The NFL Draft has concluded and there have been winners and losers. We’ve looked at teams and other analyses for the San Francisco 49ers, but we never looked at their own roster’s winners and loser. There are some definite veteran winners from the draft, and of course some veterans lost in the draft.
Today, we’ll go on a positive. Let’s look at the veteran winners.
The 49ers have Joshua Garnett, Laken Tomlinson, and Jonathan Cooper fighting it out for spots on both sides of recently acquired free agent Weston Richburg. Erik Magnuson will compete as well, but is likely looking at primarily a utility role. Those three names aren’t exactly be-all, end-all as far as the offensive line is concerned. Garnett has lost weight and has a make-it or break-it season on his shoulders. Tomlinson and Cooper both have had issues with prior teams before coming to the 49ers. All of this screams the 49ers should draft a guard, but none were taken on draft day. Either the 49ers didn’t see anything they liked from the position or they made a statement that they were satisfied with what they had. Either way, the three guards don’t have a fourth or fifth joining them in a competition.
Remember how the 49ers needed a pass rusher? Remember how the pass rush would get to the opposing quarterback in *just a second too late* far too often? All signs pointed to grabbing someone who could cure these woes. Instead, the 49ers didn’t draft a single edge rusher. You could probably copy everything I said about guards and statements and paste it here, because the same thing applies: The 49ers are fine with what they have for edge-rushers. They re-signed Cassius Marsh and signed Jeremiah Attaochu in the offseason, and give the indication they are fine with what they have. Whether that group is adequate is yet to be determined, but the current crop of edge rushers won this draft simply because they won’t be upstaged by some promising rookie.
I asked what the status of Trent Taylor was a few weeks ago to see what everyone thought. My take? Dante Pettis has come to relieve him of punt return duties so he can focus entirely on the slot. This is not an uncommon thing for teams to pull players off special teams duty so they can focus completely on the offense. Even Wes Welker (who many have made comparisons of) was more than willing to be taken off of punt return duty. If Pettis isn’t returning punts, Richie James is. Either way, Trent Taylor will be working with Jimmy G.
In the first round, the 49ers took the best tackle in the draft. Sure, Trent Brown was good, but Mike McGlinchey offers long-term protection on the right side and will help keep Garoppolo on his feet.
Moving on, the 49ers drafted Pettis and James, two new toys that Jimmy G will get to play with when the 49ers hit the field for 2018. Pettis could evolve into a huge threat for the 49ers while James offers another choice for some slot play outside of Trent Taylor. Garoppolo has Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin as well waiting for a full season with the 49ers quarterback.
The lesson here: You can never give Jimmy G enough toys.
What veterans do you think won the 2018 NFL Draft?