I have recently read some varying opinions about draft needs for the 49ers. I became very concerned that popular opinion seems to have shifted from the practical to the grasping of maybes.
I remember when the 49ers used their first round draft pick ( NO.25 ) on a small, ultra quick, RB/KR named Dexter Carter in 1990.
He was a reach for a No. 1 pick, yet the 49er brass seemed confident in their choice since they figured by adding a dynamic playmaker, it would allow them to strike on special teams and in space a la Dave Meggett of the NY Giants. He ended up being a part time starter that struggled even in the limited role of KR.
They justified that they didn't really have any holes in their lineup, so they had the luxury of reaching for a diamond in the rough. Well, as things played out, we all saw that Dexter Carter was not the answer the 49ers thought he would be.
First round draft choices, even made at the bottom of the round, are much too valuable to take risks and hope they work out. They need to be used on people that will fill out your roster as starters for the next four to six years. The 49ers took Carter and missed out on the five Pro-Bowlers that were chosen between picks 26 and 54.
If you miss and draft someone that does not fulfill their potential, then you have created a lot of pressure on your organization that will require a hit in free agency or in the lower rounds to fix.
We'd all like to be the free-wheeling GM that is ready trade anyone, anywhere, to make a paper tiger. But when careers and reputations are on the line, trades are much harder to complete.
The 49ers will do well to either package their picks to get a superstar (a top 3 pick), or use their picks on the middle of the round to get solid starters that will serve this organization for the next four to six years.
Let round four be the start of the mad scientist experiments. Here's one thought.
Prediction: OT Trent Williams with Pick 13 unless Berry or Haden are available. DB Taylor Mays with pick 17 or someone to rush to QB like Carlos Dunlap, if he drops.
I do see them chasing someone with burning speed to be their WR/KR in later rounds, so they might be willing to trade down for another second round pick this year and third/fourth round next year.
Something else to consider:
Frank Gore's health seems to be deteriorating fast. He has never had great top-end speed, but I saw him get pulled down too many times last year, limping off the field in pain.
With Coffee's/Robinson's concussion issues, the 49ers may indeed look at Spiller as an answer.
Hopefully the 49ers have learned from the past and will not squander their first three picks on anything but solid players at the positions they need.