The overwhelming thoughts I hear from Niner fans is that management screwed up yet again. I disagree, the more I went through and read stuff I believe they really know what they wanted. Note is about this pick and this pick only not about the past, so lets focus on this now.
What were our Options at 7:
1. Bowers (obviously everyone in the league has concerns, so it was wise not to pick)
2. Quinn (Probably the only other guy that might have made sense)
3. Fairly (I think the attitude plays the biggest factor, 1 year wonder, and they already have DT with Franklin, pay a question or just fork another year to Franklin)
3. QB (any of them, the last thing I expected, bc Harbaugh knows what he wants probably better than most guys, certainly more than the draft experts, Gabbert didn't fit the system, plus too expensive at 7, Locker to early despite Tennessee's decision, then Ponder at 7 would have been the biggest reach ever)
4. CB (either Prince or Smith, Smith would have been too soon, and after Peterson, the more you read the more you hear that the consensus is that between Smith and Prince they both have their issues that keep them from being clear cut #2s after Peterson, I think we all agree that Peterson was in a class of his own, plus the fact is there is FAs that are available, whereas FA pass rushers are just not available typically without a huge cost or are past their prime typically)
5. Trade back (I will explain why I think it was not feasible based on the pick that they wanted)
6. Trade up (I would have love jumping up to 4, but it would have cost alot to grab Peterson, plus we would be reminding ourselves forever had we just lost to AZ in the last game of the season)
So in the end I look at Smith as the best guy based on what I see. Granted this is my educated thought from what I have read online. Yes there is the risk with him, but there was risk with Quinn who I felt was the other main option for them. They decided to take the guy that probably has a better chance of become a well around Outside Linebacker for them. A guy that will stop the run and the pass, that is extremely flexible. A guy that has great upside, but also no questions on character or work ethic. I think the the character issue is really important with a fairly young team and new coaching staff, Harbaugh and company don't want to deal with headaches when your trying to install a new system is my guess.
So lets move towards assuming that this was the best pick for them, why is the trading back not an option. When you analyze it closer you will see why trading back wasn't an option. I know we all question the moves because of what we did last year jumping up to grab Davis. But despite the past history this decision makes far more sense. I see that there was only 3 places to trade back to in my opinion, those being pick 8 through 10. I believe the Niners and most NFL teams expected at 11 that the Houston Texans were looking right at Smith, they had him pictured to be the opposite end to Mario Williams. There is rumors that Wade Phillips even saw similar qualities in Smith to DeMarcus Ware, now that is definitely a long stretch to say Smith is the next Ware, but I know even if he is close we will all be thrilled right?. Smith was targeted in many of the last mock drafts by experts to go to Houston at 11 (Mel Kiper being one of them, not that I think he knows everything, he probably has the longest televised track history). Part of why we don't know as much is that over the last few weeks he was expected to be there in the middle 1st, therefore he was never projected to us.
But I honestly believe that Houston would have taken him there at 11, and looking at what they ended up grabbing in JJ Watts at 11, it shows they were definite eyeing a DE. And I can't imagine they had Watts rated higher than Aldon Smith, but maybe but not likely. They definitely couldn't have traded back to 8, because TN already wanted Locker as we saw, then Dallas was not looking to move up either, considering they were rumored to trade back to New England, and in the end they took an Offensive Tackle, not something TN was expected to grab, so no reason to jump in front of them. So that leaves them with the Redskins, who were thought to be interested in jumping up to where the Niners were, but I think that was more for if a WR fell or Peterson or Miller, which obviously they were all gone. And in the end we saw Washington trading back. So it is pretty easy to see the line of thought that if you really want Aldon Smith, they had no chance to go back without taking a huge chance of losing him. If they had someone else rated higher left on the board they would have taken them. If they really wanted Quinn, no one would have questioned at 7 but on their board they had Quinn higher, to me that is no reach, we just know more about Quinn, because he was projected far more than Smith, not necessarily because he is better, if anything they are probably far similar with Quinn having the more exciting one season, but that being said character, character character concerns. Don't we have enough characters on the team as is.
Also the trade of Atlanta to 6 really stuck the Niners with less options as trade partners. In the end I would have loved to see the Niners make that trade with the Falcons, but in the end it wasn't an option.
Feedback would be great, but in the end if this is the MAN that Harbaugh and company wanted, I will trust them, not blindly though, but Harbaugh hasn't done anything to make me believe that he isn't our coach that will bring us back to the Niners winning ways!!! There is plenty to not necessarily agree with on the pick, but I think pass rusher was by far the most important area that you can really only address from the draft so guess what the league overall proved that DL guys were really desired this year. Having 12 grabbed turns out to be the most in any year ever of a 1st round draft. And in my opinion our team did their research, and looking back Smith was their 2nd highest rated DL player. If you want to avoid character concerns, that puts Smith as the #2, Fairly and Quinn were probably rated slightly higher, but once again these are the mock draft experts right, if they were so great, wouldn't they be on one of the NFL teams scouting staffs?
Go Niners, I look forward to the rest of the draft!!! Hope you guys like my first post ever on the site.