clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Draft grades 2016: 49ers get mixed reception among experts

New, comments

I like the 49ers' draft haul. But what do the experts think?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

The San Francisco 49ers scored big on the first day of the NFL Draft by my estimation, and on the ensuing days they acquired some very interesting prospects. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the DeForest Buckner, Joshua Garnett, John Theus and Jeff Driskel picks and I really only take issue with the Will Redmond pick.

That's primarily due to his torn ACL and the fact that I'm getting really tired of Trent Baalke's strategy when thus far it hasn't proven effective regardless of his "win some, lose some" statement. That said, I'm willing to be swayed on Redmond, especially if he actually will be ready to compete this offseason and isn't actually a red shirt candidate, especially in the third round.

Buckner is great and Garnett is punishing and should become the team's best run blocker quickly. I think Driskel fits well in a Chip Kelly offense and has a high ceiling. The rest of the guys are interesting at face value but personally I don't feel confident giving opinions on them until I do some more research and take a look at the tape.

But there's no shortage of NFL Draft experts out there who are more than happy to give you opinions, whether they're intimately familiar with a prospect or not (they're not, I promise you). We're going to take a look at some of the grades given out by the major publications and get some thoughts from said experts.

We'll start with Dan Kadar of SB Nation. He loved the Buckner pick and seemed OK with some of the other selections, but he gave the Garnett pick a D-plus and it's clear that brought the total down quite a bit, as he gave the 49ers a C-plus grade.

The 49ers took a lot of steps in replenishing their roster with this year's draft. They started things out in Chip Kelly's first season with a familiar face for him in defensive end DeForest Buckner. It's hard to bet against his power and size up front. They moved back into the first round to take Garnett, and gave up a steep price for him. If he turns into a good starter, though, it won't matter as much. Will Redmond in the third round is the cornerback the 49ers need. He's had some injury issues, but he can make plays. If Rashard Robinson's talent can be turned into something, the 49ers got an excellent value with the No. 133 pick. He's a risk because of off-field issues, but he has size and athleticism that can't be taught. The 49ers got a good value in the fifth round with defensive end Ronald Blair. He's a quick and powerful player who San Francisco could push out to linebacker. The 49ers waited a while to target the position, but got a solid quarterback in Jeff Driskel. He has good pure physical tools.

Over at ESPN, they gave the 49ers a "thumbs down," suggesting that the 49ers screwed up by not drafting an inside linebacker, took a guard when the position was "addressed" in free agency despite the fact that Zane Beadles cannot play two guard spots and ultimately called the draft "strange." Needless to say, I disagree.

The folks over at Pro Football Focus, those who watch every snap and give pointless rankings based on said viewing (and very helpful stats that are now unavailable to folk like me), thought the 49ers had a good draft overall, giving them a B-plus. They said the Buckner pick was one of the best in the draft and said Garnett should be a "good fit" for Kelly. They are also fans of Redmond, and had plenty to say about Day 3 as well.

Despite being a big fan of the 49ers' moves after Day 1, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gave them a C grade for the full draft, and called the trade up for Garnett "questionable." He said that Redmond is risky for his ACL injury and that Rashard Robinson "could be a boom pick" given his talent. Robinson's biggest concern was plenty of off-field issues.

Doug Farrar and Chris Burke of were big fans of the 49ers' draft overall, giving them an A-minus and calling the Taylor pick notable, which was surprising for me. Read what Farrar had to say:

49ers GM Trent Baalke must have been grinning ear-to-ear when the Chargers reached on Joey Bosa at No. 3, leaving DeForest Buckner on the board. Buckner is the best defensive lineman in this class, and his versatility will add a ton to San Francisco's defense. And, the trade back into the first round to nab Stanford guard Josh Garnett will pay great dividends as long as Garnett can get the knack of Chip Kelly's preference for quicker, zone-based guards. Garnett is more of an agile mauler. Third-round cornerback Will Redmond would have gone higher in this draft based on pure talent, but injuries got in the way. LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson doesn't have a ton of starts either, but Baalke has never been shy about betting on upside. Louisiana Tech QB Jeff Driskel looked horrid at Florida, but he impressed after his transfer to Louisiana Tech. Florida running back Kelvin Taylor, the son of Fred Taylor, has the quickest feet of any back in this class. Watch out also for seventh-round cornerback Prince Charles Iworah, who looked like a shutdown guy against lesser competition. The 49ers have a nice combination of potential and first-day starters here.​

Lastly, over at they gave the 49ers an overall grade of B-plus, which was made up of a B for Day 1, a B-plus for Day 2 and an A for Day 3. They called Robinson's athleticism "worth the gamble," and said the Blair pick was "great value."

What say you lot?