During the draft evaluation process, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke about how this year's draft was set up to be a potential career-maker for Trent Baalke. Harbaugh didn't use that phrase, but with the number of draft picks at hand and the state of the 49ers roster, it has been pretty obvious this was a big draft. The 49ers hit big in 2011 with the addition of guys like Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith. However, hitting on this year's class would significantly add to his resume. I don't think anybody views the 2011 class as a lucky group of selections, but adding strong draft classes on top of that builds up the reputation of Trent Baalke all the more.
In the video above, Dan Rubenstein takes a look at three reasons why the 49ers "won the draft". Give the video a watch. I even get a shout-out from Dan at the end.
As the draft moved along, we had a bit of a running joke about Baalke as a "Draft Ninja". He was wheeling and dealing, moving up and down, and aggressively pursuing the players he wanted. In light of the draft ninja phrase, I figured it was time to get something photoshopped. The photo on the front page does not show the entire thing, so here it is. I'm tempted to make this the Niners Nation twitter avatar.
The original picture was a movie poster for the movie American Ninja 2. User Girl Friday posted the original movie poster, and inspiration hit! I emailed the man behind @SBNationGIF with a few ideas, and he put this together. I have to say, I really like it!
Obviously we cannot fully assess Trent Baalke's performance last week. Any assessments a week removed from the first round are guesses, and maybe not even fully educated at this point. We know what we thought of various prospects heading into the draft, but those were only moderately informed opinions. We don't have access to the level of scouting film the 49ers (and other teams') front office had.
It is possible that in five years we look back at this draft class and marvel at its greatness. It's also possible we look back and wondered what happened. I really like the draft class, along with the addition of a 2014 third round pick. That being said, I know we have to be patient. I think we'll see more this first season from the 2013 class than we saw last season from the 2012 class, but that is due to more opportunities leading to specific picks.
While we will continue to wait, I still have no qualms declaring Trent Baalke a Draft Ninja!