As much as Mel Kiper manages to adorn himself the expert, the NFL Draft is a crap shoot. I was once psyched about Patrick Willis and I was once psyched about Rashaun Woods. I was pissed about Alex Smith and I was pissed about Vernon Davis. So to sit and say, “The 49ers NEED to draft So’n’So to succeed!” would be like saying, “The US Government NEEDS to [something] to turn the economy around!” Not only are there too many answers, but there are too many wrong answers that can be supported with cogent arguments.
However, what I do know is how to build a Madden dynasty. You may not know this but the 49ers have ten Super Bowl titles on the shoulders of 7-time All-Pro quarterback James Worth. The(se) Niners have achieved success by always building through the draft and anointing game plans the foundation of the franchise over personnel. You have to know your offense and defense. You have to sense their weaknesses; they resonate in your bones in the way a parent knows how their child come up short in life. You also have to be comfortable with the fact you’re talking about a video game.
Coincidentally, I took in enough of the “other” 49ers’ games—the ones on TV that went 6-10 and officially made it a Decade And a Half of Broken Hearts—to get the same sense. So let’s pretend that we’re building through the draft on our Madden franchise and and now we need to identify the attributes, the qualities of a player that will puzzle-piece fit into next year’s squad and propagate the progress from firing Motivation-only Mike Singletary. (You don’t need to “motivate” Justin Smith. You need to give him intelligent assignments.)
For a moment, we will forget college performance and only look at the Combine. (Yes, I remember Ryan Leaf too) The point of the exercise is to construct ideal rookies that fit into the bigger picture of what the 49ers are trying to do as a team. But since this is “in-theory”, we need a limited pool of attributes—otherwise, we could just throw helmets on a few Siberian tigers and call it a day.
So for the six events of the Combine we have a scale of 1-10. Out of 60 possible points, we get to work with 40. All ratings will be relative to the position, so an offensive lineman and a defensive back could both receive a 10 for the 40-yard dash; the score would be graded against their position peers. (We’re going to leave out Wonderlic results; I’m not totally sold on their value in assessing NFL talent yet.)