Rd. 1, Pick 18: Eric Reid, FS, LSU
Rd. 2, Pick 40: Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida St.
Rd. 2. Pick 55: Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
Rd. 3, Pick 88: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
Rd. 4, Pick 128: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
Rd. 4, Pick 131: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Rd. 5, Pick 157: Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama
Rd. 6, Pick 180: Nick Moody, LB, Florida St.
Rd. 7, Pick 237: B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida
Rd. 7, Pick 246: Carter Bykowski, OL, Iowa St.
Rd. 7, Pick 252: Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers
It is difficult to grade this class because it is the most recent one, and the results are yet to be determined. But at face value, this is a "B+" class with "A+" potential. The 49ers got value in every single round, adding prospective franchise players at positions of need. How much more can you ask?
This draft will rival their 2011 crop, which included a franchise quarterback and a dominant pass-rusher.
First off, the 49ers were in a position where they had to replace the NFL’s reigning All-Pro free safety, Dashon Goldson, who left the organization that offseason for a mega deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They traded up in Round 1 and got their handpicked guy, and he exceed expectations.
LSU’s Eric Reid is the best safety to emerge from this class, playing at a Pro Bowl level in his first year.
He started from Week 1 on, laying the wood (penalty-free) and making plays on the back end (tied for a team-high four interceptions). Reid is another marquee defensive player the 49ers can build around—as if they really need another. But he already looks to have surpassed Goldson and will likely be an NFL superstar.
Next up was Florida State’s Tank Carradine, who was branded a unanimous top-five prospect in 2013.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles pass-rusher suffered a knee injury, which would hurt his stock, dropping him to Round 2. But this was a huge pickup for San Francisco, which took him at No. 40 overall, just to stash him. Now he’s ready, and it's looking to flip him into a hybrid 5-tech in its 3-4 defense.
Running a 4.75, carrying 295 pounds and benching 500 pounds, Carradine is a genetic freak. He will be able to hold the edge, pursue the run and also get after the quarterback.
Tight end Vance McDonald and defensive end Corey Lemonier were also strong draft picks. These are developmental players, providing depth at positions that already have entrenched starters. Each saw playing time in Year 1, flashing here and there, but they bring a lot of promise for the future.
McDonald is a gargantuan receiving target and imposing run-blocker, while Lemonier is one of the best speed-rushers to come out of the 2013 class, bringing an uncanny get-off.
Moving right along, the 49ers got another steal in Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton. While he fell for being a bit undersized and with a small body of work in the NCAA, he is one of the best receivers when it comes to making the catch. And isn’t that what a receiver is in a nutshell?
Measurables aside, Patton creates separation with his basketball moves, running everything on the route tree while attacking the ball in flight. He is a natural with starting capability at the next level. He’ll come in as a strong candidate to be the No. 3 WR for the 49ers in 2014.
After acquiring the rights to Carradine, San Francisco stashed two more value picks with South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive tackle Quinton Dial.
These were two more players with injuries who fell right into the team’s lap, making it a no-brainer when they were still on the board. Lattimore, an absolute star, would’ve been a first-rounder had it not been for his gruesome knee injury in his last game vs. the Tennessee Volunteers.
But this is a high-character player with a world of upside. He’s now healthy and ready to go, which makes this a steal for the 49ers.
Moving on, FSU safety-turned-linebacker Nick Moody was drafted solely to be a special teams ace for this team. After losing 2011 pick Colin Jones and realizing the impact, the 49ers decided to tap that well again. Moody is a player that has the potential to captain the special teams unit for years to come.
South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels and Rutgers cornerback Marcus Cooper are two more strong picks that the 49ers unfortunately couldn’t keep.
Frankly, Daniels looked as sharp as any late-round rookie QB could look in exhibition, but San Francisco decided to let him go and keep Colt McCoy for one reason or another. The mobile passer is now with the Seattle Seahawks, backing up Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson.
The 49ers made another training camp mistake by keeping Nnamdi Asomugha over Cooper as well. Asomugha was released from the team midseason, while Cooper was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs, becoming a starter and damn good player for them in his first year.
Iowa State tackle Carter Bykowski is the one pick that didn’t really amount to anything, which is not bad at all, considering they got value in Rounds 1-7 and made 11 selections.