As you guys know, I've been watching this process for sixty years ... I've been through incredible highs (most of the 1980s drafts) and terribly depressing lows (almost all of the drafts sense then). For the ten years leading up to last year's draft, with a few exceptions (Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis), the Niners draft has been a real downer. After last year's draft I was somewhat encouraged that maybe we had turned the corner ... leaving the Donohue, Nolan, McCloughan fiascos behind us.
After the first two days of the 2011 draft, I can't help but be terribly disappointed. Maybe last year was just an accident (or the result of Singletary's strong personality), because what I've seen from Baalke / Harbaugh thus far has been feeling so-so (Aldon Smith), elated (Colin Kaepernick), and now depresses (Culliver). As a form of therapy, let me share the thinking behind my feeliings.
Pick #7 -- Aldon Smith. Not the best possible pick given the circumstances, but OK. I would have preferred Prince or Quinn because they would have been less of a reach, but, well, OK; if the FO likes him I can certainly live with it. The problem is that Smith is a reach of 12, which, in the first seven picks, is really pushing it IMO.
Pick #45/#36 -- Colin Kaepernick. Absolutely love the pick; with all the teams drafting in the thirties and looking for a QB, I loved the fact that the FO made the trade to move up and get their guy. However, I didn't like the specifics of the trade ... Baalke paid about a 5% premium to make the trade, which, in this case, is the equivalent of a 6th round pick; why throw in the 5th round pick (#141 ... where we could select Marecic) if you don't absolutely have to? Was that the only way to make the deal? Still, the selection was a real upper.
Pick #76/#80 -- Chris Culliver. OMG! What the hell are they thinking? Are they even thinking?
First, I loved the trade down to pick up another 6th round pick ... this trade was actually balanced and made sense. Given where the board stood when the trade was made, I saw a number of possibilities for the use of the slightly lower pick.
Then came the selection. WTF? This pick makes absolutely NO sense! We don't know whether the guy's a safety or a corner; he has a history of injury/medical issues; he has mental limitations; again ... WTF? Worse, when I look at the prospects still available when this pick was made I can't do anything but cringe. OK, you want to go defense, here's who we could have had instead: NT Kendrick Ellis (who was the right pick IMO), CBs Devon House, Brandon Burton, Johnny Patrick, Jalil Brown, or Curtis Marsh, or DE Greg Romeus. Don't want defense? OK, on offense, here's who we could have had instead: RBs Kendall Hunter, Taiwan Jones, Quizz Rodgers, or Alex Green, or WRs Edmund Gates or Vince Brown, or OG Clint Boling. This pick may have been worse than almost any that McClueless ever made.
I absolutely hate feeling this way. I really looked forward to this draft. I certainly hope that Baalke can bail himself out tomorrow.