Originally posted by NCommand:
I'd give him this draft grade as well. But I'd give him an A+ in salary cap management, pricing FA's properly/fair (who all left for more $ to never be heard from again), finding absolute bargains such as Moss, Boldin, Dorsey, Brock, Williams, Boone, Miller, Cooper, etc., creating an internal "farm system," using the I.R. rules to develop players for a year such as Okoye and his mystery injury and the fact that the coaching staff is openly talking about expanding their offense also tells me Baalke/Jed had a little talk with Harbaugh/Roman and the rest of the position coaches. The draft gets a B+ with the potential for higher but the rest of the management responsibilities have to be an A+. He is able to get Harbaugh the players he wants in CK, Gabbert, Owen, Martin, etc. and balancing the needs of this team at the same time. It's quite a balancing act.
I think the team management aspect is a wildly underrated part of a GMs job and a part that few GMs, if any, have done better than Baalke. As far as I have seen, he does not overpay any player, whether it is a player currently on the roster or one he brings in through free agency. He's always looking for upgrades through free agency that come cheap and I believe does that better than any GM. That's a very difficult thing to do.
The draft really is a crapshoot every year. Most of these players aren't fully developed, and I don't think there is a way to rate work ethic or a willingness to learn. All a guy can do is simply interview the player and hope the college coach gives an impartial assessment of the guy. Otherwise all the GM has to go off of is tape, and there really isn't that much college tape on these guys. Think of how many games a college team plays against high level talent. It's not many. I would venture a guess of 3-4 games per year. Put that over a 3 year career give or take, and you've got 12 games. Of those 12 games, how many times is the guy (if a skill position guy) fully involved in the play? A GM has to stake the future of a franchise off very little, and Baalke has done far better than most.
I find it very hard to criticize a GM who has built up an extremely talented roster, and one that has been in the Superbowl or a game away for 3 seasons in a row. Simply getting to the playoffs 3 consecutive years can be difficult.
[ Edited by JoeBart324 on Apr 22, 2014 at 10:31 AM ]