The 2017 NFL Combine gets going in just under two weeks, and so all the draft analysts are getting early 2017 NFL mock drafts together. Last week, Todd McShay released his latest mock draft. His post-Super Bowl mock draft had the San Francisco 49ers selecting Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson with the second overall pick. Earlier this week, Mel Kiper released his own mock draft 2.0. He had the 49ers picking North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Quarterback is an important position for the 49ers, and a lot of mock drafts will continue having the 49ers select one at No. 2. We are seeing some mocks consider defensive options, and Mike Williams is a name occasionally popping up. The question now is how accurate they will prove to be.
Over the past few weeks, several of our fellow NFL blogs here at SB Nation have taken a look at how their teams would have fared if they had listened to Mel Kiper and Todd McShay over the past seven years with respect to the NFL Draft. I thought, why not take a look at it ourselves?
For the exercise, we’re going to look at the San Francisco 49ers actual first-round draft picks and the final mock drafts of both Kiper and McShay. We will use the “Approximate Value” statistic from Pro Football Reference to compare the performances. PFR attempts to attach a single number to every player who has been in the NFL since 1960 to compare across eras. It’s not perfect, but it gives us something to start with for comparisons.
The 49ers have made nine picks over the past seven years. They had eight first round picks at their disposal, and they made a move this past year to get into the first round for a second pick (Joshua Garnett). Kiper and McShay’s mocks do not reflect that trade, so for the purposes of this, I am not including Garnett.
Here are the 49ers’ eight draft draft picks from 2010-2016, again without Garnett. That is followed by Mel Kiper’s picks, and then Todd McShay’s picks. The number in parenthesis is the player’s Approximate Value. I have totaled it up at the bottom for the 49ers picks, Kiper’s picks, and McShay’s picks.
2010-16 NFL Draft: 49ers, Mel Kiper, Todd McShay
|2010||OT Anthony Davis (34)||OT Bryan Bulaga (48)||QB Jimmy Clausen (3)|
|2010||OG Mike Iupati (47)||CB Joe Haden (45)||CB Joe Haden (45)|
|2011||DE Aldon Smith (26)||QB Blaine Gabbert (13)||QB Blaine Gabbert (13)|
|2012||WR A.J. Jenkins (2)||OG Kevin Zeitler (32)||OG Kevin Zeitler (32)|
|2013||FS Eric Reid (24)||FS Eric Reid (24)||FS Eric Reid (24)|
|2014||DB Jimmie Ward (8)||WR Cody Latimer (1)||WR Odell Beckham Jr (34)|
|2015||DT Arik Armstead (3)||RB Todd Gurley (12)||DT Arik Armstead (3)|
|2016||DT DeForest Buckner (7)||Laremy Tunsil (6)||DT DeForest Buckner (7)|
Both Kiper and McShay put together better drafts from a career AV angle. It is worth noting, Mike Iupati and Aldon Smith were each named all-pro once, while none of Kiper or McShay’s picks have earned All-Pro nods. That is not exactly a great comparison since McShay’s pick of Odell Beckham, Jr. would have been a great pick even without an All Pro.
2010 NFL Draft
Kiper and McShay were both big on Joe Haden to the 49ers back in 2010. It is worth noting Haden went at No. 7, so he was unavailable even when the 49ers traded up to No. 11. Bryan Bulaga went No. 23, while Jimmy Clausen went No. 48, one spot ahead of the 49ers in the second round. The 49ers selected Mays with pick No. 49.
2011 NFL Draft
Blaine Gabbert was a popular mock draft pick, and Aldon Smith caught most people by surprise. Gabbert ended up going three picks after Smith. McShay had the 49ers going quarterback two straight years, so that obviously removes some level of comparison with this. After all, if the 49ers spent a first round pick on a quarterback, they would not do it again the next year. In this case in the 2011 draft, the 49ers drafted Colin Kaepernick in the second round.
2012 NFL Draft
In 2012, Kevin Zeitler was another popular mock draft pick. Adam Snyder had started at right guard in 2011, and left as a free agent in the offseason. Most people figured they needed a replacement, but the 49ers found it by promoting Alex Boone into the role. And instead, they spent their first round pick on A.J. Jenkins. Zeitler went three picks ahead of the 49ers.
2014 NFL Draft
McShay gets the big edge with his Odell Beckham Jr. pick. He ended up going No. 12 to the New York Giants. Cody Latimer went 56th overall in the second round. The 49ers ended up drafting a wide receiver in the fourth round when they picked Bruce Ellington.
2015 NFL Draft
It would have been interesting to see the 49ers draft Todd Gurley to pair with Carlos Hyde. Gurley went tenth overall, five spots ahead of the 49ers pick. San Francisco ended up drafting a running back in the fourth round when they grabbed Mike Davis.
2016 NFL Draft
The 49ers had a chance at Laremy Tunsil, watching him slip down following the video with him and the gas mask with marijuana. However, he slipped and the 49ers went with DeForest Buckner. The team started Trenton Brown opposite Joe Staley. They also drafted Joshua Garnett and signed Zane Beadles to play the two guard positions.