I look at the last part of Day 3 and I just shake my head... For a while there I thought that the Johnson trade had blinded them to the continuing need at WR. He is amazing at getting himself open or I'd have been distraught with that trade. He's got OK size, OK speed, Good hands.... Like EVERY other WR on our roster. We had no one who is so big or so fast that he's impossible to cover. That was what I felt the biggest need was going into the off season, (see the Seattle game). Johnson is neither but he's so unique in other ways so I was mostly cool with it except for that Third we lose next year... But then they grabbed Ellington and now they have that fast guy with great hands, (3 year starter as South Carolina's point guard in hoops)... I felt much better, and there was still a huge stack of choices for a Draft Ninja to move up with... but every pick came and went without them moving up. Perhaps he's only a Draft Samurai... which is nothing to sneeze at.
But what if I told you that we could get to see ALL the players they drafted who are likely to make the roster, PLUS
All the players that are going to be on the NFI list; PLUS
WR Martavis Bryant - 6'4", 212, 4.43 speed, and a 39.5" VERTICAL LEAP. Yep... 6'4" and jumps 3" higher then Evans... He dropped some balls and may have not been the most mature dude in the class but, hey - we drafted Aaron Lynch.... The Niners got Ellington at 4/6/106... Bryant went at 4/18/118 and got a A or an A+ for value at that spot from nearly all the reviewers... including me...
So, I bet you're wondering how they could have pulled off this amazing feat... Especially since Baalke said that there weren't trade opportunities around.... Well, first off - there were - 10 trades happened on Day 3 and he didn't make any of them... There were even a few during the crucial, (for SF), 4th Rnd. But let's start from the beginning.
SF drafted 5 guys at the end of the day that have virtually no chance of coming out of camp on the 53 man roster... But 2 of those will end up on the NFI and THOSE are GREAT value picks... But of the other 3...1, maybe 2 MIGHT make the PS, So these 3 choices - a 5th, (5/10/150), a very early 6th, (6/4/180), and a late 7th, (7/28/243)... well, I have to think that they could have been put to better use. Remember there was also that 5th for next year that they got from Denver on Friday to work with as well....
To get Bryant they just needed to somehow & buy a mid-4th and those 3 choices would have been a fair price for a pick in that range. It should have been easy for a bone fide "Draft Ninja". The Bengals got a pick in that range,(4/11/111), for their 4th and a 6th. The Bears got a later 4th for a 5th this year and a 5th next year. Those 3 picks should have been enough, but even if they couldn't have gotten it done that "easy" way, it still could have been done.
But how could they have actually pulled off this caper the"hard" way? Nuts & bolts. I'll take it from the moment right after SF drafted Ellington... We already know that the Bengals swapped up from 4/23/123 to 4/11/111 AFTER that by giving Seattle their 6/23/99... That sets the market. The 9ers need to get to 4/18/118 and acquire 4/29/129 or better.
So, first they swap the 9er's 4/29/129 for anything 4/18/118 or above using that 6/4/180, (a BETTER pick than the Bengals paid for a similar move), Maybe Seattle won't deal with SF but someone will, (see below), and they grab Bryant there. We watch in shock & awe as Mel Kuiper has an orgasm on national TV...
THEN, they insert themselves into another low 4th, anything as good or better than 4/29/129 using that 5/10/150 plus the 7/28/243 and a sweetener from next year if necessary The Bears got 4/31/131 AND 7/31/246 from the Broncs for their 5/16/156 and next year's 5th so the Broncos surely would have given it to us for 5/10/150 and a sweetener of some kind, but if the 9ers don't want to risk waiting 2 picks lower for Johnson, it's a safe bet that some lesser team would have given up something a few spots higher for what we had to give...
QED... They pick Johnson and the crowd goes wild... Mel is a bit old to be having 2 Os within a single round, but even that crusty Mike Mayock begins to gush and wax poetic...
And there was no shortage of potential trade partners, (i.e teams with a low total number of picks and NEED more and/or multiple picks in the 4th Round). to work with - both above and below 4/18; to help us make it happen.
Here they are:
TEAMS with a 4th above 4/18: Bills*, Browns, Jags*, Miami*, JETS, NYG, OAK, TENN * & Sea and Teams below 4/18 but above 4/29: Balt, Caro, Browns*, KC, PATS, NO, Philly, SD & even the Bears again... The teams we'd already dealt with this year are marked with an *. Full caps is for the best fits.
Those are only 2 of the ways it could have worked. Had they used one of them, we don't end up with 3 warm bodies that only MIGHT make the PS and, since most other teams don't have a head coach who's best buds with the S. Florida head coach, (who personally vouched for the kid), we have a really good shot of getting Lynch anyway as a UDA... The guy has serious problems. It's not like he left ND because of a coaching change or something. He got HOMESICK. And then, when he got HOME, he really didn't tear it up. His football was really really inconsistent, i.e. he played well when he felt like it... We only see tape of highlites, not lowlites... They took a big risk taking him were they did and there wasn't talk of there being demand for him there at the time at all. At the time, it was called "a reach". There was NOBODY that gave that pick an A... Not that we should care all that much about those grades, but when everybody agrees a pick is an A+ , that says something, and when they don't... that says something too.
If we're going to end up with a player with some problems, I'd rather that it was a 6'4" wideout that runs 4.4 and jumps 39.5"; and who, BTW, has about 10% of the problems that Lynch has... and we'd have still ended up with Ellington; we'd have still ended up with Johnson; we'd have still ended up with Reaser and we'd have still ended up with Millard. And it's not like they couldn't have found another way to keep a 5th to get Lynch if they really HAD to have him. More "future considerations" or, better a player, (LMJ? Patton? Looney?), or 2... The possibilities are endless. Overpayment? Well from the way some folks around here have already inserted Lynch into the HOF, how could it be? All I know is that Bryant can run faster and jump higher than any DB he's likely to face and, in the red zone, where, let's face it, the TD rate hasn't been up to 49er standards lately... they could use that kind of help.
It's not like they did poorly on Day 3... It's just that they had 7 picks and everybody knew that they didn't have close to 7 spots for them. That's why they took the NFI guys. But there WAS a valuable use for those few extras and they didn't find it. They already got A+s and As all around, but adding Bryant to the haul would have knocked them off the charts and quite probably up onto that podium where Rog gives you the trophy, maybe for years to come... Let's hope we don't need him for that.