Draft Grades – San Francisco 49ers
No. 5 San Francisco 49ers Grade: A
After a metaphorical 40 years in the wilderness – which covered a surprisingly large number of reality years – the 49ers’ reascension was swift. Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh took over for the overmatched Mike Singletary, and two years later they have an NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl on their resumes.
Due to their deep roster, the 49ers were able to stop the slide of two high upside prospects with injury concerns. Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore will return incredible value if they make full recoveries. Many scouts believe a healthy Carradine is the superior player to former teammate Bjoern Werner. Lattimore generated high marks in the RotoViz Composite RB Rankings and is being selected early in rookie drafts. (Fantasy leaguers widely eschew marginal talents in favor of upside, a lesson reality GMs should probably incorporate as well.)
Other offensive prospects include Vance McDonald and Quinton Patton. McDonald was selected earlier, but the physical specimen lacks near term fantasy upside behind Vernon Davis. Patton’s draft stock appears to have been mostly a media creation, but he was a good fit at 128.
Add first-rounder Eric Reid at safety and athletic freak Corey Lemonier, and it’s easy to see why San Francisco ranks up this high. The 49ers are big, fast, powerful, and deep at almost every position. They’re poised to enjoy a multi-year battle with division rival Seattle for NFC supremacy.