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A look at the result of Trent Baalke’s draft picks

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61 picks. How bad was it really?

The San Francisco 49ers made deal with the Detroit Lions, trading Eli Harold for a seventh round pick. It marks yet another departure from the well of former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke’s draft picks. Only a few picks remain with the team, most are either on practice squads or outright out of the league.

Actually, a lot have had this effect.

It’s well known Baalke had difficulty finding talent throughout the draft. It was well apparent most of his choices simply did not work out, but what about some hard data?

Below, following this post I compiled a spreadsheet of every Baalke draft pick during his tenure as general manager. The results are even more disturbing than I thought they would be. While some of the 2011 picks are released/retired/out of the league, it’s the later picks that really show what’s been going on. Baalke made 61 picks total.

41 percent of those picks (26) are either free agents or retired as of this writing. That means with the exception of those few retirements, not only did they not fit in with the 49ers, they didn’t fit in anywhere.

Going a bit further, I looked at how many of those 61 picks were outright released by the 49ers. Full disclosure: when the 49ers waived a player, I counted it as a release. If the player wound up on the practice squad, I tried my best to make sure this was documented as a ‘release’ (Kaleb Ramsey is listed as a retirement). Something to keep in mind with this data.

With that in mind, the number rounds out to 35. 35 players or 57 percent of all of Trent Baalke’s draft picks either were released by the team or retired during their time with the 49ers.

Over half.

Note, in the data below, I have free agency listed as an option, however I didn’t dive too far into it as free agency is an entirely different beast.

So about that Eli Harold trade. That trade spurned curiosity into all of this, and the last question is what value Baalke was able to get from his picks in trades. Of his 61 picks, ten of those turned into trades. Only three were even trades; A.J. Jenkins for Jon Baldwin, Brandon Thomas for Jeremy Kerley (actually, in my opinion the 49ers won that trade, but we won’t go into that), and Cam Thomas (taken in the seventh round) for a seventh round pick.

There was only one trade the 49ers actually won and that was Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. Even that’s up for debate since the 49ers had to give an additional pick in return for the Patriots third rounder. Six of the other trades were for lower value. Lower value I identified as a certain round pick going for a lower round, IE, a 3rd round pick being traded to get a seventh back.

The results are actually damning and display why exactly Trent Baalke was fired. We can say his picks were bad or that his personality didn’t work, but with this data right here if over half of your draft picks are released by the team, you simply cannot function in the NFL. It’s amazing how quickly John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan turned things around despite this. One bad draft is one thing, but Baalke has drafts (plural) where a majority of players that are no longer affiliated with the team or any team.

The spreadsheet I made is below.

Thanks, Baalke.

Trent Baalke’s Draft Picks

Draft Year Player Round Taken Departure Result Current Status
Draft Year Player Round Taken Departure Result Current Status
2011 Aldon Smith 1 Released FA
2011 Colin Kaepernick 2 Opted out FA
2011 Chris Culliver 3 FA FA
2011 Kendall Hunter 4 Released FA
2011 Daniel Kilgore 5 Trade (7th) Miami Dolphins
2011 Ronald Johnson 6 Released FA
2011 Colin Joines 6 Trade (7th) Carolina Panthers
2011 Bruce Miller 7 Released FA
2011 Mike Person 7 Released On 49ers 90-man roster
2011 Curtis Holcomb 7 Released Jacksonville Jaguars
2012 A.J. Jenkins 1 Trade (player) FA
2012 LaMichael James 2 Released FA
2012 Joe Looney 4 Released Dallas Cowboys
2012 Darius Fleming 5 Released FA
2012 Trenton Robinson 6 Released FA
2012 Jason Slowey 6 Released FA
2012 Cam Johnson 7 Trade (7th) Detroit Lions
2013 Eric Reid 1 FA FA
2013 Tank Carradine 2 FA Oakland Raiders
2013 Vance McDonald 2 Trade (4th) Pittsburgh Steelers
2013 Corey Lemonier 3 Released Free Agent
2013 Quinton Paton 4 FA FA
2013 Marcus Lattimore 4 Retired Retired
2013 Quinton Dial 5 Released Green Bay Packers
2013 Nick Moody 6 Released FA
2013 B.J. Daniels 7 Released FA
2013 Carter Bykowski 7 Released (practice squad) Retired
2013 Marcus Cooper 7 Released Chicago Bears
2014 Jimmie Ward 1 On Team On Team
2014 Carlos Hyde 2 FA Cleveland Browns
2014 Marcus Martin 3 Released Dallas Cowboys
2014 Chris Borland 3 Retired Retired
2014 Brandon Thomas 3 Trade (Player) FA
2014 Bruce Ellington 4 Released Houston Texans
2014 Dontae Johnson 4 FA Seattle Seahawks
2014 Aaron Lynch 5 FA Chicago Bears
2014 Keith Reaser 5 Released Kansas City Chiefs
2014 Kenneth Acker 6 Traded (7th) Jacksonville Jaguars
2014 Kaleb Ramsey 7 Retired Retired
2014 Trey Millard 7 Released Kansas City Chiefs
2015 Arik Armstead 1 On Team On Team
2015 Jaquiski Tartt 2 On Team On Team
2015 Eli Harold 3 Traded (7th) Detroit Lions
2015 Blake Bell 4 Released FA
2015 Mike Davis 4 Released Seattle Seahawks
2015 DeAndre Smelter 4 Released Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Bradley Pinion 5 On Team FS
2015 Ian Silberman 6 Released Oakland Raiders
2015 Trenton Brown 7 Traded (3rd) New England Patriots
2015 Rory Anderson 7 Released FA
2015 DeForest Buckner 1 On Team On Team
2016 Joshua Garnett 1 On Team On Team
2016 Will Redmond 3 Released Kansas City Chiefs
2016 Rashard Robinson 4 Traded(5th) New York Jets
2016 Ronald Blair 5 On Team On Team
2016 John Theus 5 Released Retired
2016 Fahn Cooper 5 Released FA
2016 Jeff Driskel 6 Released Cincinnati Bengals
2016 Kelvin Taylor 6 Released FA
2016 Aaron Burbridge 6 On Team On Team
2016 Prince Charles Iworah 7 Released Washington