Trent Baalke and the Draft

We’re getting closer to March, so that means the draft is coming. As you can see from the slider on the right, Ballke has had a pretty varied draft record. Last year netted a lot of guys that contributed immediately: Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, Bruce Ellington, Chris Borland, Aaron Lynch, Dontae Johnson, and to a lesser extent, Marcus Martin, all played solid to spectacular. Borland and Lynch came in on fire, and D Johnson played well due to an injury-ravaged defensive backfield. 2013 was a little more hit-and-miss. Reid was as good a pick as could have been made. Carradine, VMcD, Lemonier, and Dial, have not lived up to their promise, but the jury is still out on the D line guys at least. Lemonier is gone, as is the shot-in-the-dark Lattimore.  2012 is the low-water mark for Baalke, with OL Joe Looney being the only one left from that draft. 2011 was as equally impressive as 2012 was bad. Aldon Smith, Colin, Cully, Kilgore, and Bruce Miller are all a big part of the team, and all are solid starters. His first draft as overseer, 201o saw the addition (with Sing’s help) of two O linemen Anthony Davis, and Mike Iupati. Also, of course, the all-world NaVorro Bowman.

That being said, this is an important draft, and Baalke once again has stockpiled picks to the tune of 9 guys to pick. Areas of need are, in order, D line, WR, O line, DB, LB, RB. The first two are up for debate, and Baalke will probably go BPA at decision time.

The combines are just about done (DBs today), and some guys have raised eyebrows, and some have merely stayed the same, while some have dropped.  Chris Conley, a WR from Georgia, made the biggest splash with a 4.35 40 time, and a vertical leap of 45″.  Almost enough to reach the top of the slat slapper.

As far as the 49ers go, our first 2 selections are, to me at least, and a few million others, cast in stone. Wide receiver and defensive tackle.  The top three WRs, in semi-particular order, are Amari Cooper, Kevin White, and DaVante Parker. Cooper didn’t disappoint in his combine performance. He’s smooth, fast (enough), and is the real deal. Kevin White, however, laid down his own blistering 4.35 40 time , and he’s a beast at attacking the ball in flight. The knock on him is that he only had one good year. Cooper had 2 1,000 yard seasons in his three years.

Problem is, Neither of these guys will be available at 15. DaVante Parker may not even be there, what with the Rams, Raiders, and Vikings all looking for WR help. This means we look to the D line for help. Problem there is, there are likely 9-10 defensive linemen taken in the top 20. After Leonard Williams, the picture gets muddy. Gone for sure is NT Danny Shelton, as new Bear DC Vic Fangio takes his plugger for his newly installed (gasp!) 3-4 defense. Brian Urlacher, Mike Singletary, and Dick Butkus must all be spinning in their graves. If they were dead. Too many guys out there to even give a remotely accurate guess. Malcom Brown, DT from Texas, is the name I hear a lot for us, for what that’s worth.

So, the falloff after the top 3 WRs is fairly precipitous. Funchess doesn’t look very smooth out there, and ran pretty stiff. Sort of common for bigger guys, but that bothers me. Green-Beckham is a beast, but had major off-field issues. Pot and domestic abuse apparently. He may fall to the 2nd. He talked a bit about it and said he’s not going to blow his shot, but talk is cheap, and the team that spouts winning with class may shy away. Breshad Perriman didn’t participate as he has a hammy issue, but he’s kind of an under-the-radar pick that Baalke might go with. He’s got size, speed, and separates well from defenders. Raw, though. Not a great route-runner who relies on athleticism. Still, a big red zone target that would help the imminent loss of Crabs.

So my best guess is Brown and Jalen Strong first two picks . . .

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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60 Responses to Trent Baalke and the Draft

  1. unca_chuck says:

    Thanks for joining us here, John . . . Yeah, the love of football runs all year long now. Gonna be a crazy season, that’s for sure. I think it’s a good thing that other teams are thinking the 49er ship has capsized.

    it’s funny, my son is still a bit impressed by the fact that I called Odell Beckham last year as the best WR in the 2014 draft. Watkins and Evans are good, but Beckham was to me just head and shoulders above those guys. Shit, I just wanted DaVante Adams (and a coaching staff that knows how to use him). White to me looks like that guy this year. Sadly he’ll be gone by the time we pick. Unless we trade up in front of StL and Minnesota. Even then we still may not get him . . .

    • Winder says:

      Yeah, Baalke is definitely on the clock. Hopefully we get a few home runs out of him this year. i would stay away for a 1st WR at any cost. They just don’t work out for us(rice not included). I guess some of that blame has to go to our scouting dept. Personally I think we should draft a few muscleheads to shore up our lines because we have a brutal schedule and our lines will be pounded this year. I think a lot of our problems with wr”s is our game plan and our QB’s abilities. Kappy can make throws he’s already shown that he can, I don’t know what the problem really is but if we can fix it the league will be put on notice.

  2. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, it’s like he chicken/egg thing. Is the offense holding back the WRs? Are the WRs just not good enough? Is the QB not reading his progressions fast enough? Is it the line? FO we need to switch out blocking schemes? Lots of questions.

    Although what killed me, and leads me to think it was the coaching, is that a lot of teams have noted that they knew what was combing from our offense most of the time.

  3. Berger says:

    I would be happy with Brown and Strong. The reason I’d rather have Funchess is he can be used as a TE. We need a good play making TE.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Well, whoever can go get it in the red zone, I’m all for that guy.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Near as I can tell, we’ll get a 4th and a 7th round pick for our compensatories.

  6. Alleykat says:

    Since this team has stuck with the philosophy of a power run team 1st, their probably thinkin screw a talented spread the field talented red-zone “Stud” WR!!!
    So now we’re back to the D line men, like Malcom Brown or possibly a shutdown corner Trae Waynes who will be gone unfortunatley! Kid can flat out cover, physical, great technique and size, and just warp drive an impressive 4.35 40

  7. Nipper says:

    You can never have enough DEFENSE. Forget WR if they’re not available. NIners draft too damn late. Move up? Good luck with that wishful thinking. The truly talented guys are usually long GONE!

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Waynes could fall to 15, Nip. I think they’ll go BPA but I think it’ll be between WR and DT.

    Waynes? Could be. I never get the Niners right. Except for Kentwan Balmer and Colin Kaepernick. . .

  9. Alleykat says:

    So should the 49ers give ESPN’S Rich Eisen a tryout?
    He clocked in with a 6.13 40
    Then blazed back strong with a 6.10!!
    Special teams? Waterboy?Special Olympics?

  10. unca_chuck says:

    Kicking tee fetcher . . .

  11. 12th Man says:

    Niners need in order: a stud WR, D line, Corner, OG, RB, LB and then whatever.

  12. 12th Man says:

    First round WR is always tricky but they really need a playmaker for Kap.

    • NJ49er says:

      I’m looking forward to what Steve Logan and Geep can come up with Offensively 12th.
      We finally have a big armed QB who can get the ball downfield.
      Adding a guy like Kevin White or, another deep threat helps the underneath game too.

      No need to reach for a WR in RD1 IMO.
      Baalke does a good job of maneuvering around the Draft Board too.
      If they want to make a move into the top 10, it’s a much cheaper endeavor this year over last.

      • 12th Man says:

        Agree with the premise NJ but don’t think it’s a reach for a 1st round WR this time around. The key missing ingredient for Kap has been a reliable deep threat that gets utilized with a matching scheme not simply as a decoy. VD is hit and miss as a deep guy despite his natural speed. I really hope they go after a top WR.

        Usually I am with you and Berger and all about the lines but not this year. No skinny kid with a name in the envelope though, I want a big wingspan burner to take the top off which of course helps with the underneath stuff.

  13. NJ49er says:

    My sleeper CB ain’t a sleeper anymore.
    Byron Jones from UCONN dropped a 12’3″ Broad jump and a 44.5″ Vert.
    He didn’t run the 40 but, really? Who actually cares?
    His College Coach thinks he could break 4.4.
    Kid can play, plain and simple.

    He might have put himself into the 1st RD now.
    If he’s there for us in RD2, well worth the Pick IMO.

    Kid is 6’1″/199 223 TKLs/18 PBUs/8 INTs while playing in 43 games,
    Nothing shabby about those numbers.

    Waynes isn’t a problem either but, i think there’s more depth at DB to allow another Pick at the 15 slot, be it WR or DL.
    Making a jump up into the top 10 is a possibility too.
    The beauty here, for us, is that Kaep has been working at EXOS with both White and Strong.
    Either guy is worth it IMO and, Baalke could always Trade down to grab an extra Pick if 15 is bare,

    • Berger says:

      I heard somebody say today on the radio that the 12’3″ road jump is a world record. Players who jump well usually have good explosiveness.

      I read a scouting report on Waynes that said he is an old fashioned bump and run CB. They speculated that he is going to be a penalty machine in the NFL with the league’s contact rules for the secondary.

    • NJ49er says:

      The DB Class in general is full of potential Picks Berger.
      Though the official Safety position is considered light, many of the slower CBs could easily convert.
      Speed is good but, agility and tackling is even more advantageous.

      Watching the Combine Drills helps to identify the nimble/quick guys very easily.
      IMO, many of the guys I watched today could get a shot to contribute in Nickel and Dime packages very easily.
      I look for the guys that tackle well.
      Byron Jones is a keeper in my book. Good thing about DBs, they’re usually available in almost every RD, depending on what you’re looking for.
      Baalke stocked up on a few last year.
      If there’s a gem this year, in RD1, why not?

      The one guy rated as a 1st RD Pick at SS is Landon Collins from ‘Bama.
      He’s another guy that could land in our lap at 15.

      • NJ49er says:

        I’m also considering Washington OLB Shaq Thompson as a SS.
        Ironically, Thompson is the same size as Collins, (6’0″/228)
        Again, Shaq tackles well and was a S and RB before moving to OLB.
        Versatile option with him.

        Collins – 41 Games/190 TKLs/13 PBUs/5 INTs – 4.53/40
        Thompson – 40 Games/223 TKLs/11 PBUs/5 INTs – 4.64/40

        IMO, Shaq offers just as much, maybe more and, could come cheaper.

  14. Lurker John says:

    Chuck, it’s my pleasure and the only place I can really get Niner info from actual Niner fans, knowledgeable ones to boot, not to mention the nice smooth segue with the Flap. As for Beckham, you did knock that one out of the park. Talk about taking the league by storm. Even Bitchard Sherman had good things to say about him.

    Looking forward to this draft and hoping the team can fill in the positions it needs to. I’m not giving up on these guys yet, Baalke and York notwithstanding. Like you mentioned the other day, get the offense running like it should with all the talent it has and get the injured guys back on D and they should have a pretty damn good team. And I still think Kap has it in him to be a good NFL QB, maybe better than good.

  15. NJ49er says:

    Berger –
    Not sure if I’ve ever shared any Blues from Spain?
    This dude kills it –
    Javier Vargas and the Vargas Blues Band –

  16. NJ49er says:

    Here’s another reason why Kevin White is a popular guy in Indy –

    • NJ49er says:

      Scroll down on that piece and get a look at CB Byron Jones.
      Kid is sturdy, fast and, jumps like a kangaroo.
      He might have played himself into RD1.

      I want him in SF.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Well, by the time the draft rolls around we should have an idea of what justin Smith, Frank Gore, cully, Cox. VD, Crabs. And Mike Iupati are doing.

    Depending on who stays and goes will make some of these decisions for us.

    Crabs and Iupati are gone. Cully and his legal issues as well. Gore stays. VD need to take stock (hah!) and and come up with something reasonable. He pretty much stole his salary last year. Cox has been a nice surprise and hopefully Brock is fully ready.

    They do need depth just about everywhere.

  18. Lurker John says:

    To quote Mickey from Rocky II, what I think the 49ers need from the wideout position is, “Speed. Speed. SPEEED!” Those damn Seattle DB’s need to have something more to fear than just a position receiver running outs and dig routes. Our QB has a bazooka for an arm, but how many times do they hook up on a straight fly or deep post route for a long TD? Not often enough, IMO.

  19. unca_chuck says:

    That’s been tha case since Moss left. No one scares the DBs. VD was the closet to a real deep threat we had and he vanished last year.

    Patton and Ellington SHOULD at least be given shots downfield out if the slot, but more often than not we used our FB in that role.

    Sure, Kappy needs to read out of that, but on a given play, sometimes there are just very few options. It’s the chicken and the cart thing, or the horse and the egg. Uh, get some fucking SPEED!!!

  20. Alleykat says:

    Damm Right Lurker!
    You have a QB in Kap who can launch a missle 70 yards, yet we have possession route receivers Boldin( old but still decent) Crabs probably gone,asshole Lloyd for sure gone,General Patton, Ellington don’t show squat etc etc etc.
    Draft up and get one of the “Studs” Cooper, White,Parker,are Beckham Green and stretch the field!!

  21. Berger says:

    What Seattle did last year is take away certain parts of the field. They had the speed routes covered against everybody. Our offense was not designed to find the weakness and exploit it. Usually they gave the middle for passing and many lanes for Kap to pull the ball down and run. Kap needs to read that better but that is difficult when the coaches don’t see and coach it up.

    Sometimes I felt like our coaching staff treated Kap like he was a 10 year veteran and forgot to coach him up. I think it was just poor design and play calling more so. Out tendency was the deep out and the Seahawks sat on it. Better design will be better than more speed. Having said that, I always like speed. Thing is, RoBaugh didn’t use speed, they were more 50/50 balls and plodding. We already have speed on our offense, more would be good, as long as the play calling takes advantage of it. If RoBaugh were still coaching here I would say forget the speed players. Maybe the new coaching staff will utilize that part of the game? I sure hope so.

  22. Berger says:

    What killed Seattle is they NE found ways to exploit them with Gronkowski. Our coaches showed zero ability to call plays like that. We have a new staff. Hopefully they are a lot smarter.

    The reason I want Funchess is he is a play making TE. He worked out with the WRs. I think he did that because WRs make more money. I’m OK with that, it shows he’s a smart kid. But he is a TE IMO. Get him in match-ups with LBs and is could be fat city. His draft stock fell at the combine as a WR but he did nothing to hurt his stock as a TE. He probably helped it.

    Vernon is not a good route runner and does not have good hands. He is bulldozer with speed. That is a good thing. Match him up with Fuchess and a WR or two, a LB will have top guard either Vernon or Funchess. Did I mention fat city!

  23. Alleykat says:

    Loser of the day at the combines:
    WR JJ Nelson who ran the fastest 40 at 4.28, but did not win 100k cause it was sponsored by Addidas and he wasn’t wearing their shoes!!!
    Now I’m thinkin if im a burner and they have a 100k prize on the line for the 3 fastest times, im wearing them even if I don’t care for them!!
    This guys draft stock just went down big time for being a “DUMBSHIT”

    • Berger says:

      You could be right but it is also possible he doesn’t want to sell his future for a possible 100K. He might have a better deal in the works elsewhere, or maybe he just wants to keep his options open? If he thinks he is going to be really good in the NFL 100K is not that much.

  24. Berger says:

    Looks like the NFL is thinking about making pass interference a 15 yard penalty. Without the ability to challenge the call it needs to cut to a 10 yard penalty. A PI penalty could be a 50 yard swing. I think it is ridiculous it can’t be challenged. Making it a 15 yard fine is better but I’d still like to see it challengeable.

  25. Berger says:

    Malcom Brown did not do that great in the barbell reps. He doesn’t have especially long arms so he can’t use that excuse. I still like him but you like to see a first round DT put at least 30 reps to show good upper body strength. It probably explains what I saw of him on video. He shoots gaps fairly well and has a little bull rush in him, just the opposite of what you would expect from a 320 pound player. Problem I saw is when he bull rushes he gives up too soon. Sometimes looking disinterested. He doesn’t give up, he just doesn’t have the same enthusiasm as other plays. When he shoots a gap or beats his man he’ll chase a play down. I’d still take him because when I saw him play I was expecting about 25 reps and not 30. He will need to get stronger as do all young D-linemen but don’t expect him to be playing any NT in the NFL. He’s a 3 or 5 technique. He reminds of Ricky Jean Francois but stronger and more willing to hold the point.

    The reason I still like him for our pick is he shows a great ability to engage and not take his focus off of where the play is at, and then he gets to the play. He will get more physical by just being in the NFL but the ability to locate plays and disengage is something that is difficult to learn and he already does that.

    • Berger says:

      Actually he plays a lot like Tank Carridine. Both of them show a good ability to one gap. Both bull rush a little. Tank shoots gaps better and has a speed rush. Brown is more of a plugger. If Cowboy retires I think somebody has to step up besides Dial. IMO, Dial is going to a good 3-4 DE. A defensive line needs depth if you want a pass rush in the 4th quarter. IMO, Brown could do that in year one and probably be a starter in year two.

  26. unca_chuck says:

    Right, Bergs. if they are going to call illegal use of hands all the time, they need to stop that from being an automatic first down. They should go back to only calling the real bad ones as that shit happens just about every play.

    What kills me is they called the Super Bowl much differently than they called the reg season games.

    They’ve fucked this up beyond recognition.

    • Winder says:

      It used to be offensive holding was the penalty the refs could call on any play and now a penalty could be called on just about any defensive play. It really is fucking up the game. If it went evenly across the board maybe it would be understandable but when penalties are blatant and not called it makes you wonder.

  27. NJ49er says:

    Berger my verdict is in on the debate regarding Arik Armstead as a possible 5T DT.
    I’m going with Henry Anderson from Stanford.
    About even in terms of size but, Anderson has the edge IMO.
    He’ll make my final cut.

    Malcom Brown still stays as well.
    Bench numbers can easily improve with proper training methods.
    His arms are over 32″ which is perfectly acceptable.
    For me, it’s about motor on the DLine.
    Malcom is certainly worthy of a selection IMO.
    Is he worthy at 15? That I don’t know.
    Given the nature of our needs at WR, it wouldn’t kill me to see Baalke make a move up if he feels the right guy is valued there, ala Eric Reid.

    I’m sold on Byron Jones too. Unfortunately, he’s going to cost a LOT more now that everyone has seen his agility and size.

    • NJ49er says:

      I’m also sold on Utah CB Eric Rowe as well.
      Good size, excellent speed to go along with his College production numbers.
      Combines answered a lot of questions for me.
      Now, it’s time to try to figure out, where Baalke might be shopping.

  28. Berger says:

    NJ- How come last year when I wanted Kelvin Benjamin the knock was he was a one year wonder but this year that is not being considered for Kevin White?

  29. Berger says:

    With everybody talking about the draft I don’t hear what we are going to do with our cap issue. We are 4th worst at about 1.5 million under the projected cap. That even includes a 4 million carryover from last year. This is why Harbaugh not winning the Super Bowl when the window was open is such a bummer. The window might be shutting. They don’t usually stay open for long. This roster was built without worrying about the cap but it looks like it is a big factor now. I always heard this was Paraage Marathe’s department. Looks like he has his work cut out for him this year.

    • NJ49er says:

      Don’t forget that Kaep got paid last year.
      There’s definitely some budget adjustments coming.
      That’s why we’re hearing about the possible release of Brooks.

      I’d expect some adjustment efforts with Stevie, maybe even some efforts with VD, Boone or Willis/Bowman too.

      Staley got reworked last year so, maybe Boone can be tweaked as well?

      Aldon has a Cap number this year eclipsing $9Mil as well.

      Top Cap Hits for 2015 –

      Kaep – $15,265,753
      Aldon – $9,754,000
      Patrick – $8,268,000
      NaVorro – $7,654,000
      Brooks – $7,055,000
      Vernon – $6,967,920
      Anquan – $6,909,000
      Justin – $6,436,667

      • NJ49er says:

        Boone only accounts for $3,790,000 this year but, this is his final year.
        They reworked him with a clause that prevents him from being tagged at the end of the year too.
        Whether they see him as a long term Contract guy is the Cap question.

        For that reason, I don’t rule out an OT being picked high this year.
        Baalke stashed a couple of OGs thus far for depth, not the case at OT right now.

        Seeing as my favorite OT, Cedric Ogbuehi from TX A&M got injured, he’s gonna drop out of the 1st RD.

        Might be an excellent time to pluck him.
        Red Shirt him, as they did with OG Brandon Thomas last year?

  30. Berger says:

    Alleykat- Looks like you were on to something. JJ Nelson wants his 100K.

  31. unca_chuck says:

    “Sorry kid. We had no idea we should have even thought to offer you the deal.”

    He was under the Adidas radar. He should work out a deal with Nike. Show him run a better time in their shoes.

    “Adidas made me fast. Nike made me faster.”

  32. unca_chuck says:

    I think we are at the point we can’t stash draft picks on the IR. 9 picks or not. Unless he’s down there around 5th or 6th round. I’m sure Baalke will be wheeling and dealing anyway.

  33. unca_chuck says:

    Speaking of CBs here’s a kid I hadn’t heard of. Quentin Rollins played one year of college football, and instantly became a lockdown corner. He played 3 years of basketball.

  34. unca_chuck says:

    New thread is up.

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