Forty-Niner general manager Trent Baalke said last week in his pre-draft press conference with the local media that he felt a specific player will be available with the team’s 30th selection.
That doesn’t mean Baalke will draft that player; it’s just the team ranks him a good selection for that draft spot. Among NFL personnel people, Baalke’s statement is akin to saying he is certain how the first 29 hands of blackjack are going to play out.
Every draft has its surprises. The best example: Aaron Rodgers falling to 24 in the 2005 draft (the same year that Alex Smith went No. 1 overall). Rodgers, I feel, is the game’s best QB, and he’s brought stability and amazing effectiveness to the Packers.
It was a surprise that Rodgers fell that far, and it turned out to be another surprise that he developed into the game’s best quarterback.
Baalke’s proclamation about a “certain” player brings scrutiny. But then, no team had a better draft than the Niners in 2011. Baalke has earned our attention, and thus, a rundown of the best fits for the 49ers at every position can prepare us the team’s selection this Thursday.