We may be only a day removed from the 2011 NFL Draft, but that will certainly not stop the likes of Mel Kiper and Todd McShay from judging each team's parcel of picks. The 49ers had as many picks as anybody out there, even after dealing away picks. Before we get to the grading, here is a rundown of the 49ers' ten picks and trades:
1. Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
2. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
3. Chris Culliver, CB, South Carolina
4. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
5. Daniel Kilgore, OL, Appalachian State
6. Ronald Johnson, WR, USC
7. Colin Jones, S, TCU
8. Bruce Miller, DL/FB, Central Florida
9. Michael Person, OL, Montana State
10. Curtis Holcomb, CB, Florida A&M
w/Denver: 49ers 2nd (No. 45), 4th (No. 108), 5th (No. 141) for Broncos 2nd (No. 36 - Kaepernick)
w/Jacksonville: 49ers 3rd (No. 76) for Jaguars 3rd (No. 80 - Culliver) and 6th (No. 182 - Johnson)
w/Green Bay: 49ers 6th (No. 174) and 7th (No. 231) for Packers 5th (No. 163 - Kilgore)
After the jump I've posted a rundown of the Mel Kiper and Todd McShay report cards for the 49ers selections. In the meantime, I've posted a grading poll. I realize it's too early to give any truly definitive grade, but for now this represents a benchmark we can look back on in five years to mock or observe in wonder.
The coiffed one made a change to his grading system in 2011. He added grades for "Needs" and "Value" that are then factored into the overall grade. For his grading scale, a B is solid and means the team "consistently hit needs and found value in the process." He gave the 49ers a B for needs, a C for value, and a C+ overall.
You'll hear Smith called the first big reach of Round 1, but he wouldn't have lasted long at all past the No. 7 slot where the Niners nabbed him. And beyond the obvious question at quarterback, an outside linebacker who can rush the quarterback was the biggest position of need for this team, and if Smith continues on his developmental path, he could be a star. Jim Harbaugh found a quarterback he can develop with Kaepernick in Round 2, but even with the run on quarterbacks, I saw that as a reach. There's a lot of development needed. San Fran did hit on other top needs at cornerback and wide receiver, and got decent value in Hunter for depth at running back. Kilgore also offers a little more depth at guard. It's all about what happens at quarterback in terms of how we judge the success of the 2011 49ers, but I judge this weekend as a relative success. It's just a small worry when your first two picks both have development requirements.
While Kiper went with traditional grades, Todd McShay was much more basic. He simply assessed each team's best move and most questionable move.
Best move: Trading up to get Colin Kaepernick
Alex Smith is expected to be back for another year, but this gives coach Jim Harbaugh a quarterback to develop. Kaepernick needs work and is a long way away, but with the right coaching he could be one of the steals of this draft.
Most questionable move: Reaching at cornerback
The 49ers had a pretty good draft, but there were better options, including Shareece Wright, Curtis Marsh and Johnny Patrick, available at cornerback than Chris Culliver at the No. 80 slot. They addressed the pass rush but could have done a little better here at cornerback. Still, if this is the most questionable move they made, the 49ers had a pretty good draft.