2010 NFL Draft: Why the 49ers' First Round Was an Over-Investment

Patrick Goulding IIAnalyst IApril 23, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 10:  Eric Heitmann #66 and Justin Smiley #65 wait on the offensive line as quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers calls a play during an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals on September 10, 2007 at Monster Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 20-17.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I have to admit: I may have reacted too early to yesterday’s picks by the 49ers.


Everything I have seen indicates that Anthony Davis was more highly-rated than I thought he was and that Miami or someone else would have stepped in and taken him at No. 12, keeping him from the 49ers. I want to thank those who brought this to my attention through comments on my article yesterday.


Apparently Coach Singletary is really high on Anthony Davis and he has yet to steer the team wrong.


So then, let us assume that Davis would not have lasted until No. 13. Let us also assume that Anthony Davis is clearly the best option with Trent Williams and Russell Okung off the board. Let us also assume nothing lower than a fourth round pick could have propelled the 49ers to the No. 11 spot and landed them Anthony Davis.


In that case, I am OK with this move.


But at that point you have to stop and reflect on your position. You now have no pick in the fourth round, no pick in the fifth round, and still major needs to fill in the secondary and pass rush and for depth at WR and RB.


Adding Mike Iupati at No. 17 was not the right approach in my mind.


The team is apparently very high on him and he will most likely further improve the offensive line. The team is doubtlessly better off than it was before going into Radio City Music Hall, but that is not the entire basis on which to judge the first round.


I am still fairly confident that the 49ers could have traded down with their No. 17 pick and addressed their defense with a top, start-ready DB later in the round while probably recouping a mid-round pick to add flexibility later on.


Taking only offensive linemen in the first round and having to use (note I no longer consider it a waste) a fourth-round pick to get their guy with their first pick forces the 49ers’ hand much more going forward into Friday and Saturday than had they decided to split their priorities on Day One.


The 49ers must find a viable starter in the defensive secondary in the second or third round, given the state of that area. That limits their ability to be creative in these rounds and now, barring some big trades, they have no picks between the third and sixth rounds, heightening the importance of Friday’s selections.


Apparently I am the only 49ers fan who believes viable offensive line talent can be had beyond the first round of the draft. I never at any time said I wanted the team to ignore the offensive line, just that I would never have taken two in the first round, for all the reasons I have spelled out.


For the record, I am happy with the players the 49ers added and think they will improve the team. I am still not very happy with the method in which they were acquired, and how it sets the team up for the rest of the draft. For these reasons, I still cannot consider this first round average or above, though I will raise my original assessment from sub-F to D+.


If the 49ers can work with what they have left themselves and reasonably address their remaining needs (even if they do not land any of my hot picks, the Gerharts and Shipleys of the world) I could walk away Saturday night feeling OK with this draft. However, barring something dramatic, I do not anticipate ever being able to feel great about it.


As I said yesterday, the 49ers filled needs and avoided the absolute bonehead moves of drafting Jimmy Clausen, C.J. Spiller, or Dez Bryant, or trading for Ben Roethlisberger. It certainly could have been worse, but I for one still think it could have been a lot better.


Keep the faith!