Thursday night was a tough night for any 49ers fan. Many spent the evening wallowing in anger and sadness over the decision to take Aldon Smith over Blaine Gabbert . I myself was enraged and was on the verge of being done with the 49ers forever and vowed that if we didn’t take a QB in the 2nd round that I would cease to follow them. However, once I calmed down the next morning and after the pick of Kaepernick, I started to put the pieces together of what Harbaugh is trying to do here. We desperately have needed pass rush help and Aldon gives us just that, a speed rushing DE opposite to Justin Smith (we have way to many Smiths on this team) and a player that could possibly play OLB on run situations. Personally, I would have taken Blaine Gabbert, just because I love the kid, the mobility, the arm and all his intangibles (if I hear Todd Mcshay or Mel Kiper use that word again I might break my TV) . Aldon also scares me in that he reminds me of another DE/OLB hybrid 1st round pick that we took a few years back, Manny “look like Tarzan play like Jane” Lawson. But I am not the new coach of the 49ers, I don’t know what will fit Harbaugh’s scheme well and certainly havent been scouting players every single day for the past 4-5 months. According to our new coach and who I fully support and was thrilled when he signed on, Kaepernick is the QB that he was looking for the entire draft and the type of player that fits his scheme the best. If he thought Blaine was better for the job we probably would have taken him at that point, but he isn’t supposedly and we took the best player on the board at the position / skill set we needed desperately. We definitely reached on the pick, and I assure you that if Patrick Peterson was still there a pick later we would have snatched him up in a second. But Arizona didn’t take Blaine and we decided to go defense instead of taking a chance on another first round QB, I can live with that and I hope all 49er fans can come to my realization on our first round pick. He is also only 20 years old…. food for thought.
Who is Colin Kaepernick you ask? Many 49er fans were asking that same question after we selected him in the 2nd round of this years draft. The 49ers organization pulled out all the stops to get this kid and moved up 9 spots and traded away 3 picks to do so (the Raiders were supposedly trying to move up and take him before we could). Our front office and coaching staff fell in love with this kid during the draft process over the past few months and I knew we were highly thinking of taking him because of all the press / interviews on 49ers.com with him (that is one of the best ways to see what direction a team will go in the draft). Personally I have always loved this kid and enjoyed watching him run the pistol offense in college and the comeback he started to beat Boise State to knock them out of BCS bowl contention was an instant college football classic. His skill set is unlike any I have ever seen coming out of college for a QB. He is a 6-4 220 pounder with 4.5 speed and an arm that can throw a baseball over 94 miles an hour. Trent Dilfer was quoted on draft day saying “This kid throws the hardest/best ball for a righty rolling to his left in college or the pros” … that is saying A LOT. What I like most about this kid is that he is a straight up winner / leader. He won in highschool, college and has that swagger and personal confidence that every NFL quarterback needs to be successful. The only drawback is that he will need a year at least to learn how to be an NFL ready, dropback, pocket, QB. But there are few coaches in this league that are better than Harbaugh at getting the best out of any QB (Andrew Luck, Josh Johnson). I personally love the selection and can’t wait for “Kaepernick to Crabtree” in the future. Sidenote, Kaepernick was the first QB in NCAA history to have 9,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career, pretty impressive.
Chris Culliver is a solid CB/S prospect coming out of the SEC. He has consistently made plays on defense and can also return the ball which adds an added dimension to his repertoire. I love the fact that he played in the SEC against the best competition college football has to offer, aswell as going against the best WRs in this years draft (Julio Jones, AJ Green). Hopefully he pans out to be a solid nickel cornerback and possibly our next returner. Looking at our secondary depth chart for next year, players are going to have to step up or we are going to get burnt all day long…
Probably my 2nd favorite pick of our draft was our selection of Kendall Hunter in the 4th round. He is small at 5’7 200 pounds but ran a 4.4 at the combine and looking at his game tape he clearly has that game speed that is hard to acquire. With Frank Gore as our #1 RB, a Pro Bowl speed/power complete back, alongside with Anthony Dixon our #2 RB, a power , truck stick , hit you in the mouth type runner, we have needed that speed / “scat” back that can add a new dimension to our offense and can stretch the edge and take heat off Frank. However, the glaring issue with Kendall is his size and if he can survive taking NFL type hits and can stay healthy. I believe that he will be able to do so, and can fill a role on our team such as a Danny Woodhead has with the Patriots. ( Woodhead obviously is more skilled and can catch the ball out of the backfield better and can play WR, but these types of speed backs are all the rage in the NFL now and its about time we got one)
5th Round Pick Daniel Kilgore : Kilgore is supposedly an animal in the trenches and an OL that can run block effectively (especially in the NFC west) is a commodity that is always needed on any team. I don’t know what else to say because talking about OL is straight up boring and hard to do, so I will leave it at that. Good value pick.
Ronald Johnson is a WR coming out of USC that can make the team during training camp and can possibly produce this year. We are thin at the WR core overall and adding a USC WR that has produced his entire career says a lot for his ability. He never lived up to his hype coming out of high school at USC but was always a go-to WR in key situations for the Trojans over the years. Injuries hampered his potential college success but those injuries are not going to affect him in the NFL. He has good speed, can get behind any defense and is incredibly quick off the line of scrimmage and puts a lot of pressure on cornerbacks. What I like most about him (and all our draft picks it seems) he has a strong character, and is known as a hard worker and a gym rat. USC WR’s have been pretty hit or miss coming out of college in the past few years so we shall see how his skillset and ability translate to the NFL game.
The rest of our picks…
6 25(190) C. Jones S TCU 7 8(211) B. Miller DE UCF 7 36(239) M. Person OT Montana State 7 47(250) C. Holcomb CB Florida A&M