Reflections and Possibilities

I haven't been around for a while so I thought that I'd pop in to see what was happening here at Niners Nation. An awful lot of conflict going on ... diametrically opposed opinions about virtually everything. Seemingly more spears and arrows than reasoned dialog ... at least in the Comment sections. Alas, the Trump mentality, style and methodology has apparently permeated the site. I liked it better in times past when we had meaningful analysis and discussion rather than engaging in tribal warfare. On the other hand ... maybe I'm just too old to appreciate the social media mentality.

With respect to actual content, some of the stuff got me riled up a bit so I thought that I'd dump my bucket before going back into hibernation once again.


Opinions on Myths

1. "Take the 'BPA' regardless of position."

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all "BPA";the truth is that it's always "BPA at a position of need"! You can't build a competitive roster by continuing to add to strengths while ignoring weaknesses. We learned a lot from Baalke about what not to do as a GM ... and this should have been one of those lessons.

2. "There is a huge difference in potential as between the top draft prospects in this class."

That, in fact, is just not the case ... there are variations, but there are at least 35 prospects in this draft class who will become immediate starters and another 75-100 who will be significant contributors within the first quarter of the regular season. As always, the key issue is finding the right fits for your team's needs and schemes.

3. "Quinnen Williams is a 'generational prospect'."

There is absolutely no question that Williams is an exception athlete, especially for his size. If we're talking the underwear olympics, he wins. But we're talking football. Is Williams the best DT in this draft class? Probably, but certainly not by a wide margin. Generational? Hardly ... Joe Greene, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olson, Alan Page, Reggie White, and Warren Sapp were "generational" DTs from very early in their collegiate careers and extending on throughout their pro careers; I'm not sure why the standards have been so significantly diminished, but Quinnen Williams doesn't even come close to that level of talent IMO; he played in 24 collegiate games, in which he was incredibly inconsistent ... sometimes outstanding and sometimes just completely disappearing; for example, he was outstanding against Oklahoma in the National Semi-Finals and terrible against Clemson in the National Championship game; truly great players are measured by their consistency. QW ain't there yet.

4. "We should opt to select QW at Pick #2 because he will be the BPA."

Seriously? Opt to ignore our single biggest positional need (once we acquired JG) since Aldon self-destructed in favor of a guy who plays a position at which we are already overstocked ... and a guy who is not even likely to be the best DT on the roster? How does that make any sense? See 1. and 3. above.

5. "But we solved the edge-rush problem with the acquisition of Dee Ford."

An offense can scheme effectively against one good or better edge-rusher; to dominate, it takes two coming from the edges ... scheming against that is a dramatically different thing because it precludes double-teams ... made even more difficult if there is good pressure coming from up the middle. Dee's a great addition, but alone, he's not enough. And, having released Marsh, I can't believe that they will seriously consider starting any of Thomas, Armstead, Blair or Taylor on the edge in nickel or dime formations.

6. "We have a need at CB so we should draft another CB."

Do we have a need for a better CB to start with Sherman until Witherspoon and/or Moore are ready to take over? Yes. Does it make sense to add yet another developmental CB to the roster at this point in time? Absolutely not. (There are MAYBE four CBs in this draft class who MAY be immediate starters in the NFL ... and the Niners won't probably have access to any of them; all of the other CB prospects are developmental ... just like Witherspoon and Moore ... except that the latter already have some pro experience.)

IF he is actually healthy (a very big IF) Jason Varrett MAY be the guy to start opposite Sherman on the outside ... although in the longer term, again assuming that he is healthy, Verrett probably better fits replacing K'Waun Williams as the starting nickelback than playing on the outside in this defensive scheme.

From another viewpoint: the Niners will only carry six CBs (including two nickelbacks) on the Final-53 roster; if you draft another developmental CB, who are you going to cut? Sherman? Witherspoon? Moore? Verrett?


Additional Desirable Pre-Draft Actions

1. Yes, we need a CB to pair with Sherman as a starter until one or both of our developmental CBs is/are ready to take over; Verrett MIGHT be that guy, but that's a pretty big gamble considering his health record and the fact that he's had very little recent playing time. If I'm Lynch I'm not betting the farm on that possibility. Inasmuch as we already only have 6 draft picks in the upcoming draft, I'd be reluctant to use any of those to acquire additional CB help. Given that, who are some targets and what are some possibilities?

a. How about trading RB Matt Breida to Philadelphia for CB Rasul Douglas (6'2" / 2017 3rd-round pick), a part-time starter who fits our defensive scheme very well?

b. Minnesota has an excess of good CBs ... Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes are both former first-round picks who would fit our scheme very well; conversely, with DE Everson Griffen's troubles, they may have a need at DE opposite Danielle Hunter.

c. We agonize about what to do with Arik Armstead; how about swapping two former first-round picks who have underperformed and have equal 5th-year option costs ... how about trading DE Arik Armstead ($ 9.046M comp) even up for CB Trae Waynes ($ 9.069M comp)?

2. Remaining positional weaknesses ... address in a trade, free agency, or the draft?

a. Free Safety ... do we really want to bet on Ward's ability to stay healthy, given his history? Can Colbert turn it around?

b. SAM Linebacker ... we've got to do better than Nzeocha or Watson. Is Pita still even relevant?

c. Backup Tight End ... Celek's production has sunken to disaster levels and neither of the young guys did anything.


Preferred Draft Strategies

There's been much discussion about the advantages of selecting a prospect at Pick #2 versus trading down ... and in some cases the decision seems to depend upon what Arizona does with Pick #1. For me there is an absolute pecking order for the most appropriate draft strategy for the Niners ... and it is the same regardless of what Arizona does. Here's how I see the priorities ... best to worst:

1. Trade down with Oakland to Pick #4 if possible ... again, regardless of what Arizona does.

Is Oakland willing to trade up to select Murray, Haskins, Bosa, Williams or Allen? If the answer is "yes", here's what it should take to get the deal done:

Oakland gets Pick #1/2 (value 2600); the Niners get Pick #1/4 (1800) + Pick #1/24 (740) + Pick #4/106 (82); Oakland pays a premium of 22 trade points , using the Jimmy Johnson trade chart.

2. Trade down with the New York Giants to Pick #6 if Oakland declines the trade at 1. above ... again, regardless of Arizona's selection at Pick #1.

Is New York willing to trade up to select any particular prospect still available at Pick #2? If the answer is "yes", here's what it should take to get the deal done:

New York gets Pick #1/2 (2600); the Niners get Pick #1/6 (1600) + Pick #1/17 (950) + Pick #4/108 (78); New York pays a premium of 28 trade points.

3. If neither of the above trades is possible, select DE Nick Bosa (Ohio State) at Pick #2 ... assuming that Arizona didn't select him.

4. If neither of the above trades is possible and Arizona selected Bosa at Pick #1, select E/OLB Josh Allen (Kentucky) at Pick #2.

5. If the trade with Oakland failed but the trade with New York was consummated, seek to trade down from Pick #1/6 (acquired from the New York Giants):

Green Bay's biggest positional need after the initial free agency additions is, surprise, edge-rusher. But their first pick in the draft is at Pick #12, so they won't have access to the highest-ranked edge prospects. Accordingly, mock drafts for Green Bay have them hopefully selecting DL Ed Oliver, LB Devin White, or possibly E Clelin Ferrell. But would they be interested in having the opportunity to select E Josh Allen or E Montez Sweat? If so, here is an additional trade that I would pursue:

Green Bay gets Pick #1/6 (1600) + Pick #3/67 (255) ... total value 1855; the Niners get Pick #1/12 (1200) + Pick #1/30 (620) + Pick #5/150 (31) ... total value 1851.

As a follow-on, assuming that the Green Bay trade was consummated, I would pursue one last trade on the second day of the draft:

Niners trade Pick #4/104 (86) + Pick #5/150 (31) acquired from Green Bay for the highest possible pick toward the end of the 3rd round ... somewhere around Pick #96 (116) or so. The purpose of this trade is to increase the likelihood of being able to select TE Josh Oliver (San Jose State).


I would NOT trade Pick #2 to any team other than Oakland or New York because no other team, except Green Bay, has two first-round picks available in trade; any trade of Pick #2 to another team, including Green Bay, would require the inclusion of some combination of 2020 draft picks and/or players. Inasmuch as the Niners are trying to build a competitive roster NOW, future picks or players would be, to me, far less attractive. Obviously I can envision some wild trade proposal (e.g., Pick #7 + CB Jalen Ramsey from Jacksonville) that could be attractive, but the probability of something like that happening is so low that it's not worth discussing.


Potential Alternative Mock Drafts

Just for giggles, let's take a look at some possible mock drafts given each of my draft strategies ... from most desirable to least desirable. Or ... you might think otherwise.


Pick #1/2 (Own): Traded to Oakland

Pick #1/4 (Oakland): E Nick Bosa (Ohio State) or E Josh Allen (Kentucky)

Pick #1/24 (Oakland): FS Nasir Adderley (Delaware)

Pick #2/36 (Own): WR Hakeem Butler (Iowa State)

Pick #3/67 (Own): OT Kaleb McGary (Washington)

Pick #4/104 (Own): TE Josh Oliver (San Jose State)

Pick #4/106 (Oakland): LB Tevon Coney (Notre Dame)

Pick #6/176 (Own): TE Kahale Warring (San Diego State)

Pick #6/212 (Comp): WR Keelan Doss (California - Davis)



Pick #1/2 (Own): Traded to New York

Pick #1/6 (New York): Traded to Green Bay

Pick #1/12 (Green Bay): WR D. K. Metcalf (Mississippi)

Pick #17 (New York): E Brian Burns (Florida State)

Pick #1/30 (Green Bay): FS Nasir Adderley (Delaware)

Pick #2/36 (Own): OL Dalton Risner (Kansas State)

Pick #3/67 (Own): Traded to Green Bay

Pick #3/96 (say Wash.): TE Josh Oliver (San Jose State)

Pick #4/104 (Own): Traded to Washington

Pick #4/108 (New York): LB Tevon Coney (Notre Dame)

Pick #5/150 (Green Bay): Traded to Washington

Pick #6/176 (Own): TE Kahale Warring (San Diego State)

Pick #6/212 (Comp): WR Keelan Doss (California - Davis)



Pick #1/2 (Own): E Nick Bosa (Ohio State) or E Josh Allen (Kentucky)

Pick #2/36 (Own): WR Hakeem Butler (Iowa State)

Pick #3/67 (Own): FS Juan Thornhill (Virginia)

Pick #4/104 (Own): TE Josh Oliver (San Jose State)

Pick #6/176 (Own): LB Bobby Okereke (Stanford)

Pick #6/212 (Comp): WR Keelan Doss (California - Davis)


For me, IF at all possible, trading down with Oakland or the New York Giants yields the best draft outcome. What say you?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.