clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Draft grades 2016: Experts praise 49ers' top pick, mixed on trade

New, comments

How'd they do?

The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft is in the books and the San Francisco 49ers have come out the other end of it and we're all still alive, it seems. For once, Trent Baalke went with the player who experts expected the 49ers to take and the response has been mostly positive.

On my end, I'm extremely happy with landing a player like DeForest Buckner at No. 7 overall, even if the 49ers don't necessarily need the help. But that wasn't the end of things -- the 49ers moved back up into the first round (making many think they were targeting Connor Cook, which would have been a bad idea from where I'm sitting) to take Stanford guard Joshua Garnett.

Both players will be starters right away, at least in my opinion. Garnett is the best run-blocker in the draft and given the trade, the 49ers basically swapped picks and traded a fourth-rounder to move up and get the guy they wanted. Baalke has extra fourth-round picks in the cushions of his couch. It was a good move.

But what does everyone else think? No, not you lot ... I mean the Internet at large! The experts! They certainly know better than us, because they're experts!

Let's start with SB Nation's Dan Kadar, why don't we? Kadar gave the Buckner pick a B-plus and this is what he had to say:

The expected pick happened as expected. With Buckner and Arik Armstead, the 49ers have an imposing and young defensive front. Buckner fits the system San Francisco is going to run. He's a powerful end who fits the Calais Campbell comparison perfectly.

Aaaand here's where we disagree: Kadar was not a fan of the Garnett trade. He thinks Garnett is a good player, but he believed Garnett would be available in the second round -- a criticism I never like to entertain as someone who is a firm, firm believer in teams going out and getting the player they want where they feel comfortable getting them.

This was one of the real surprise moves of the first round with the 49ers jumping back into the first round. The immediate thought after trading back into the first round was that maybe a quarterback could be the pick. That wasn't the case. Instead, the 49ers get a powerful guard who most thought would be available late in the second round. It does fill a need, however, for a team that gives up a lot of sacks. Still, it's a trade that maybe didn't need to happen.

He gave the Garnett pick a brutal D-plus but hey, at least we got the plus, right? That absolutely counts for something, says I, the straight-D student.

Moving on, the folks over at NFL.com gave the 49ers a B grade for the day, calling Buckner an "excellent pick" and referencing the need with the absence of Justin Smith. They also really like the Garnett pick, but are less a fan of the trade, calling this the "deepest draft in history," which I think is a hilarious blanket statement that makes no sense.

Doug Farrar at SI.com loved the Buckner pick, giving the 49ers an A for that selection. What he had to say about Garnett, who garnered a B, was much more interesting, I thought:

When the 49ers were crushing opponents with Jim Harbaugh's rushing attack, Mike Iupati was decimating opponents with his power at left guard. Garnett projects well as a similar player. He's a pure power guy who may need a bit of adjustment in Chip Kelly's zone scheme. Garnett has the talent to switch, and though it may take time for that to happen, he's going to be a special player over time. It's just a matter of scheme fit and how much you believe it's worth it to spend three picks to trade back into the first round for a guard.

Over at Yahoo! Sports, they weren't fans of the Garnett pick, giving the 49ers a C-minus for a player they suggested needed to "shape his body better." For Buckner, they were quite a bit more positive, giving the team an A-minus for what they called a "no-brainer." We'll finish with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, a guy who many of you think has it out for the 49ers, but who gave them an A-plus for the Buckner pick and a B-minus for the Garnett pick.

Now what say all of you?