There’s a lot of post-draft analysis going on and it will continue until training camp gets going in a few months. As you know, the best of comments come from those under anonymity.
And we’ve found just that. ESPN’s Mike Sando got some insider sources to name one steal of each round. The sources are unnamed but they include “general managers, former GMs and prominent evaluators who have interviewed for GM jobs, plus evaluates with experience in other areas.”
Each of Sando’s insiders were tasked with a round to identify a potential steal. In the seventh round, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James was seen as the steal of the round:
NFL teams selected 910 players in seventh rounds over the 20 drafts from 1998 to 2007. Fifteen have been named to a Pro Bowl, and seven of those were special-teamers. James, the 30th of 33 wide receivers selected in this class, had a broken collarbone in 2017 and also said he might join NFL protesters during the national anthem.
”I’m not saying he is going to be Antonio Brown,” the insider responsible for the seventh round said, “but he has the most potential in this draft to be that late-round gem, special-teams guy, slot receiver, do-anything guy. Kyle Shanahan will be creative with him, and I think he will greatly benefit being in their system. He didn’t have a lot of film this year, but go back and watch his junior year; he was really good. He was not at any all-star game or anything like that.”
Some analysts were surprised Richie James lasted as long as he did in the draft, but that same story has been said for wide receivers like Quinton Patton. If you recall, Patton had a second round grade, was taken by the 49ers in the fourth, and didn’t pan out as some would hope. Given James’ fall, one has to hope the 49ers saw something no one else did rather than ignore what everyone else didn’t.
James has speed put up points for Middle Tennessee State but if he can mimic that production at the pro level, the 49ers got a steal in the 7th round.