Auburn team. San Francisco is filthy rich with pass rush. Baalke is constructing a dynasty.
Sporting News: A
They didn't waste their final tally of 11 picks. It was highlighted by replacing key veterans (LSU safety Eric Reid for Dashon Goldson, Rice tight end Vance McDonald for Delanie Walker) and stockpiling speedy pass rushers (Florida State's Tank Carradine, Auburn's Corey Lemonier). Because of the volume, they added another receiver to help Colin Kaepernick (Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton) and stash the ideal if-healthy successor to Frank Gore (South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore)
Trent Baalke has done such a nice job of constructing this roster that drafting can be tricky, because the 49ers just don't have a glut of needs. That's why it's nice to have so many picks -- they are able to maneuver as needed to get the guys they want. They moved up to No. 18 overall to grab safety Eric Reid. He's a kid they really like, and I'd pencil him in as the starter, I just thought he wasn't as good as maybe five other safeties that went after him. But you have the picks, you get who you want. And if Reid plays like he did in 2011, not 2012, they got a player. Vance McDonald gives them needed depth at tight end with Delanie Walker gone, and Tank Carradine and Corey Lemonier were both good values. Quinton Patton has a chance to stick because he's a smart route-runner and finds ways to create separation. Marcus Lattimore should be redshirted, but landed in a reasonable value range in the 4th round. Frank Gore's success following his collegiate injury offers perspective. The 49ers also dealt to add picks into next year. I'd like this draft a little more if they got a safety I had rated higher, but they did well, just as you figured they would.
[ Edited by Dr_Bill_Walsh on Apr 29, 2013 at 11:01 AM ]