Coby Fleener was there.
Cordy Glenn was there.
Janoris Jenkins was there.
And Baalke selected A.J. Jenkins, the wide receiver out of Illinois. Great speed, great hands, with an average per catch under 15 when other big-time stars would come close to 20.
The eye in the sky doesn’t lie, that’s Baalke’s credo. Film study showed Jenkins’ great speed and sure hands. They want him to be the outside receiver who presents “over the top” speed that takes the corners deep, meaning the safeties have to follow.
From an organizational perspective, however, the many trades in the first round shows that under the new salary structure teams realize that the price of getting the player you really, really want isn’t that much of a difference when it comes to early, middle or late first-round selection.
The Cowboys, in one of the best counter-intel moves of recent drafts, said Alabama safety Mark Barron was their man. Oops. They traded up and took LSU CB Morris Claiborne at No. 6. The Cowboys could have got Barron at No. 14 and paid X. Now they’ll pay 25 percent more for Claiborne. To Jerry Jones and folks, it was a no-brainer.
The Bucs, who were slated by experts to take Claiborne, had to settle for Barron at No. 7. Was there a mock draft that predicted that move? I dare say no.
This was a draft that teams decided to go after who they felt was the best player to fit their team. That also means for the next two days, more top-notch players, at least those according to mock draft experts, will be available. Will that help the Niners?
Here are five things San Francisco needs to do in the last four rounds, but lest we forget:
Coby Fleener is there.
Cordy Glenn is there.
Janoris Jenkins is there.
Daniel Kilgore is on the team. Alex Boone is on the team. These are capable players who can be shifted to the new position. Does this mean Amini Silatolu falls to them at No. 61? If so, take him.
Jenkins, the receiver out of Illinois, must have impressed the 49ers due to his Academic Big Ten standing to go along with this sub-4.4 speed and good hands. Now that they’ve reloaded the wide receiver position, they can focus more on defense, in particular cornerback, in the second round.
Either Mike Martin of Michigan or Alameda Ta’amu of Washington will be available in the third round. Grab them to give Isaac Sopoaga and Justin Smith a breather.
The fourth round isn’t the best place to find a powerful, fast running back. Chris Polk of Washington and LaMichael James of Oregon will be gone. Could a fourth-round selection of Robert Turbin, Utah State, provide the next chapter of great SF running backs?
With the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, Baalke can add players he knows will fit into the 49er way of life. But if there’s any clue, consider first-rounder Jenkins. His 6’ and 190-pound frame aren’t super-sized, but his speed is. His hands stand out. He played with a less-than-excellent quarterback.
For all that, the kid went to class and comes from a great background. That’s what sold Baalke, and what Baalke will be looking for in the likes of Josh Kaddu of Oregon to provide speed off the edge. Chris Greenwood of Albion and Sean Richardson (21) of Vanderbilt are players who can provide more competition in the secondary and add depth and power to the special teams.