After months of mock ups and predictions, the NFL draft is finally over. Now, the obligatory months of analysis begin, with professional analysts praising picks on potential and overly optimistic fans swearing that a punter from Mississippi State is just what their team needed to go from last in their division to Super Bowl Champions.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no different.
No. 11 Overall—Anthony Davis, OT
This guy was a really good pass blocker in college, and should be able to make the transition to the pros by Week One. He will provide Alex Smith with added protection and more time in the pocket, enabling him to throw passes that land 15 yards away from the nearest Niner more effectively.
He has some trouble with run blocking, but don’t worry, because he isn’t the only offensive lineman getting drafted in the first round.
No. 17 Overall—Mike Iupati, OG
Here you go; your designated elite run blocker. This guy has the size, skill, and speed to open up big holes for Frank Gore and San Francisco’s running game. He will be ready to play as soon as he hits the field and should greatly improve San Francisco’s power running game.
Two offensive linemen in the first round? Not very exciting by most standards, but I love it; you win football games in the trenches. They will not regret this investment.
No. 49 Overall—Taylor Mays, S
More than anything else, this guy is a physical specimen. He may have sub-par ball skills and he may have some trouble with his instincts, but his pure athleticism makes him a very interesting prospect with a lot of upside. With some good coaching, this kid could become Ronnie Lott 2.0.
Hmm, two offensive linemen and a defensive back selected already? Seems like the only need this team has left is an outside linebacker.
No. 91 Overall—Navorro Bowman, OLB
Another pick that has me thinking Coach Singletary is taking the best talent at a need position and is confident that his coaching skills will turn them into great players. Bowman has physical skills that are very enviable, but has a tendency to cause a lot of problems on and off the field. Still, if Singletary can get through to him, he is going to be a tremendous steal at pick No. 91.
Everything after that is likely to have very little impact, at least in the short term. I mean, there is a reason they are getting drafted in the fourth round or lower (though I do hear good things about Dixon).
Overall, it looks like the 49ers had a great draft, and have filled a number of holes in their roster. They secured their already formidable defensive with a few good impact players and greatly improved their offensive line, ensuring that they will have a balanced attack next year—you know; if they had a quarterback.