Draft Thinking - Resource Allocation for 2014

Hey guys,

After delving into Positional Years to Free Agency (PYTFA), I want to continue this series with a post on Resource Allocation. Simply put, we are trying to figure out how & where Niners have allocated draft, salary cap & other resources on the current roster. By reviewing that allocation, we might get more clues as to where Niners need to invest the upcoming draft capital.

Few things to keep in mind:

1. I am only counting resource allocated at positions based on who is the roster today.(i.e. AJJ doesn't count)

2. Resources allocated in the past do not count unless it was a recent investment (i.e. Boldin's 6th round pick counts)

3. Players drafted highly by other teams do not count for us (i.e. guys like Dorsey, Gabbert & Martin have been low-investments for us even though they were picked high by their respective teams)

4. I am taking numbers from ninercaphell 2014 salary page. Salary cap totals are approximate but reasonably close to actual investment for 2014.

5. We can't limit this to 53 man roster yet, because we have close to 70 players signed. I'll try to stay consistent and only count those guys who made the PYTFA list in the last post.

6. One major missing piece here is the investment in player development based on time & effort invested by coaches & other players on a given guy. (i.e. Okoye doesn't cost us much from draft & salary standpoint, but we can assume that Tomsula & DLine vets would have spent a lot of time with him in the past year).

7. The end-result from this Resource Allocation is not end-all, be-all. It is just one more piece of the overall puzzle for roster building & for predicting what Niners will do next week.

8. As of now, the judgment on level of resource allocation is based on current salary cap of ~$133M.


QB (3) - 3 years of service time remaining (Kap 1 + Gabbert 1 + MBT 1)

Draft Picks = high 2nd + 6th

Cap = $4.3M

Resource Allocation = very low.

Result = we will likely add a QB in the draft either late on day 2 or on day 3.

RB/FB (6) - 14 years of remaining service time (Gore 1 + Hunter 1 + LMJ 2 + Lattimore 4 + Hampton 2 + Miller 4)

Draft Picks = 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 4th, and 7th

Cap = $10.3M

Resource Allocation = Fairly high, but considering that we are a power running team that relies on RBs, it makes sense to some degree. OTOH, given the direction the league is heading, investing too much on RBs puts the team at a relative disadvantage.

Result = Adding one RB in the mid-rounds will increase draft pick investment in 2014, but bring better balance to our overall resource allocation in 2015 & beyond when Gore departs.

TE (3) - 9 years of remaining service time (VD 2 + Vance 3 + Celek 1 + Carrier 2)

Draft Picks = high 1st, and a 2nd.

Cap = $9.3M

Resource Allocation = fairly high, but given how often we use 2 TEs sets and the nature of our blocking schemes, it makes sense to keep this position stocked.

Result = We will very likely add a TE on day 3 and/or find one to develop via UDFA. Neither Celek nor Carrier should feel that their roster spot is secure.

WRs (5-6) - 9 years of remaining service time (Crabtree 1 + Boldin 2 + Patton 3 + Baldwin 1 + Osgood 1 + Lloyd 1 + some future-reserve guys

Draft Picks = high 1st, low 4th, 6th (and swap of AJJ for Baldwin which doesn't really count as investment)

Cap = $11.7M

Resource Allocation = somewhat low. This figure would be high if we count the AJJ fiasco. But since he is not on the roster anymore, we have to move past counting him.

Result = At least one pick on day 1 or day 2, and possibly a 2nd pick on day 3. We will need to bring as many as 11-12 guys to Training Camp and need to make sure that there are at least 3-4 guys under contract for 2015 & beyond in order to have some future stability.

OLine (8) - 27 years of remaining service time (Staley 4 + Boone 2 + Kilgore 4 + Iupati 1 + A Davis 6 + Martin 2 + Looney 2 + Snyder 1 + Seymour 2 + Bykowski 3 + some PS guys)

Draft Picks = late 1st, 4th, mid 1st, high 1st, conditional 7th, 4th, 7th. WOW!!!

Cap = $23M

Resource Allocation = very high. Our investment in the OLine is easily amongst the highest on the team (even accounting for need of 10 guys) and it has resulted in us having one of the top OLine in the league. That elite status is obviously hard to maintain if we want to allocate more money to our QB. This balance between QB & OLine has happened with virtually every team that has an elite/expensive QB. And other than NE, i can't remember any other team who invests a high amount of resources at both QB & OL. At some point, the balance will need to shift and we will need to develop more younger, cheaper players which may or may not affect the performance of this unit.

Result = We simply should not invest more precious resources at this position. I can see a draft pick late on day 2 or on day 3 for future planning purposes, but I can't envision a scenario where we draft a C in the 2nd round as some mock drafts have predicted in the past 2 months.

Special Teams

K, P and LS = 8 years of remaining service time. Other than K, we are fine long-term and there is not much to say. (unless Dawson pulls an Akers in year 2).

Resource Allocation = not a significant investment in picks, but we are paying our P & K premium salaries.

Result = We don't need to draft a specialist in 2014, but at some point, we need to develop a cheaper option at Kicker. In the past 3 years since Harbaalke era began, we have spent ~10M+ in cap room on Akers & Dawson. A 4th round draft pick like Legatron would have cost ~3M in comparison.

KR/PR = We can actually count LMJ here since that is his only role at this point. Having a late 2nd round pick as your primary returner -- who is performing at barely above average level -- feels like over-investment to me. Even still, I think this is a huge area of improvement for our team.

Result = consider drafting a WR or CB who is dynamic returner on day 2 or day 3.


DE/DT - 10 years of remaining service time (Justin 1-2 + RayMac 2 + TJE 2 + Dobbs 1 + Tank 3)

Draft Picks = 3rd, and high 2nd.

Cap = $15.5M

Resource Allocation = Because Justin is not our draft pick, the draft pick investment is fairly moderage, but the salary cap investment is fairly high. However, 80% of the cap room is taken by our 2 long-time veterans, and could be down to 0% in 1-2 years. So, it is difficult to say that this is a bad scenario long-term. Most teams usually invest at least one first round pick on their DE/DT but we have taken a slightly different strategy.

IMO, investing a high pick in this area that can be an impactful starter makes sense from a Resource Allocation standpoint for 2015 & beyond.

Result = Consider adding 1 more player to this group who has the ability to start and make big impact.

NT/DT - 6 years of remaining service time (Dorsey 1 + Ian 2 + Dial 3 + Purcell on PS)

Draft Picks = late 5th rounder.

Cap = $6M

Resource Allocation = fairly low on picks, but reasonable on salary cap. I'd love for Niners to figure out a way to reduce Dorsey's $3.8M cap figure.

IMO, if we draft a DE/DT within the first 2 rounds, and if Ian & Dial are ready to take on a bigger role, we might see Niners trying to restructure or trade Dorsey in late August. This also depends on Tank's health because if he can't take on a bigger role in the DL rotation, then we can't afford to lose a valuable guy like Dorsey.

Result = No picks, but may be another UDFA to compete with Purcell and others to be on the Opportunity Squad and earn a role for 2015.

ILB - 12 years of remaining service time (Willis 3 + Bowman 5 + Wilhoite 1 + Moody 3)

Draft Picks = high 1st, 3rd, 5th

Cap = $15M

Resource Allocation = fairly high. Given the quality of 52 and 53, this makes a lot of sense. We have invested a significant amount of cap resources on the 2 all-world starters. Even from draft pick standpoint, our high investment has definitely paid off.

Result = we all agree that given the injury to 53, we need a better back-up plan for 2014, and also long-term in case Wilhoite is not extended. So, a draft pick late on day 2 or on day 3 makes sense.

OLB - 10 years of remaining service time (Aldon 1-2 + Brooks 4 + Skuta 1 + Lemonier 3)

Draft Picks = Top-10 pick, and a 3rd.

Cap = $13.5M

Resource Allocation = Since the earlier post written last week, we have on change in analysis. Aldon's 5th year option was picked up by the Niners which suggests that Aldon will be around for a little while as long as he doesn't get into new trouble. This changes the equation slightly in that an OLB is not as big of a need right away.

However, we still need to add one more pass rusher to plan for the future.

Result = a pass rusher at either OLB or DE in round 1 or 2. If early rounds don't cooperate, then it could be a 3rd rounder like Lemonier was last year.

Safety - 12 years of remaining service time (Reid 3-4 + Bethea 4 + Dahl 2 + Spillman 1 + Ventrone 1)

Draft Picks = mid-1st. That is it.

Cap = $8.6M

Resource Allocation = Fairly low. We have only spent 1 draft pick on our current guys, and even the cap spending is relatively low with 3 low salary guys.

Result = It is perfectly reasonable to expect Niners to use one of their top-7 picks on a Safety. This guy should be good enough to claim a back-up spot right away, and have the ability to be a starter down the road. We are one play away from relying on Dahl or Spillman to be our starter. That does not inspire confidence.

CBs - 10 years of remaining service time (Brock 4 + Culliver 1 + Cox 1 + Wright 1 + Cook 1 + Morris 2)

Draft Picks = a 3rd rounder. That is it.

Cap = $6.2M (plus prorated hits from Carlos Rogers' cut)

Resource Allocation = very low. In terms of draft picks, we have spent only ONE 3rd round pick on this position group. In terms of cap room, we are also very low when considering how important CBs are in this passing league. Furthermore, with Culliver's long-term future in jeopardy, we may end up with 0 draft picks at CB group (not counting new guys added next week).

It is a no-brainer that Niners will invest more draft resources on this group next week.

Result = We could see as many as 2 draft picks & an UDFA on this group.

To summarize Resource Allocation:

QB - Low

RB - Medium

TE - High

WR -Low

OL - High

DLine - Medium

ILB - High

OLB - Medium

Safety - Low

CB - Low

Ahhh, this is too many words already.

I'll stop here and write a final post over the weekend with a prioritized draft needs & prediction for our picks.

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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