The San Francisco 49ers have played up to expectations in 2012, but can the same be said about the current rookies donning the red and gold?
Jim Harbaugh isn't losing any sleep over the current production or lack thereof of the 2012 rookie class, but it makes you wonder if the Niners missed out on several can't-miss players in the draft?
From past experience, you can't truly judge a draft for at least three years, but in this case, there are several rookies who look like stars from day one.
Luckily for the 49ers, they have a ton of depth at key positions, and fans surely have not forgotten the work of general manager Trent Baalke in the 2011 NFL draft.
However, the 2012 NFL draft selections are not making the same impact as the 2011 class. Talent is a reason, in addition to depth, as I stated above, but how will these picks fare in a few years?
Time will tell; however, until then, why not tease fans with what could've been?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers deserve a ton of credit for moving up to select the Boise State product.
This may seem a bit rash, but Martin resembles a faster Ray Rice. Yes, I said faster.
Rice is a phenomenal player; however, he isn't a great straight-line runner. In between the tackles, Rice has proven to be cat-like, but in a race, I would place my bets on Martin.
If Martin donned a 49ers jersey, we wouldn't likely see this type of production several years down the line, however, imagine a future backfield with this kid and an explosive Kendall Hunter.
I like A.J. Jenkins, but this was a reach pick for the 49ers. Martin could help form a three-headed combo with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.
Harrison Smith was also another consideration, but the Vikings smartly moved up to take the Notre Dame product. Mark my words, Smith will be a future star in this league.
This is a pick that will pay dividends down the line. The 49ers could have selected Coby Fleener with their first-round selection, but with a talent like Allen falling in the third round, this is the better value pick.
Allen is a complete tight end. He can block, catch and is a big playmaker with the ball in his hands.
With Delanie Walker likely departing in free agency, the 49ers have a ready-made replacement in Allen.
Despite his injury concerns coming into the draft, Looney was a great value pick for the 49ers in the fourth round.
Currently, Looney is behind Mike Iupati at left guard and will likely sit another year or two. Boone has dominated at right guard, leaving no major playing time for Looney, unless injury occurs.
However, Looney can play both guard positions, and possibly center. The 49ers have Daniel Kilgore at backup center, but that competition will be wide open once current starter Jonathan Goodwin's contract expires or Baalke decides to cut the veteran.
For right now, Looney provides solid depth for the 49ers.
Fleming was unfortunately placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List after tearing his ACL in training camp.
The Notre Dame product was a solid selection for the 49ers in the fifth round; however, he likely will not return this season.
If Fleming makes the roster next season, he should provide the 49ers with much-needed depth and youth at the OLB position.
Guy currently suits up for a divisional rival in the Seattle Seahawks and was actually selected one pick after the 49ers' first sixth-round selection.
The 49ers selected Jason Slowey with their second-sixth round selection, and despite his physical gifts, the Western Oregon product did not make the 49ers' 53-man roster.
Why another safety? Again, I don't suspect the 49ers will re-sign Whitner after his contract expires, so loading up on safeties now should help down the line, especially one as talented as Guy.
Guy is rangy and is a great run defender. He can also be a solid special teams contributor right away.
Robinson could prove to be a steal selection for the 49ers, so the pick stays the same. However, because the 49ers selected Robinson with their first sixth-round pick, I'm taking a risk that the Michigan State product is still on the board.
Currently, Robinson is behind both Donte Whitner and Darcel McBath on the depth chart, but I expect his playing time to increase in a year or two.
I don't expect Donte Whitner to remain with the team after his current contract expires, especially if starting safety Dashon Goldson is re-signed to a long-term contract.
Unless injury occurs, however, Robinson will contribute on special teams and certain sub-packages for now.
Another running back? Yes, but in the seventh round, where teams are lucky to find a roster spot, Richardson is too much of a steal.
With both Richardson and Dough Martin on the team, the 49ers would likely have to cut Brandon Jacobs, or possibly Anthony Dixon.
Richardson would also play a role in special teams.