Hi ho! Smathis the frog, here...
I think one thing that can be said about the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh and, especially, Trent Baalke is that we kinda-sorta know what meme they'll draft in. Let's see... What do I mean by that? I mean, we saw with Baalke a tendency to pick certain types of players that has only been amplified by his association with new head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Hop over with me after the jump to find out what those are and give me your best guess about who you think they'll be...
I don't think it's any surprise that Harbaugh and Baalke like hard-nosed, mighty-men in their locker room. Last year, they drafted a group of "real" football players and I think we can expect the same this year. I'm going to list out a few "roles" certain picks have played in the past couple of drafts and then ask you who you think fills this role in the 49ers 2012 Draft.
1. Aldon Smith -- The Pick That Proves Harbaalke Knows More Than We Do
This is a guy who was on no one's radar for the Niners' 2011 pick. I mean, a reporter asked Harbaugh if he was going to "trade" Aldon immediately after the draft. We look at that now and say "Wha?!" But at the time, this pick was a head scratcher that had a lotta people wondering what the Niners were up to. It's a pick that showed the Niners did their homework with scouting and drafted a guy who could contribute immediately that may not have been "on the radar". I'd lump Chris Culliver in as a similar type of pick.
So who do you think is going to be this year's pick (like Aldon or Cully) that throws everyone for a bit of a loop but actually turns out to be a solid addition to the team?
2. Anthony Davis/Colin Kaepernick - The "Baalke Always Gets His Man" Pick
Each year, Baalke has put his laser-sights on a pick and moved the earth to slap a gold helmet on him. No matter what we think about Davis or Kaep at this point in their career, there's no doubt that the organization wanted this person and did what it took to bring them in. I'd put Daniel Kilgore in this category as well.
Who do you think the Niners are targeting this year? And in what round do you think they'll move up in to get them?
3. Kyle Williams/Bruce Miller - The Late-Round Steal
Also each year, Baalke has brought in a guy that maybe a lot of people didn't know. And again, no matter what we think about Kyle based on some unfortunate mental mistakes in the NFCG, he was a solid contributor last year at WR. And Miller... Just wow. So who will be the Late-Round Steal this year?
I'd also qualify this pick as "The Pick That Proves Baalke and Harbaugh STILL Know More Than We Do".
4. Owen Marecic - The Pick That Got Away
We all know Harbaugh wanted Owen. It worked out anyway, with Miller stepping in at FB, but we wanted Owen, HE wanted Owen... but the cards just didn't fall that way. Who do you think will be the "One That Got Away" this year?
We know that Baalke wasn't so hot on Taylor. But a lot of the fanbase saw him as the second-coming of Ronnie Lott. And RoJo? Alex Smith loaned him his wife's car! And who couldn't love a guy that carried a football around named "Son". But, come 2012, neither of those guys is even on the roster. So who is THAT pick gonna be this year? The one that gets a portion of the fanbase all excited but doesn't work out?
Let me just say that I was over the moon when the Niners got Iupati. I knew that guy was going to be awesome and he is. And I was straight-up shocked when Kendall Hunter was sitting there for the Niners in the 4th round. I knew he was going to be awesome too. And he is. So this is that pick that you really hope falls in the Niners' lap because you know this guy is going to be legit -- and it turns out the universe agrees with you. Just this once. Who fills that role in the Niners' 2012 Draft?
Outside of all the hoopla about Fleener being all this or Hill being all that or OMGZ WE HAVE TO SIGN BROCK OSWEILER, this is what gets me excited. I have a lot of faith in the minds the Niners have behind the NFL Draft. And part of the excitement, for me, is waiting for that pick that makes me immediately search for the guy's highlights on YouTube.
Setting our draft crushes aside (Sorry, Peter Konz), what six picks do YOU see the Niners making that end up filling these roles that have played out in the past two drafts under Baalke?
And if I may offer a suggestion, I don't think it's possible for any answer to be wrong at this point in the draft. Maybe if we revisit this fanpost sometime next year before the 2013 Draft... but now? Nah.
Honestly, I'd like to see who knows what and get a jumpstart on my YouTube college highlights before the draft. You'd never believe how many hours I was locked up in 2011 trying to find out more about Bruce Miller, Chris Culliver, Aldon Smith and Ronald Johnson.