The first draft of the Trent Baalke/Jim Harbaugh era is now in the books. National opinion of their collaborative effort was a resounding meh. The folks at 4949 Centennial Blvd., however, seemed positively giddy at what they had wrought.
The 49ers addressed all of their needs in the draft, with the exception of nose tackle. What the team plans to do about that hole in the D-line remains to be seen. The selection of QB Colin Kaepernick in round two was probably the most fan approved choice. As you might notice, Kaepernick is not named Alex Smith. This will stand him in good stead for at least a year, probably even two.
The joy of the anybody-but-Smith fans was quickly dashed at the post-draft press conference when Harbaugh revealed that Smith had been given a play book and was expected back this year as the starting quarterback. While this news guarantees another festive year in the blogorama, it was not an inducement to many fans toward trusting our new head coach’s judgment. The first block of Dump Harbaugh enthusiasts has officially formed. And the clamor for acquiring a big name QB via trade has quietly left the room.
The fate of this draft, like most drafts, hinges on the player selected in round one — pass rush specialist Aldon Here’s-That-Name-Again. According to Harbaugh, quite a few teams, the Patriots among them, were lusting after Aldon until the 49ers swooped in and claimed him. How Harbaugh would know the secret desires of other teams is a subject fraught with peril should it be explored, so we won’t. Today. Tomorrow we might need to fall back on making shit up again, so perhaps we’ll revisit this swami peepola then.
Aldon is expected to be a project at the conversion from college DE to pro OLB. A rather standard expectation in pro football these days. Whilst learning that craft, however, he is also expected to produce double digit sacks in his first season as a third down get after them guy. The last edge rusher to do so in Ninerland was Andre Carter back in 2002 or so. Long time ago.
Running back Kendall Hunter, the team’s first fourth round pick in three years, drew thumbs up from the draftnik experts crowd. While speculating how many touches he could wrest from Frank Gore’s mitts this year, mention of last year’s surprise hit RB, Anthony Dixon, was curiously missing. If this was just a draft day oversight, it means the team has a viable three headed backfield that will probably be actually utilized under Harbaugh. It certainly wasn’t under Mike Singletary, who preferred Brian Westbrook standing near the bench instead of in the huddle.
The selection of two interior O-line guys, Daniel Kilgore and Michael Person, probably spells the end of the line for long time back up Tony Wragge and Barry Sims. Three speed guys (Chris Culliver, Colin Jones, Curtis Holcomb) were added to the secondary, no doubt terminating the non-career of Will James.
All in all, it was nice seeing the football sun shining through the off season clouds. Will the sun come back this week? We shall see.