The San Francisco 49ers walked away with 11 rookies from the 2016 NFL Draft, and grades have been a mixed bag thus far. We really can't get a full handle on things for at least two or three years at the earliest, but that doesn't stop us from taking a look only a couple days removed from the event.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his annual team-by-team grades, and he gave the 49ers a C. In determining his grades, he looks at three things: 1) How much overall talent did a team add, based on board position? 2) How effectively did they address key personnel voids? 3) How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?
He listed the 49ers top needs as linebacker, offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback and quarterback. Opinions of team needs will vary plenty. When we voted on needs earlier this month, offensive line filled two of the top three spots. Quarterback was No. 2, inside linebacker No. 4, defensive line No. 5, and outside linebacker No. 6.
Here is what Kiper had to say about the picks. Below that I've listed out the picks again.
I'm a fan of DeForest Buckner, but you expect to get a top-10 player if you're drafting in the top 10, and I thought the draft was just average thereafter. They used valuable draft assets to get Joshua Garnett, a player they clearly coveted, but that's a reach on my board. After that, I like the addition of Ronald Blair in the fifth round, but they did nothing at linebacker, and Jeff Driskel is a true project at quarterback. As well, I'm surprised they didn't get a wide receiver earlier than Aaron Burbridge in sixth round. There's a clear emphasis on finding some depth at cornerback and perhaps some developmental options on the offensive line, but even with the addition of two likely starters in Buckner and Garnett, this class was a bit disappointing based on the number of draft picks they had.
1 (7) DeForest Buckner, DT, Oregon
1 (28). Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford
3 (5) Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
4 (35). Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU
5 (3). Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian State
5 (6). John Theus, OT, Georgia
5 (35). Fahn Cooper, OT, Ole Miss
6 (32). Jeff Driskel, QB, Louisiana Tech
6 (36). Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
6 (38). Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State
7 (28). Prince Charles Iworah, CB, Western Kentucky