Kiper: 49ers early favorite to earn an ‘A’ grade in draft

Apr 27, 2017 at 11:30 PM--

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper sounds like he is fond of what the San Francisco 49ers did during Day 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 49ers were busy on Thursday, executing two trades. The first came at the top of the first round while the second came at the bottom.

The 49ers partnered with the Chicago Bears to swap first-round selections, moving down just one spot but gaining three extra picks. San Francisco went on to select Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas with the third overall pick.

At the end of the night, the 49ers partnered with the Seattle Seahawks to move back into the first round. They gave up their second-round pick, the 34th overall, to move up three spots and gave up the fourth-round selection that they acquired earlier in the night during their trade with Chicago. The 49ers went on to select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

"The Niners are the early favorite to earn an 'A' in my post-draft grades, making two trades and getting two prospects I ranked in my top eight," Kiper wrote.

Kiper described Thomas as a "versatile pass-rusher" and Foster as the "best inside linebacker in the draft." He went on to write, "On talent alone, he's a top-five prospect."

"In the first draft of the John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan era, San Francisco got the best value of any team," Kiper continued. "And with needs across the roster, that's a good first step."

With a plethora of picks remaining, the ESPN analyst believes that the 49ers might try to address the quarterback position in the middle rounds of the draft. The 49ers have just two signal callers on the roster after signing former Bears quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley at the start of free agency.

Kiper's colleague, Todd McShay, was also a fan of what the 49ers did on Thursday, saying that the team had the best overall first round of all 32 NFL teams. "Thomas and Foster are two of the eight best players in this draft, so this is quite a haul for the 49ers," McShay wrote.

What impressed McShay even more than the selections was the draft picks that the 49ers added once the transactions were done – particularly from Chicago. "I mean, that was flat-out highway robbery," he wrote.

"All in all, San Francisco netted out with two Day 1 difference-makers on defense and extra mid-round picks," McShay continued. "Not bad for Lynch's first draft."

Day two of the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) and includes rounds two and three.


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