Every year around draft time we like to look at the ghosts of drafts past with the San Francisco 49ers and reflect on the players allocated from the draft. We luckily have video of each draft thanks to YouTube poster and 49ers fan Marvin49. We’ll be looking at every year up to 2018. Today it’s 2015.
It’s looking more and more like 2015 may have been Trent Baalke’s best draft ever if you forget about the 2011 debacle. Well, I would say thaat if not for the 2018 season rolling around and everyone getting injured. Again.
The 49ers had just “mutually parted ways” with head coach Jim Harbaugh and promoted defensive line coordinator Jim Tomsula to head coach. The drama surrounding the promotion was nowhere near the drama that plagued the 2014 season and Jim Harbaugh’s eventual departure.
Trent Baalke has a knack for some bad draft picks, and this draft certainly has some whiffs, but it also has some productive players that still play for the 49ers. Things started with the first pick of Arik Armstead out of Oregon. A predictable pick, Armstead was still seen as inconsistent but with a high ceiling. He still plays on the 49ers, but may have stumbled a bit. The 49ers picked up his fifth-year option last year, but it’s unknown what his future holds, especially with the acquisition of Dee Ford.
In the second round, the 49ers took Jaquiski Tartt, a small-school safety playing out of Samford. Tartt came in for the injured Antoine Bethea and scored his only interception of the season against Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Tartt got better but in 2019, which was thought to be where he had the position on lockdown, he got injured. His position isn’t lost, but it’s not exactly secure either.
Pick three had Eli Harold. Another one of those higher ranked picks that dropped to the third round, Harold was seen as a potential steal if developed correctly. It took a couple seasons, but in 2017, you didn’t hear much about Harold, and given the 49ers defense with respect to Harold’s position—that was a good thing. Unfortunately, Harold was shipped off to the Detroit Lions to start the 2018 season in a trade and had a good year there. Was he misused in San Francisco? That’s up to you.
Punter Bradley Pinion came in the fifth round,spelling the end of Andy Lee’s tenure with the 49ers in a head-scratching move. Was Pinion the long-term answer at punter? Well he is still in the league, but the 49ers didn’t lift a finger to keep him around before he left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And finally a Baalke special, a seventh round pick that actually worked. He took Trent Brown out of the University of Florida. While with Florida, Brown was considered to possibly be the largest person to ever wear a Gators uniform and made a name for himself as the starting right tackle of the 49ers. His name was so good, the 49ers knew he’d cost more money than the headaches he came with, so they shipped him off to New England. Brown recently signed a mega deal with the Oakland Raiders, so for a seventh round pick, I’d say Baalke guessed right.
Then again, anybody can make a gazillion guesses and guess right once.
Of course there were some stinkers. DeAndre Smelter joined the “ACL All-Stars” as another value pick that would have been gone in the 2nd/3rd round if not for a knee injury. Blake Bell had promise for running two-point conversions on the goaline as a quarterback and playing tight end, but didn’t excel at either. Busta Anderson was another tight end pick-up that only lasted a little over a year.
This draft may be a bit more underrated as far as Baalke’s drafts go. Of the 10 picks, four of them produced in the NFL in some shape or form. And one of those picks was a seventh rounder. Imagine that!
As per usual, the DMCA biscuits have this thing on lockdown in some regions, so if you’d like to view the video, make sure to click the link to go to YouTube directly to see it. Or you can go here via this link to see the analysis of the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 17 - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
Round 2 - Pick 46 - Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford
Round 3 - Pick 79 - Eli Harold, LB, Virginia
Round 4 - Pick 117 - Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
Round 4 - Pick 126 - Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
Round 4 - Pick 132 - DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech
Round 5 - Pick 165 - Bradley Pinion, P, Clemson
Round 6 - Pick 190 - Ian Silberman, OT, Boston College
Round 7 - Pick 244 - Trenton Brown, OT, Florida
Round 7 - Pick 254 - Busta Anderson, TE, South Carolina