The Banjo Hitter as GM

Wow. The Draft. Is there any way we can outsource this thing? It’s worse than the Super Bowl hype week. It’s on every channel. Every talk show. Every blog. Endless mocks. Endless endlessness. Help!!

Don’t get me wrong. The draft is a nice little thing. It used to be enjoyable. Now it’s just one long colossal overkill bore. Is there anything more ridiculous than a seven round mock draft? Hardly anyone in the universe even nails the first round. And you can bet that one week after the draft is over, some colossal moron will put out a 2017 mock draft with an entire college and pro season yet to be played.

A few more days of this nonsense before we can actually sit down and watch it play out. Then we can forget about it and get back to the business of ridiculing the 49ers. Probably with a whole bag of new specimens that Trent Baalke somehow thinks can play this game.

Baalke has turned the Niners into a minor league team. Every year he drafts guys who “try out” for the team. Usually, the try out lasts about three years. In the final year of their rookie contract, the guys who are good go someplace else in Free Agency to get paid their worth. The guys who stink get traded for seventh round draft picks. The guys who are merely good or average get signed to an extension — our “core” team of good, but not great, players, surrounded by try out players.

Baalke has drafted nine defensive players in the first three rounds the past three years and the defense last year ranked 29th. Come Thursday, he’ll draft another slew of defensive guys and the defense will still suck in 2016. I rest my case.

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Posted in Draft Board

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

It’s been a quiet offseason for the 49ers so far. Nobody has been arrested for anything or made the news for bad behavior. The team is now both mediocre and boring.

This deadly dynamic could change in a couple of weeks, when Trent Baalke drafts a dozen or so new recruits, any of whom could be mentally deranged or otherwise fail to qualify as the type of person you would want living next door to you. It’s also possible Chip Kelly will experience his first “You’ve got to be kidding me with this junk!” thought bubble, a bubble which could lead to yet another HC vs FO war in the near future.

Now that dysfunction is the operative reality when describing the 49ers upper management, it’s foolish to think anything good will happen anytime soon. After all, five years ago something good actually did happen, but the FO made sure it didn’t take root.

It takes leadership and talent to be a winner in the NFL, and the Niners have neither. All they have is money and that’s all they’re really interested in. The owner is a boob. There’s no way to ever overcome that deficiency except by sheer luck.

Baalke does make the draft itself interesting. I’ll give him that. Trader Trent. Up, down, all around the board. The man knows his draft value chart, if not his draft value talent.

Last year, we had six TEs and started the season trying to run a TE oriented offense. This year we have a head coach who prefers an offense with three or four WRs. We also had a FB who tended to correlate with victories when he was on the field a lot. This year’s coach doesn’t use a FB. We’ll also have a new playbook this year, which tends to rule out Colin Kaepernick as a viable QB option since he barely learned the old playbook after being here five years.

So, once again, the Niners are back to the three year cycle of “out with the old and in with the new.” A guaranteed formula for endless mediocrity.

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Posted in Draft Board

Opening Bell

The Chip Kelly era officially began Monday morning when the team gathered in Santa Clara for the first offseason workouts and team meetings. The prelude to the era revealed that Kelly belongs to the school of coaches who deal with the press by delivering a lot of earnest balderdash.

That’s okay. Former HC Jim Harbaugh slung the over the top baloney as well as anyone. He also more often than not delivered on his hyperbole. We’ll have to wait a bit to see how well Kelly does in this regard. Not that he’ll have much opportunity to field a contender with the depleted mess of a roster GM Trent Baalke has created.

It’s hard to get a bead on what to expect from Kelly. His departure from Philadelphia was accompanied by a lot nasty remarks from former players and the Eagles’ front office. That makes it clear he stepped on some egos there, but whether the criticism was an honest assessment or just some self-serving lip spew remains to be seen.

Seeing Eagles owner Jeff Lurie jump into the offseason team building enterprise like he knew the price of a hill of beans a la Jed York meddling around out here doesn’t inspire confidence in the opinions, leadership, or direction of the Philly franchise.

Then again there’s not much confidence in this franchise, either. Currently, the fan base seems unevenly divided between those who think the 49ers suck and will suck for years, and other fans who still have faith in the York leadership and can best be described as garden variety lunatics.

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Posted in The Usual Suspects

The Bust Maker

The 49ers haven’t come right out and admitted it, but their inactions during the Free Agency period have made it clear they have no intention of trying to be competitive this year. They are not even faking it.

The 2016 season will be nothing more than a year long audition by 53 guys to see if any of them are worth a shit. How exciting.

And, with $50+ million in available Cap space, yet no one to spend it on, while we suffer through the year, Jed York will be able to bring home a tidy bundle to his mommy in Youngstown, Ohio. The Yorks are finding this football franchise ownership thing to be quite a lucrative venture.

Chip Kelly will love the winning-is-secondary approach. He’s not under much pressure to produce anything other than a thorough examination of the roster. His year end evaluation will have more or less honesty to it, depending whether Trent Baalke somehow manages to keep his job. If he does, Kelly will have to be politically correct. If he doesn’t, Kelly can be as candid as he wants.

The Niners have until 1pm PDT Thursday afternoon to cut or trade Colin Kaepernick or eat his $12 million salary for the 2016 season. It’s clear no other team wants to pay him that much. It also seems clear that Kap would rather have that money than take less to get a new start somewhere else. Maybe he’s not as dumb as he plays. He and Jim Tomsula can gather at a local bar during the summer and have a good laugh over the $24 million of York money they’ve squeezed into their bank accounts.

I suppose Baalke might just presume that his so-far-failed draft picks (Tank Carradine, Brandon Thomas, Marcus Martin, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, Corey Lemonier, Vance McDonald) will somehow all rise up at last and perform great things this year. Whew! That’s quite a long list of bust candidates. And it doesn’t even include last year’s rookies, none of whom played with any great distinction in 2015.

Our boy Trent. Can he squander another dozen draft picks next month? Probably so.

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Posted in FOS Speculation

Standing Pat

Two weeks into the FA period, it looks like GM Trent Baalke has concluded that last year’s 5-11 record wasn’t the least bit his fault. No, the roster’s fine. The record was all the fault of Jim Tomsula and Colin Kaepernick.

To illustrate Trent’s POV, let’s start by looking at the defensive line.

Quinton Dial and Arik Armstead are set at the two DE spots. Ian Williams flunked a physical, had his 5 year contract extension shrunk to a one year deal, and won’t be ready by the season opener due to ankle surgeries. So, at NT, we have Mike Purcell. Glenn Dorsey won’t be healed from his ACL injury until late in the season, so scratch him from the scene. Tank Carradine and Tony Jerod-Eddie are fairly ineffective bit players. And that’s about it for the D-line.

On the offensive line, we have Joe Staley, Dan Kilgore, and a bunch of wannabes, used-to-bes, and never-will-bes. Lots of bodies, but not much talent.

There’s no one left in Free Agency who can dramatically improve the team, leaving that chore entirely up to the Draft. Ha ha ha ha! Since the 2012 draft, the only guys who have been immediate starters are punter Bradley Pinion and safety Eric Reid. Jimmie Ward started as a nickel slot CB his first year and, though he played great last year, spent his rookie season getting toasted in every game.

The Kaepernick trade saga has provided the only entertainment so far, but it’s nothing more than a one star Netflix rated production. When teams consider a third round pick, instead of a fourth rounder, to be a deal breaker, we’re not talking about a player who’s highly regarded around the league.

The 2016 plan seems to be drafting as many players as possible, hoping some of them can play sooner rather than later, and relying on a new and improved coaching staff to move the team out of the Dregs portion of the league and up into the Thoroughly Mediocre section. Be still my heart.

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Posted in FOS Speculation
2016 Schedule
Monday, Sept. 12 vs Los Angeles
Sunday, Sept. 18 @ Carolina
Sunday, Sept. 25 @ Seattle
Sunday, Oct. 2 vs Dallas
Thursday, Oct. 6 vs Arizona
Sunday, Oct. 16 @ Buffalo
Sunday, Oct. 23 vs Tampa Bay
Sunday, Oct. 30 BYE
Sunday, Nov. 6 vs New Orleans
Sunday, Nov. 13 @ Arizona
Sunday, Nov. 20 vs New England
Sunday, Nov. 27 @ Miami
Sunday, Dec. 4 @ Chicago
Sunday, Dec. 11 vs New York Jets
Sunday, Dec. 18 @ Atlanta
Saturday, Dec. 24 @ Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan. 1 vs Seattle
The Harbaugh Scoreboard
1. Cardinals: 13-3
2. Michigan: 10-3
  [Harbaugh, Drevno]
3. Redskins: 9-7
4. Bills: 8-8
4. Colts: 8-8
6. Raiders: 7-9
  [Crabtree, Seely]
7. Bears: 6-10
  [Fangio, Donatell]
8. 49ers: 5-11
  [Not Harbaugh]
9. Chargers: 4-12
  [Stevie Johnson]
10. Titans: 3-13
  [Walker, Cox]
2015 Prognostications
NJ49er: 7-9
Bakkentom: 3-13
Grumpy: 5-11
Winder: 10-6
Bythorn: 5-10-1
Phil Fan: 6-10
Spitblood: 2-14
RTFirefly: 5-11
Bullit: 6-9-1
Skeebers: 6-10
Rob: 9-7
Chuck: 11-5

2015 Draft Class
1 Arik Amstead, DE
2 Jaquiski Tartt, S
3 Eli Harold, OLB
4 Blake Bell, TE
4 Mike Davis, RB
4 DeAndre Smelter, WR
5 Bradley Pinion, P
6 Ian Silberman, OG
7 Trenton Brown, OT
7 Rory Anderson, TE