The San Francisco 49ers spent their 2016 first round picks on defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and offensive guard Joshua Garnett, in hopes of shoring up the trenches. Both have gotten extensive work, and show signs of being solid pieces of the puzzle. They have a lot of work to do heading into year two, but for the most part they seem like steps in the right direction.
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks decided with two games left to take a look back at the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and consider a re-draft. We can’t give a complete assessment for at least two or three years, but year one gives us some insight into how things might proceed.
In re-doing the 2016 NFL Draft, Brooks had the following top five picks:
1. Los Angeles Rams - QB Dak Prescott (prev: Jared Goff)
2. Philadelphia Eagles - QB Carson Wentz (prev: same)
3. San Diego Chargers - DT Joey Bosa (prev: same)
4. Dallas Cowboys - RB Ezekiel Elliott (prev: same)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - DB Jalen Ramsey (prev: same)
At six we start to see more change. Brooks has the Baltimore Ravens selecting Laremy Tunsil over Ronnie Stanley. Then at No. 7, he has the 49ers selecting Goff over Buckner. Here’s what he had to say about the pick:
The 49ers won't return to prominence until they find a franchise QB. Goff would've given Chip Kelly a young spread quarterback to insert into his system.
The Rams did not move Goff into the starting lineup until November 20. If the 49ers had traded away Colin Kaepernick, would Goff have replaced Blaine Gabbert after five weeks? If Kaepernick remained, would we have seen 16 weeks of inactive Goff, or would he have eventually been given an opportunity? It’s not like there were many weapons for him to throw to, but maybe the position would have gotten a shakeup sooner rather than later.
Further down at No. 28, Brooks has the 49ers selecting linebacker Reggie Ragland instead of Garnett. The Buffalo Bills drafted Ragland with the tenth pick of the second round. Here’s what he had to say about the pick:
The 49ers' D never recovered from the loss of Patrick Willis in the middle. The 49ers would be wise to add a "thumper" like Ragland, who missed his rookie season with an injury, to the mix to shore up a porous unit.
Ragland suffered a torn ACL on a non-contact knee injury during training camp. The 49ers do have a long-term need for ILB help. They went into training camp with Ray-Ray Armstrong, Gerald Hodges, and Michael Wilhoite competing to start next to NaVorro Bowman. Armstrong won the job, but then got hurt two weeks into the season. He signed a contract extension recently that could keep him in town through 2018, but the ILB position remains one of need. I suppose it would be fitting for this re-draft if the 49ers ended up drafting another Alabama inside linebacker in Reuben Foster.