Here's a link to a video from the World-Wide Leader where McShay compares the success the teams in the NFC West had in the draft.
He ranked the Niners 1st, Seahawks 2nd, Rams, 3rd, and the Cards 4th in the division. The consensus seems to be that the Niners draft wasn't a home run, but that it also wasn't a stinker, and when you put it into a context that actually matters (how does the talent we picked up stack up in comparison with the talent picked up by the teams we play half of our games against?), it actually starts to mean something.
McShay had a lot of good things to say about the Niners draft. He really liked the Balmer pick, the Rachal pick (even suggested that he could start this year, which seems a bit optimistic), and the Smith pick (he praised his versatility).
I like the Balmer pick for a number of reasons. He seems like he's got a great attitude (AND he's a UNC alum...Go Heels!), and a really good fit for the defensive scheme, especially if he can play to the standard he played in his senior year. The story about his dad wearing a Niners cap during the draft was awesome, too. Seriously, though, he seems like he'll be able to hold down that LDE spot for a good long while. When he was on the board, this pick looks to have been a no-brainer, since they took all of 15 seconds to hand in the card.
I wasn't initially sold on the Rachal pick because it seemed like a reach, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense; if you look at who was on the board as far as O-Line talent, he was the only genuine 2nd-round talent that was there. I'd rather have Rachal than Mike Pollack and John Greco--the next two O-Linemen taken. In fact, I might rather have him than Duane Brown or Sam Baker, two 1st-rounders. We should also consider that he's coming out as a junior because he wanted to help his mom out with a medical problem, so he's still a work in progress.
The Reggie Smith pick is OK, but this is one where I wonder why they didn't go for a pass-rushing OLB, since there were a few guys who would've been available at that point. It seems like they would've had the night to go over their assessments of Crable, Avril, and Wheeler, since that's a real need area. Perhaps they were thinking that they'd only get ANOTHER Parys Haralson/TBC-type player, and that Smith was too good a value to pass up, not least because he can play a couple of different positions. I like him as a Nickel corner early on, since Shawntae doesn't seem to be developing beyond what we've seen, and it'll be good to have him for when Walt Harris is too old to keep running to the fountain of youth. Also, the "he's a potential match-up for some of these big-bodied recievers" rationale does make some sense to me, since Boldin, Fitzgerald, and Holt aren't going anywhere. Also, if he turns into any kind of return man, that's great.
One thing that had me wondering, though, was whether the Niners took a hard look at Lavelle Hawkins. He was there in round 4, and while I think the Wallace pick makes sense for depth and for a long-term succession plan should Heitmann leave, I'm not as sure about it.
SO...Anybody have info on Hawkins? Your take on McShay's assessment? On Smith vs. big-bodied receivers? On why the Niners went for Smith over an OLB?