Good Morning 49er Faithful!
Now that the majority of Free Agency is at a close, and Pro days are wrapping up, the speculation begins on what direction teams will go with in this year’s draft. For the 49ers, Free Agency saw the signing of a majority of key contributors from 2011 season, including the resigning of our starting defense. WR was addressed with the signing of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, however seeing Snyder leave for the birds, leaves us with an empty spot at RG for the 2012 season. Although the Staff is very high on 2011 Draft picks, Daniel Kilgore and Mike Pearson, in addition to reports of tackle Alex Boone, are all slated to compete for the start at the RG position. With that said there are no glaring needs for the rest of our 2012 team. The defense is all back, the WR core has an upgrade with the aforementioned new faces, and the most important part, our coaching staff is still intact. This is the year I believe Baalke and company will be active in moving about the board, finding special players to help our ball club stay young, talented and hungry. With that said, I believe Baalke already has "his guy" in mind and will combine picks, (as we have seen in the past with A. Davis and C. Kaepernick) or trade around to get him. With that said this is how I view the 49ers 2012 draft to play out after the jump.
Round 1) Pick 20, Jonathan Martin, Tackle Stanford. Here Baalke Trades our 2012 2nd round pick, and 2013’s 1st and 5th round pick’s to move to the 20th position to select Martin. Martin has been slipping some in draft stock after the combine, but at 20 Baalke won’t want to wait any longer for his guy. The draft holds the highest value with offensive tackles. Martin will be able to start at RT tackle and eventually take over for Joe Staley down the road. His quick feet allows him to kick out and manhandle any pass rusher in the NFL, practicing against Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith will elevate his game to elite status in the future. With this selection the 49ers will move Anthony Davis inside to fill the Right Guard Position where his superior run blocking skills will be used to his full potential. In the pass blocking game, Davis has struggled along with false starts as he over anticipates snaps to kick out to quicker pass rushers. Having Davis not needing to anticipate the snap count, knowing he has help will disguise his slow feet; however his strength will be utilized to negate any bull rush.
(Sidebar-another reason to trade next year’s picks, allows more cap room to resign Navarro Bowman don’t you think he is worth a 1st round pick?)
Round 1) Pick 30, Stephon Gilmore, CB South Carolina. By keeping their 30th pick, Baalke is able to draft Rodgers replacement and fellow future starter alongside Culliver. Gilmore has exceptional upside with his man coverage, and zone playing abilities. He is a tall, solidly built corner with a physical nature to his game. As a "plus" sized corner he has surprising quickness and fluidity. Needs to clean up his footwork in off/zone concepts, but has skill set to play near the line, check receivers and turn and run. Gilmore also enhances his value as he is a capable KR/PR man, to eventually replace Ted Ginn, for the 2013 season, as we are fortunate enough to have Ginn Jr. for another year.
Round 2) Traded
Round 3) pick 94 Robert Turbin RB Utah State. The more I read and research Turbin, the more excited I get about the possibility of seeing him line up behind Bruce Miller, or alongside Kendall Hunter. He’s tough to tackle, a bruiser with good vision and balance who hits the hole hard and has good hands. He willingly picks up the blitz and is a diligent worker with great character. Questions about ACL surgery 2 years ago needs not be a concern, look at Frank Gore, and his knee issues out of Miami. At 5-10, 220lbs, and a 4.47 40 yard dash at the combine, Turbin is Gore 2.0, with a splash of Marshawn Lynch.
Round 4) pick 125 Tommy Streeter; WR Miami At 6’5" and 216lbs, Streeter is a rawer version of Stephen Hill (if that’s possible). Streeter is projected to be a 4-5 Round pick, but has impressive size and speed. He comes from a non-pro-style offense, and is more of a track phenom then WR at this point. However our schemes and solid coaching ability will produce high results for Streeter in a few years. He is a developmental WR with a lot of upside; Baalke likes players with high ceilings.
Round 5) pick 157 Jacquise Smith OLB/DE Mizzou. (he’s a Smith from Mizzou, we need another OLB, and with a last name of Smith coming from Mizzou = Stud [see Aldon Smith, Justin Smith], solid motor, can develop behind Aldon and Ahmad, use as a situational much like we did with Aldon this year, can be another ST contributor)
Round 6) Akiem Hicks, DE, Regina (Canada). (He has imposing measurables at 6'5", 318 pounds and is versatile to play at either end or tackle in Fangio's 3-4 defense. With the Rams, Hicks led the Canadian conference with 6.5 sacks during the regular season and also topped the Rams in tackles (29); total tackles (35.5) and forced fumbles (two). He is big and fast, has great hands to knock Offensive Lineman off their blocks. Hicks can be a developmental/ situational player to learn behind Justin Smith and Ray McDonald; will be able to compete with Will Tukuafu and Demarcus Dobbs for a roster spot.
Round 7) Asa Jackson, CB Cal Poly, because he is a small school guy, he may slip this far in the draft, a technician at his position, he is a competitive prospect with a chip on his shoulder, can step in and compete with Tramain Brock, Cory Nelms and Curtis Holcomb for a roster spot. Jackson could be a missile on special teams, much like Colin Jones of 2011.
Regardless of whom the 49ers Draft, I am really pleased with how well Baalke has done, by developing contracts and assigning "values" to every player considered a "49er" he has landed us Jim Harbaugh, a great coaching staff, and provided players with a team first mentality which has, and will continue to be exciting to see for years to come. Please leave comments as to who you believe the niners will pursue!