One of the truisms of the offseason: it's Trent Baalke's team. Jim Harbaugh's departure, it seems to suggest, securely puts the power in Baalke's hands. It's his ship to sink or sail. And while there is certainly some truth to this - perhaps even a lot of truth to it - that sort of narrative is a bit too neat and tidy. The coaching staff does, obviously, have a big impact on how will the team plays. Additionally, Jed York seems to enjoy meddling.
That said, if there's truly one area in which Baalke does have total control, it's roster construction. After inheriting his position from Scot McCloughan, Baalke has built off of his predecessor's success, drafting talented players. A fun, but totally unscientific way, to measure this is with Pro Bowl appearances; and wouldn't you know, Jim Reineking at NFL.com has recently compiled a list of the top ten (well, fourteen - there are a lot of ties) teams who have drafted the most Pro Bowl players since 2005. The 49ers, with 11 Pro Bowlers, come in second place, trailing the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here's what Reineking had to say:
2 (tie). San Francisco 49ers -- 11
Pro Bowl players drafted: Eric Reid (2013), Aldon Smith (2011), Mike Iupati (2010), NaVorro Bowman (2010), Patrick Willis (2007), Joe Staley (2007), Dashon Goldson (2007), Vernon Davis (2006), Michael Robinson (2006), Alex Smith (2005), Frank Gore (2005).
The skinny: The 49ers built a Super Bowl contender through the draft, only to see it dismantled during one of the most bizarre offseasons a team has encountered in recent memory. Willis was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, but -- at 30 years old -- opted to retire from the game while still in the prime of his career. Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, but it wasn't until 2013 as a member of the Chiefs that he became a Pro Bowl pick.
For better or worse, if this is in fact Baalke's team, then the team will need to rely upon drafting well on a consistent basis. Funnily enough, Reineking also wrote a couple of other lists ranking the five best drafts in the last decade and the five worst. The 2011 Niner draft and the 2005 show up as "also considered" on the best list. And, surprise, the 2012 draft is number four on the worst list.