San Francisco’s motto Friday night in day two of the NFL Draft was value, and they got just that with pretty much every pick today. Well, it was either that or “trade down” with the 49ers making four trades by the end of the day.
How good was their draft? Highly touted draft “expert” Mel Kiper Jr. had a high opinion.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) May 10, 2014
Either way, the San Francisco 49ers improved on an already very talented roster and it all started before the draft even began with the acquisition of wideout Stevie Johnson. I could go on about how this was a fantastic trade, but instead you can read about it here and here, since we’ve covered that already.
Instead, I’ll just say that the biggest thing about this draft pertaining the trade was that if freed up some picks to use on other positions of need besides receiver.
They did just that, and their first pick in day two was running back Carlos Hyde. The selection of the Ohio State bruiser made two things clear: (1) that the 49ers are still a run-first team offensively, and (2) that they are still going to play an “in your face” smash-mouth style of football.
They also made it clear that Marcus Lattimore will not simply be given the starting role, and this year will have to compete with Hyde as Gore’s backup. He also described his running style as “violent”.
The first of San Francisco’s three third-round picks came in the form of a center. Marcus Martin, who was widely considered the best center in the draft, provides extra depth for the offensive line.
Again, this move is two-fold. First, they are probably looking to create competition at the center position for Daniel Kilgore, who could very well lose his starting spot to Martin if he’s not careful. Second, Martin has the ability to play both center and guard meaning his versatility adds just that much more value to this selection.
Pick #77 for the San Francisco 49ers was a bit of a surprise, but when you run a 3-4 defensive scheme linebackers always makes sense. Chris Borland, the Wisconsin inside linebacker, will provide extra insurance at the position while NaVorro Bowman is out.
He’s also quite the rarity considering 49ers GM Trent Baalke loves his long-armed players (his claim to fame is Aldon Smith) and Borland is the opposite.
Borland piled up 111 total tackles last season for the Badgers as well as four sacks. From an inside linebacker position those sacks are a nice extra to have. Here’s Trent Baalke’s take on him:
“How can you not love him as a football player?” Baalke said. “He’s not tall enough, not fast enough, his arms are too short. We just love his makeup. He has everything you’re looking for from a DNA standpoint.”
Their last pick of day two has to be my favorite pick of the draft as far as the San Francisco 49ers are concerned, which was the selection of Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas. He’ll have to take the red-shirt route after suffering an unfortunate acl injury while working out for the Saints for the draft, but he would have gone much higher otherwise. I guess it’s one of the benefits to having an incredibly stacked roster.
Mayock: “When they played Clemson, the Clemson tackle, Brandon Thomas, had a heckuva game against him. Handled Clowney fairly well.”
— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) May 10, 2014
Overall a fantastic day two for the San Francisco 49ers. I still would have liked to see them take either another corner or another receiver, but with seven picks in the final day, there is plenty of time for that. Many think they go with a quarterback as well, considering all their issues with a backup to Colin Kaepernick last year.
I’ll leave you with another Ballke quote, one that sums up San Francisco’s draft day to pretty well, who said, “Big wins a lot of football games in the league. And big in the middle wins a lot of football games.”