Were you honestly expecting the San Francisco 49ers to move up in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft? Of course you weren't -- that's not really Trent Baalke's deal, as Jed York noted via Twitter during the draft. But it also wasn't surprising to see the 49ers move down, dropping a couple spots and ultimately selecting former Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead at No. 17.
Along the way, they picked up a fourth-round pick in this year's draft -- No. 117 overall -- and a fifth-round pick in 2015. That aspect of the trade is great, I think. I'm typically wary of teams trading down just a couple spots, because they usually have a guy they want in mind and they're essentially gambling that he will still be there. I'm very much a "get your guy now" kind of man, but I suppose that's why I'm not an NFL general manager.
Armstead was probably Baalke's guy all along (and, notably, he was probably Jim Tomsula's guy all along). Just from following along on Twitter I'm pretty sure more people were negative on the pick than positive, but that's not necessarily reflected in the various draft grades. Personally -- I like Armstead and think he has a lot of upside -- the pre-draft story around him and what he can do in the future reminds me a lot of what we said about Aldon Smith prior to drafting him.
That said, it wasn't exactly a sexy pick, right? It seems more like a future move than a now move, and that has a lot of people bummed out. I'm not sure if Armstead will get much playing time as a rookie and that's always disappointing given we want the 49ers to be competitive not later, but now.
But anyway -- back to draft grades! A few notables around the Internet have already chimed in giving the 49ers various grades. To start, I'll go in-house with Dan Kadar of SB Nation, who ultimately gave the 49ers a "C-" grade:
This is a gamble. Stats can be overrated, but you can't ignore the fact that Armstead had just four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in three seasons. Flatly stated, he was invisible in a lot of games for Oregon. Armstead can look dominant at times but the 49ers are rolling with a big project here.
Other experts weren't quite so convinced that Armstead is such a big gamble, such as Doug Farrar of SI.com. Farrar gave the pick a "B-," though he's more convinced that the 49ers are "thinking of rebuilding over multiple seasons," and that Armstead "could be overwhelmed early on at the NFL level."
Pete Prisco over at CBS Sports gave the 49ers a "B+," which surprised me because Prisco is typically very critical of San Francisco. He asked whether or not Armstead can reach his potential at the next level, and went on to say that he thought so, which is a solid endorsement. NFL.com gave the 49ers the best grade yet, with an "A," though they seem more into the fact that the 49ers traded down and gathered draft picks rather than Armstead himself.
I was kind of surprised to see the grades this positive. Again, it's not that Armstead isn't worth them, it just doesn't seem like a "now" pick, but maybe that's because we as 49ers fans feel more confidence in the team's present abilities? I know a lot of you didn't like the pick but hey, if you had to give the whole thing a grade -- I think it's fair to count the trade -- then let's here it in the comments.
Fooch's update: Here is the early NN grade vote from immediately after the pick.