The 3 Year Draft Report Card: 2011 Edition

Chris Trotman

With the 2014 NFL draft still a month away, and many Cheetos-stained keyboards being hammered away at nationwide, I'd like to take this time to enthrall yall with another fun diversion during this news-starved period that is "the offseason". As much fun as it is to play the conjecture game every day leading up to the draft, lo and behold, there's more fun to be had after the draft in assigning arbitrary grades to teams based on the manufactured & arbitrary draft stock for mock drafts made by the same people feeding us our mock fixes.

The draft grades come out, and people are crucified and hoisted for their choices without the players having dogged it through one training camp snap. Naturally, some folks think the proverbial corner has just been turned, and some folks believe the proverbial sky to be falling, proverbially, upon their heads. Then there's those who can resist instant gratification and say "You've gotta wait until the 3rd year to grade the damn draft, stop wasting your time and my bandwidth". This is for those folks.

I'll see the grades 3 years from now when Aldon Smith dominates the NFL

by manraj7 on Apr 29, 2011 | 11:03 AM

With that being said, I present to you the second edition (click link for 2010's) of The 3 Year Draft Report Card.

To set the stage, I'd like to take a trip down memory lane and see who said what about our haul. This year, I'll be referencing Nocal81's initial grades, as Niners Nation didn't seem to have compiled gradings for that year.

Mel Kiper: C+. Aldon was a reach, Culliver was a reach, doesn't like that the first two picks were upside/developmental.

Rob Rang: C. Didn't like the Aldon Smith pick.

Pete Prisco: C+. Thought 49ers should have picked Blaine Gabbert at #7.

Evan Silva: B+. Thought highly of Aldon Smith & Colin Kaepernick. Questioned the Chris Culliver pick.


7th Pick Overall (1st Round) - Aldon Smith | DE/OLB | Mizzou

What's there to say about this pick? He was highly touted, but not highly touted enough to be picked at 7. Everyone saw him as a reach, people wanted a player to fill the bigger needs, the Aldon Smith pick was largely panned. Fast forward 3 seasons, 1 Pro Bowl, 1 All Pro, 1 NFC DPOY, team record for most sacks by a rookie, then the team record for most sacks in a season, the NFL records for most sacks in two seasons, fastest to 30 sacks, and the Monday Night record for most sacks (5.5). Allow me to put his 42 sacks in 3 seasons in perspective for you: that averages out at 14 sacks a season.

Fooch 2011 grade: B

Niners Nation 2011 grade: A-

Try 2014 grade: A (Off-the-field concerns dropped him from A+)

36th Pick Overall (2st Round) - Colin Kaepernick | QB | Nevada

With everyone already up in arms about not getting Gabbert at 7, we moved up in the second round for Kaepernick. That's when all hell broke loose about him being a gimmick, too likely to be injured, not pro-ready, a reach, inaccurate, a consolation prize, etc. It's worked out alright so far, however. No post-season accolades although he's taken us to the NFC Championship Game twice and was 5 inches of air under a pass away from hoisting a Lambroty. With over 5,000 yards of passing and a 31-11 TD-INT regular season ratio (and over 900 yards and 9 TD's on the ground) over one and a half season & a big pay day coming up, it's starting to look like Colin Kaepernick is the 49ers franchise quarterback.

Niners Nation 2011 grade: A

Try 2014 grade: A+ (Franchise quarterback. Second round.)

80th Pick Overall (3rd Round) - Chris Culliver | DB | South Carolina

Was seen as a bit of a reach in 2011, and many experts had their reservations about this pick (although they also had reservations about Aldon & Kaep). Had a good rookie year where he played spot duty. Followed it up in 2012 with a solid campaign that led to him being lauded by one of the "advanced statistics" websites as one of the best young CBs on a per-snap basis. Then the "sweet stuff" comment, then he got torched by Flacco, then he made some misogynistic comments, then he missed 2013 with an injury, and now he's facing some felonies.

Niners Nation 2011 grade: C

Try 2014 grade: C- (Good role player when he's on the field, plays the role of a moron off the field)

115th Pick Overall (4th Round) - Kendall Hunter | RB | Oklahoma State

With early comparison to MJD based on bowling-ball stature with enormous legs & the fearlessness to go between the tackles, Kendall Hunter has represented a great pick with great value. A fan favorite around these parts, he plays an excellent second fiddle to Frank Gore, not necessarily as a COP, but rather a role player who can let Frank rest his bones from time to time. I'm not certain Kendall would be my first choice as a 20-touches a game player, but as a fresh set of legs behind your feature guy, he's certainly one of the best in the NFL. He's showed he can get it done, averaging nearly 400 yards per season in a backup role.

Niners Nation 2011 grade: A

Try 2014 grade: B

163rd Pick Overall (5th Round) - Daniel Kilgore | OL | Appalachian State

A late round project who has stuck on the 53 as a contributor as the 6th man in jumbo packages, and recently earned an extension with an opening at Center that he has a real shot at, Kilgore presents excellent value. I sure didn't know who he was on draft day(s), but I know who he is now. Depending on how this training camp shakes out, it's a very real possibility that many more people will soon know who he is.

Niners Nation 2011 grade: B+

Try 2014 grade: B+ (solid depth, earned an extension, will be an A if he manages to win the C spot)

182nd Pick Overall (6th Round) - Ronald Johnson | WR | USC

USC players have a polarizing effect around here - likely because we haven't found ANY value out of them since... Ronnie Lott? Like Taylor Mays and Chilo Rachal in previous years, Rojo was seen as a high upside guy who would make a difference. Instead, he got cut before the season, and landed with the Eagles but was only on the 53 once, yet didn't make it to the 46. I'm pretty certain that this means he has never played a single down in a regular season NFL game.

Niners Nation 2011 grade: A

Try 2014 grade: D- (6th round camp body. Thanks for the memories, pal)

190th Pick Overall (6th Round) - Colin Jones | S | TCU

Made a great impact on special teams. Was traded to the Panthers for an eventual 7th round pick. For a 6th round flier, it's great that he even made the 53. Beyond that, he saw the field, and brought value in a trade. Remember, we got similar payment for a 2nd round bust-of-a-safety in Taylor Mays, and he didn't do jack for us.

Niners Nation 2011 grade: B

Try 2014 grade: B

211th Pick Overall (7th Round) - Bruce Miller | FB | UCF

This guy is my hero. Wasn't much of a DE, so Baalke made him a FB. And he's now paid like a top 5 fullback. These picks in the 7th round are usually just a team's way of saying "I call dibs on this soon-to-be UDFA", so when a 7th (or 6th, or 5th, to be honest) round pick doesn't pan out, it's nothing out of the ordinary. But this guy didn't just switch positions, he switched sides of the ball, and became one of the best at his new position in 3 short years. Sure, the 6th and 7th rounds are generally where you're going to find your Fullbacks, but this was a grand slam of a pick.

Niners Nation 2011 Grade: B

Try 2014 grade: A+

239th Pick Overall (7th Round) - Mike Person | OT | Montana St.

Has played in 1 game in his professional career, has been on 4 teams in 3 years. Currently a member of the Rams offseason roster. He has recorded at least one snap in a regular season NFL game.

Niners Nation 2011 Grade: None

Try 2014 Grade: Who cares

250th Pick Overall (7th Round) - Curtis Holcomb | DB | Florida A&M

Was injured before the 2011 season, IR'd until the 2012 offseason, cut & picked up by Jacksonville, who then cut him before 2012 started. Hasn't played a single down in the NFL.

Niners Nation 2011 Grade: None

Try 2014 Grade: Also "Who cares"

To briefly restate Nocal81's conclusion of the 2011 draft, he set forth stating that Aldon Smith will be a premier pass rusher, Kaepernick will succeed at the next level, we should be wary of Chris Culliver, and Kendall Hunter would be a pleasant surprise.


Niners Nation 2011 Overall Grade: B+

This draft set the foundation to help build whatever Harbaugh and Baalke were planning to build. They found a PREMIER PASS RUSHER!! AND A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK!! They found valuable role players in a very good 2nd RB, their starting FB (who himself is a receiving threat, in addition to his blocking ability), a solid backup OL who has an opportunity right now to start at center, and a talented (but also an idiot) DB who looks to be part of the starting secondary for the foreseeable future, unless he goes to prison.

Try 2014 Overall Grade: A

2 Major play makers, 2 solid starters (innocent until proven guilty for Culliver), 2 SOLID backups with starter potential, and some late-round picks that are still in the league. This was a great draft for the 49ers.

Thank you all for reading! I can't wait until 2016 when I have a chance to review the 2013 draft!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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