Rival Update: 49ers Draft Evaluation


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

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.