49ers Draft Grades

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May 122012


7. RLB Aldon Smith B

There’s always one pick in the top 10 that surprises me (I mocked Locker over Gabbert and Miller over Dareus). Last year it was CJ Spiller 9th. This year it is Aldon Smith 7th to the San Francisco 49ers. Unlike the Spiller pick, I don’t hate this one. I had a feeling Smith would go higher than most thought and higher than Robert Quinn. He’s a minor reach by my board, but he fills a major need and he’s got a high ceiling.

36. QB Colin Kaepernick B+

Of all the quarterbacks picked in the first 2 rounds, this was the one I gave the best grade. Kaepernick has the upside of any of the quarterbacks picked in the top 10 and he’ll have time in San Francisco to sit behind incumbent Alex Smith, who is close to being brought back as starter in 2011. He’s still a reach by my board, but not as much as most quarterbacks who have been drafted so far, and at least they’re going for the homerun with this pick and not wasting a top 10 pick to do so.

80. CB Chris Culliver D

I’m not sure what Culliver’s position is at the next level. Is he a safety? Is he a corner? I don’t really think he can play either very well at the next level. He’s too much of a tweener. The 49ers have needs at both of those positions, but I think Culliver is a major reach here and won’t actually fill any need other than special teams because he’s a tweener.

115. RB Kendall Hunter A-

Running back wasn’t a major need of theirs, but Hunter is a very good value at this point and they had so many picks that using one on a backup running back to replace Brian Westbrook isn’t a bad idea.

163. G Daniel Kilgore F

Another player I haven’t heard of and again, I was familiar with about 450 prospects to prepare my top 300 big board. This guy could be a future Pro Bowler and make me look stupid, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. The 5th round is way too early for him and he doesn’t really fill a need either.

182. WR Ronald Johnson A

They needed a better #3 receiver than Ted Ginn, who shouldn’t do anything other than special teams. Johnson fits the range and he has good upside too so he could end up as their #2 receiver over Josh Morgan who is decent, but not much else.

190. S Colin Jones B-

Safety depth was needed, even with Chris Culliver being taken in the 3rd, because I don’t know where Culliver fits. Jones can also play special teams, but I didn’t have him getting drafted so this is a little early for him.

211. RLB Bruce Miller A

Another rush linebacker makes sense. You can never have enough pass rushers and this team doesn’t have many at all, especially with Manny Lawson set to hit free agency. Miller was also an excellent value.

239. OT Michael Person B

Person is a decent swing tackle behind their two starters. That’s not a huge need of theirs, but they had a lot of picks and depth isn’t a bad thing. Defensive line might have made a little more sense, but it’s the 7th round. You’re not looking for starters and Person fills a depth need and fits the range.

250. CB Curtis Holcomb C

Another cornerback makes sense. I don’t like Culliver. Nate Clements is old and overpaid and Shawntae Spencer is inconsistent. I didn’t have Holcomb on my radar at all as a prospect, but at least he fills a need and it’s the 7th round so it’s not a major reach.


They didn’t nail either of their first 2 picks, but I did like what they did with those picks. Aldon Smith has the upside to become an elite 3-4 rush linebacker and Colin Kaepernick could easily become the best quarterback in this class when we look back at it in a few years, especially with incumbent Alex Smith in place to help him ease into action. The Culliver pick was one I didn’t like at all, but I thought they got good value with Kendall Hunter in the 4th, Ronald Johnson in the 6th, and Bruce Miller in the 7th. They made a few head scratching reaches for guys I didn’t think should be drafted as well, but overall this was a solid draft with a lot of upside and I like both of their first two picks, which is always a key.

Grade: B

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