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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports


2016 draft do-over: 49ers still take a cornerback in round 3

Apr 6, 2017 at 4:38 PM--


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Pro Football Focus wrote an exclusive article for ESPN that takes one selection for each NFL team in the 2016 NFL Draft and performs a hypothetical do-over. "Using a mix of Pro Football Focus grades and data, our analysis team makes the case for a different pick for each NFL team from the 2016 draft, but all in the context of knowing what we do now," the ESPN article explained. "We selected one pick -- not necessarily in the first round -- for each team to 'do over.'"

For the San Francisco 49ers, they replaced the selection of cornerback Will Redmond in the third round. Was the selection of Redmond in the 2016 NFL Draft yet another wasted Trent Baalke pick? Perhaps. It would have been nice if he had been able to get some playing time in so a fairer evaluation could be made. However, like so many Baalke picks of players coming off of injury in years past, he didn't get that opportunity.

Shortly following his selection, Redmond said that he expected to play in 2016 and Baalke said that he was comfortable that the cornerback would be ready in time for the 49ers' training camp. Neither of those scenarios occurred.

Redmond suffered an ACL tear during a Mississippi State practice the October prior to his selection. That continued a disturbing trend by Baalke of selecting injured players.

Redmond started the season on injured reserve and was able to come off of the list in late October. However, he returned to the injured reserve list shortly thereafter. "He's just not ready to go when you talk to him," said ex-49ers head coach Chip Kelly after Redmond was, once again, placed on injured reserve. "He feels like he's about 70/80-percent right now, doesn't have the explosion that he has. His injury has healed, but he doesn't feel like he can – and you've seen it when we had him out there on the practice field – he didn't feel like he could turn it on and go."

In 2016, Pro Football Focus actually liked the selection of Redmond. "In the midst of injury row, Will Redmond saw his final season torpedoed by injury after seven games when he tore his ACL. By that point he had allowed just one touchdown and a passer rating of only 41.0 when targeted by opposing quarterbacks," wrote Sam Monson.

In fact, Pro Football Focus went as far as to name Redmond as one of three possible sleeper selections for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Of course, that depended on Redmond actually getting an opportunity to play – which he didn't. Still, it is a little ironic that they are now using his selection as the 49ers' do-over.

Who did Pro Football Focus choose to select in place of Redmond in the third round? They still had the 49ers going cornerback with the selection. Instead of Redmond, they had San Francisco selecting Brian Poole out of Florida, who would eventually sign with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent.

Pro Football Focus wrote the following about the new selection:

"Poole was one of the best-graded rookie corners in the league last season, and went entirely unnoticed and thus undrafted. He was a key part of the Falcons' defense, and made a nuisance of himself in a variety of roles from the slot. He wasn't beaten for a catch longer than 35 yards all season, and notched eight total QB pressures on the blitz."

Poole actually led the league in the NFL's performance-based pay bonus with $371,873, beating out runner-up Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who received $353,545. While Poole was signed by Atlanta for the league minimum, he played in 1,029 snaps on defense (834 snaps) and special teams combined.

While on defense, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound corner spent most of his time playing in the nickel spot. Poole was graded by Pro Football Focus as the fourth-best rookie cornerback in 2016.




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