Matt Dunham/Associated Press
There are plenty of teams who can't really adopt the 49ers draft philosophy. While Baalke is most certainly looking for immediate contributions from his selections, the 49ers are unafraid of drafting injured players and stashing them away for a year.
This is a very similar process to what some organizations in the NBA do with international players during that league's draft. The talent of said player is too good to pass up, but you have quality depth at the position. You just stash him away for a year or two, and hopefully reap the benefits when he finally arrives.
Of course, the NBA can let their players develop overseas. The similarities end here, since NFL teams use this process with injured players.
Now, what does this have to do with the 49ers struggles? Well, some of those young players who were either buried on the depth chart or redshirted get a chance to play.
And, as you expect, you begin to see their struggles manifest themselves on the field.
These players are still learning the game, and for us to not expect some struggles is foolish to say the least. This doesn't take away from their talent, but these young guys need some time to develop.
The defense serves as a great example. Just look at guys like Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Lawrence Okoye, Jimmie Ward, Chris Borland, Dontae Johnson, etc. Outside of Ward and possibly Dial these guys will have bit roles during the 2014 regular season.
Yes, it's easy to say the 49ers are taking a step down after reaching the conference championship the last three years, but we have to look at the bigger picture when it comes to the preseason.