September 10, 2011; Athens, GA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs with the ball against the Georgia Bulldogs during the fourth quarter at Sanford Stadium. South Carolina defeated Georgia 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Rival Update: 49ers Draft Evaluation

It’s time for the third and final installment of my draft evaluations for the division rivals of our Seattle Seahawks. Obviously, it will take a couple years before we know how this draft will fully work out. These are just my impressions based on my pre-draft evaluations of these players.

The media seems to love the 49ers draft, but that’s rarely a good thing. My reflections on their draft are a little less rosy. The team seemed to be content with mostly finding “bust-proof” players, but in doing so failed to find many high ceiling players as well. It was a very Tim Ruskell sort of draft for the 49ers. And no, I’m not just being a Seahawks homer here. Take a look at the Rams and Cardinals evaluations, both of them were very positive.

Best Pick

This is an easy one, Marcus Lattimore, and it’s not even close. I really wanted Seattle to take Lattimore, and was very unhappy that he went to the 49ers. He likely wont play a down in 2013 as he continues to rehab from his massive knee injury, but he’s going to be a star in 2014 and beyond.

Worst Pick

For me, that would be 1st round pick Eric Reid. It’s hard to be too critical, since he’s going to be a multi-year starter, but when you move up to take a player at #18, they should be a special player, and I just don’t see that in Reid.

He’s a decent player, but I doubt he makes a Pro-Bowl on his own merits, though he might end up getting there a couple times because the 49ers front seven is so damn good. I had three other safeties rated higher than Reid when he was taken.

Without A Position

The 49ers’ selection of Tank Carradine is certainly an interesting one. The real question is, where is he going to play? Tank is built to be a 4-3 defensive end, but the 49ers use a variant of the 3-4. He’s likely too big, and not quick enough to play outside linebacker, and he’s not big enough to play 3-4 defensive end.

From what I’ve heard, the team hopes that he can add 10-15 pounds over the next year and then take over for Justin Smith at DE, but I question if he can add that much weight to his frame and retain the explosiveness that made him worthy of such a high selection.

I’ll admit, I really like Tank. He’s a guy I’d have loved to see in a Seattle uniform, so don’t think that I’m hating on him as a player. That’s not true at all. I’m just not sure how well he fits into the scheme the 49ers run.

Overall Impressions

When a team drafts 11 players in one year, it should be able to get more than two players who are capable of long term contributions. I don’t see that here. Instead, the 49ers played it safe, as if they were afraid to roll the dice and take a chance on anyone. In a way, the Seahawks and the 49ers had very opposite drafts.

Quinton Patton, Corey Lemonier, Nick Moody, Quinton Dial, etc. are all high floor, but low ceiling players. All are capable of contributing right away, but none offers significant upside beyond what they are right now. Good role players? Yes. Eventual starters on a playoff team? I just don’t see it.

The 49ers significantly upgraded their depth, but outside of Lattimore and Reid, I’m not sure they did much else.

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  • Hawk_Eye

    TE Vance McDonald in the second round is the only 49er pick I like. Other than that, with their 11 picks, I’m not impressed. Look at their 2012 year draft. It sucked! I’m with John Schneider. Swing for the fence or go home!

  • Mozo

    Reid, Carradine and Lemonier on D
    And McDonald, Lattimore and Patton on O
    Will be kicking Hawks butts for years to come.
    Hawks are Lions of 2 years ago.

    • Hawkman54

      Good luck with that!

    • DbagHarbaughstyle

      “Will be kicking Hawks butts for years to come.”

      Like last year?

  • Mozo
    • Hawkman54

      Unbiased – How do you know? who is he? Looked him up and he is you or me writing articles – No pedigree or Pro anything with him- Have read other analysis that mostly like the Niners draft and a couple that thought it was a B at best – Won’t know for at least two years .

  • Ron Grummer

    “All are capable of contributing right away, but none offers significant upside beyond what they are right now”
    Risk Aversion.
    They saw how quickly some aspects of their game dropped off dramatically when they had injuries. They needed more good (rather than potentially Great) depth across their team. The starters are top shelf, but the depth they had last year was mostly bad and worse. If they suffer a below expectations year coming off their SB loss, they will lose a lot of their FA veterans next off season. Without, at least, a slightly above average depth the fall would be deep and ugly,…but its all crystal gazing at this point.

  • Erik

    I’m a Niners fan, and not writing to hate, but this article was pretty incomplete. First off, I agree that the Reid pick was a reach, but it was cheap to move up (3rd rounder) and they had the means to do it without compromising their draft. Harbaugh loves him some Reid, so we’ll see.

    However, the idea that Tank can’t grow into a DE (like Justin Smith) seems kinda silly, as well as the dismissal of Patton (a 2nd round talent taken in the 4th) and Lemonier (pass rush depth to spell Aldon Smith down the stretch) is kinda silly. When was the Niners D exposed? When they lost their pass rush. So, in this draft they added massive amounts of pass rushing depth and talent. This is a draft that plans ahead for the departure of J. Smith and also provides depth right now.

    Poke holes in Quinton Dial and Moody all you want – they’re late round fliers I have no real knowledge of. However, the rest of this article seems pretty far off base.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      I just don’t share the opinion that these are good picks. Patton isn’t a 2nd round talent. He’s 4th round talent who never belonged in the 2nd round discussion. Lemonier has career backup potential. Sure the team needs a backup, but getting a low upside guy is never going to be a pick that i’ll endorse.

      Tank as Justin Smith’s replacement makes no sense. His game and body are simply unsuited to be a 3-4 DE. He’s not a scheme fit. The 49ers made this pick because he could start the year on the PUP and not create a roster problem, which is true, but it doesn’t mean that he’s suited for the role he’s going to be asked to fill.

  • Jesse R. Rodriguez

    Rival? In order to have an actual rivalry two teams had to have battled in a series of meaningful championship, or playoff games. In the 49ers well documented storied history, they have never played a single game of tha nature with Seattle. Even last seasons Seattle blowout of the 49ers was meaningless at the end of the day. The Seahawks are a 70′s expansion team from the AFC.

    • DbagHarbaughstyle

      You’re right. It’s not a rivalry. A rivalry generally would mean two teams that are competitive with each other historically. Since the hawks came to the NFC West in 2002, the Seahawks record versus the whiners is 12-9. It’s not close. The Seahawks smash the niners. I don’t understand why every niner fan has this superiority complex when the niners have been the hawks little brother (sister?) for years.

      Also, I love how every niner fan has to somehow bring up last years 42-13 dump trucking of the niners in a post that is totally unrelated to the topic and then mention how Seahawks fans view it as our “Super Bowl”. Seahawks fans don’t view it as a Super Bowl… just a sign of whats to come for many years.

  • Hawkman54

    Great analysis- I agree (except on Tank) To high for Reid but we’ll see.

  • In the Know

    I hate to be the one to break the news to the 12th man, but Eddie D. was exiled for 10 years. The exile is over and the niners are back. Now listen hear boy, you are a chicken hawk and that dog, I mean that creature over there is a rooster…

  • RJS77

    If there’s one thing I hate, it’s when journalists say they give teams a poor grade because a team does not select the player they thought they should select. Who the heck are these people that think they have 1% of the capability of a successful NFL team and its staff of scouts, talent evaluators and coaches?? The other thing I hate, is when writers, who are avid fans of specific teams, downgrade their favorite teams rivals while lifting up their favorite team. This is worse than someone trolling a site sponsored by a rival team because these people try to portray themselves as objective journalists. Ridiculous!!