For the next two months, it will be GM Trent Baalke‘s turn to show us what he can do. Free agency begins in two weeks, followed by the draft in late April.
Everyone seems to be clamoring for a fast wide receiver and a better offense. And no wonder. There are five all pro players on the defense. Baalke has drafted two of them, and brought in another last year in FA, and also come up with several serviceable players. There are only four all pros on offense, but only one was drafted by Baalke — LG Mike Iupati, who is probably leaving in FA this year. Frank Gore, Joe Staley, and Vernon Davis were all brought in by Mike Nolan. Which means these guys are all getting long in the tooth.
In five years, other than QB Colin Kaepernick, whose worth is still producing a hung jury, Baalke has not drafted even one skill position impact player. Zero. No help for the offense in five years.
We’ve seen five RBs drafted, but Gore is still carrying the loaf. No one has even come close to taking his job. Two TEs, but it’s still Vernon and a cast of nobodies. Four WRs, and none of them have sniffed even a significant secondary role.
Baalke mostly looked to FA for WR help. He got one so-so year out of Randy Moss, one so-so year from the oft-injured Mario Manningham, and marginal contributions from Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd. His only resounding success was Anquan Boldin, the 49ers’ best WR the past two years.
With the possible exception of the half-hearted Moss, none of the above WRs had the kind of top end speed that could scare an NFL safety. They were all possession type WRs, which fits former QB Alex Smith‘s game more than it does Kaepernick’s deep ball skills.
None of this is news to the observant fan, but it does underscore the weaknesses in Baalke’s resume. He’s done well drafting for the defense. Not so well for the offense. With the whole world now watching his performance more so than ever, given the recent upheaval that’s left him totally in charge of the team, he’d better deliver some pop to the offense this year, specifically to help his struggling QB, if the Niners want to have any chance to improve this coming year.