An Experiment with Pessimism

Al Bello

Having already been optimistic, let's get to know our new 49ers by examining their weaknesses.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about how the post-Draft offseason always seems to bristle with optimistic energy. At least, it always does so at first. I think eventually the boredom and monotony of the offseason kicks in. We know the offseason is in full swing when not much of anything is happening. Free Agency? The Draft? That's all just the prelude to a slow and arduous summer. I don't even know how those who aren't fond of baseball even survive. These two sports sustain the others' offseason quite well.

Anyway, the post-Draft period is completely optimistic by nature. And this is how it should be. We just had a huge influx of talent onto the team. But, I wonder if we could step back from that an engage in a bit of a mental exercise. Namely, I'm wondering, what sort of scenario can you concoct that makes this draft particularly poor? Be pessimistic; engage with your doom and gloom self. This could be for one player (i.e. "here's what I worry about with Eric Reid...") or for the whole draft.

I'll present a whole draft type of scenario to get the ball rolling.

This draft seems defined, to me, as a draft that sought to select players who had immediate and short-term problems - thus putting off teams that needed impact players now -- but have immense potential in the long-term. The poster child for this has got to be Marcus Lattimore. Devastating knee problems? Check. Potential first round talent? Check.

But what happens when his knee problems never get better? Sure, he will be able to make cuts and sprint, but will the speed be there? Or, what about Vance McDonald? He seems like he can block, but mainly from the slot. Can he block from the line? I think this type of logic can be applied to every player we drafted (save maybe Eric Reid, and even he has a few indisputable question marks in regards to coverage). Do I think this draft will be a bust? Of course not. But it's good to be aware of weaknesses, and I think it helps us understand our new players better by embracing the pessimism.

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