The San Francisco 49ers decision to hire Chip Kelly has brought about plenty of discussion regarding the roster and the dynamic between Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke. We will spend a lot of this offseason figuring out what exactly Chip Kelly means for this offense, but in the meantime, there are plenty of opinions.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr had some thoughts on the topic in a conference call on Thursday. He posted his first 2016 NFL mock draft, and that led to ESPN setting up a call to discuss the many draft prospects. You can listen to the conference call here, and he gets to the 49ers at the 17-minute mark.
He does not expect much in the way of change in the drafting process, given that Trent Baalke is the clear-cut GM. I do think Baalke has had his share of solid moments in the draft, but I also think Kiper sort of over-sold Baalke in some instances. His last two drafts are showing promise, but there's obviously work to do. 2013 has Eric Reid and Quinton Dial as the biggest contributors, with Quinton Patton showing at least some signs of life late in the season. 2012 was a disaster, and 2011 is a mixed bag with a lot of the departures.
Here's a transcript of Kiper's comments when asked what Chip Kelly's hiring means for the 49ers in the draft:
"I don't think it changes much. Trent Baalke's gonna handle the draft and Chip's gonna coach the football team. And they have some decisions to make at some positions, some key positions, quarterback being the main one. Kapernick showed he could get a team to a Super Bowl not that long ago. Now, all of a sudden, he has a coach that has not had that mobile quarterback yet. The quarterbacks that Chip's had haven't been able to bring the dimension that Colin Kaepernick does.
"Wide receiver, I gave them Laquon Treadwell, a big receiver with great hands, could be a heck of an addition to that football team. Blake Bell continues to develop at tight end, they got themselves a nice young player there. They drafted pretty well, look at the guys they brought in. A lot of those draft choices of the 49ers showed promise, which is typical of Trent Baalke. This team has talent. This team, just needs, if Chip Kelly can get Kaepernick back to the way he was, Armstead looked really good. Tartt, Harold, Bell, I mean you go right down the line, Pinion, the punter, they got a lot of guys via the draft and they do every year.
"To me, if Kelly can straighten things out with Kaepernick and get him back to the way he was, this team could catapult way back up the ranks and be a contender again."