49ers 2013 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web
Following the NFL draft, the 49ers brass is back in the Bay Area preparing for the next phase of the 2013 league year.
Tim Kawakami, columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, bumped into GM Trent Baalke, who was described as “looking very relaxed.” That seems appropriate given what a productive few days he just had.
With their league-high 13 picks, the 49ers finessed their way through the draft and returned to the West Coast with quite a haul. There will be an influx of talent at training camp this year, but yet again, rookies are going to have a tough time seeing the field.
But with their picks, Baalke wanted to at least make sure these guys light a fire.
According to the NFL Draft Scout rankings, the 49ers acquired a pair of projected first-rounders in Eric Reid and Tank Carradine, and six players that could have gone in the first three rounds overall.
By all accounts, it was another proficient draft for the San Francisco 49ers. To find out how their 2013 class is perceived, continue through the following slides for grades gathered from around the web.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated: A
After the 2013 draft wrapped up, SI’s Chris Burke gave the 49ers an "A" grade, advocating the talent they were able to find throughout.
As Burke notes, it really was the 49ers show at Radio City, and it began on Day 1 when they traded to the middle of the first for LSU safety Eric Reid. The team was able to address a primary need with one of the top-ranked players at the position.
Entering the draft, San Francisco desperately needed to find a successor for the departed Dashon Goldson.
After conducting extensive evaluations and making an aggressive play in the first round, the 49ers think they have their man in Reid.
After that, the Niners made steals and value picks all over the board, beefing up positions that already have starters locked in.
This got kind of silly for a while. The 49ers traded up for S Eric Reid, who should replace Dashon Goldson. Then, they stole DE Tank Carradine at 40, TE Vance McDonald at 55 and WR Quinton Patton at 128. In between those picks, San Francisco also added quick DE/OLB Corey Lemonier and RB Marcus Lattimore, the latter of whom could be a star if his rehab from a catastrophic knee injury works out.
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN: B+
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. also gave San Francisco a solid grade.
While Burke mentioned the team’s need at safety, Kiper alludes to the void left by Delanie Walker. The ESPN draft guru admired the Vance McDonald pick in Round 2, citing the instant depth it will give them.
The 49ers run an offensive system that is friendly to the tight end, thus, talent at No. 2 is a requisite.
And with his size (6’4”, 267 lbs.), McDonald has potential to upgrade this team’s vertical attack. He is also brings scheme versatility, which is a gift to the 49ers coaching staff that loves to keep defenses on their heels.
Kiper also notes: (1) The 49ers found top defensive talent at great value later on (2) They added a sleeper at WR and (3) They added picks to next year’s draft.
Vance McDonald gives them needed depth at tight end with Delanie Walker gone, and Tank Carradine and Corey Lemonier were both good values. Quinton Pattonhas a chance to stick because he's a smart route-runner and finds ways to create separation. The 49ers also dealt to add picks into next year. I'd like this draft a little more if they got a safety I had rated higher, but they did well, just as you figured they would.
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Evan Silva of Rotoworld: A
Evan Silva bestows high praise upon GM Trent Baalke and the 49ers in 2013.
Going into the NFL draft with as many picks is they did (13) can be overwhelming, but the 49ers did a fine job maneuvering and making selections throughout. With aggressive tactics, they acquired targeted players.
And through that, the 49ers somehow avoided getting jammed up or stuck with a selection they did not want to have to make.
Silva makes mention of how each player the 49ers drafted has potential to be a building block for the future. With players getting older and entering contract years, San Francisco needed to be prepared for potential change.
With the acquisitions of Marcus Lattimore (SC), Quinton Patton (LA Tech) and Tank Carradine (FSU), the 49ers may have found long-term replacements for current marquee players on the roster.
The rich got richer. The 49ers entered Thursday with an NFL-most 13 picks. GM Trent Baalke turned them into very arguably the most impressive haul in the league, along the way picking up a 2014 third-rounder in Friday's trade with the Titans. Only Reid and McDonald may be definite first-year contributors, but that's far more a testament to Baalke's roster building than his individual selections.
Carradine is a to-the-whistle edge rusher who along with Lattimore could be "redshirted" as a rookie due to knee woes, before emerging as plus 2014 starters. Patton is a silky smooth route runner with ball skills and insurance on contract-year No. 1 wideout Michael Crabtree. Lemonier might have been a first-rounder had he not played on such a bad Auburn team. San Francisco is filthy rich with pass rush. Baalke is constructing a dynasty.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports: B
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco took a different approach to his draft report card of the 49ers.
He broke it down categorically, but did not have much negative to say about San Francisco’s moves. Overall, he believes they made solid acquisitions and may have even had a draft crush on a player or two.
An unlike the other analysts, Prisco noted an interesting tidbit from this 2013 class.
San Francisco used two draft picks on players returning from season-ending ACL injuries. Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore both incurred late-season blows in 2012, which should taper their rookie debuts.
However, both are first-round talents that were had outside of Day 1.
And with how stacked this San Francisco roster is, the 49ers can afford to make these sort of low-risk, high-reward moves.
Best pick: I love the pick of Corey Lemonier in the third round. He will covert to an outside rusher in their 3-4 and make a nice transition.
Questionable move: Using two picks on two players coming off major ACL injuries. Then again, they can afford to do it.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Quinton Patton, a receiver from Louisiana Tech, has second-round talent. He put up some big numbers against some good teams.
Analysis: They did a nice job trading up to get safety Eric Reid in the first round to fill a major hole on the defense. They then added a lot of quality college players the rest of the way.
Josh Hill of SI’s Fansided: A
Another high grade here from an SI affiliate.
Again, it is about the 49ers replenishing this roster with talent for the future.
For different reasons, they are going to lose players and have to be prepared to transition gracefully. This is one reason why the team is firm on adding competitive depth and developing talent.
Considering the future, San Francisco went with a BPA (best player available) approach in the draft. It was about bringing in great value on a round-by-round basis and not settling for a lesser player because “need” indicates as much.
This, in turn, helped them lay a foundation for the future.
I’m under the impression that San Francisco pieced together the best draft out of anyone this year. They recognize that money doesn’t grow on trees and that they will lose guys like Justin Smith the way they lost Dashon Goldson.
San Francisco dunked it’s bucket into the fountain of youth and came away with the team of the future. When the veterans leave, San Francisco will have more than enough capable guys to step up and that’s why this was such a brilliant draft.
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: C+
While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, this is completely out of left field.
San Francisco received high remarks emerging from this year’s draft, and until Lowell Cohn, it was pretty unanimous.
The 49ers hit on needs, drafted several top-rated players, managed to get value in each round and even added picks next year.
Cohn gave the 49ers a passing grade and nothing more.
The argument he makes is that San Francisco needed to draft one or two cornerbacks and they failed to do that. The Niners waited until Round 7 when they selected Rutgers CB Marcus Cooper.
However, Cooper (6’2”, 192 lbs.) is a very interesting prospect that Cohn is dismissing too quickly, in my opinion. The former Scarlet Knight brings good measurables, versatility and an extremely physical demeanor.
With secondary coach Ed Donatell and the rest of this coaching staff, Cooper has a chance to take his game to the next level.
And while Cohn insists the 49ers needed a slot or boundary corner, they currently have five CBs that have started in this league. San Francisco has every reason to feel comfortable with this corner group and how they fared in this draft.
Here's what saves their draft. Their first pick was free safety Eric Reid, a very good player. The 49ers needed a free safety because starter Dashon Goldson went to Tampa Bay for big money the 49ers didn't want to pay. So, the 49ers had a big hole at free safety. Reid filled the hole, addressed their second-biggest need
They also get credit for drafting Cornellius Carradine, a promising defensive tackle, Vance McDonald, the kind of rugged tight end coach Jim Harbaugh understands, and Corey Lemonier, a linebacker.
The 49ers needed to draft a significant cover corner. They did not. They needed to draft a significant slot cover guy. They did not. When teams go into an offense called ‘11 Personnel,’ the Niners are in trouble.
Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.
To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80.
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