Yesterday concluded the 2015 draft, and the San Francisco 49ers finished the three day event with 10 picked players. Many fans seemed upset with many of the picks made by Trent Baalke, though some came around with the later picks. Are fans correct to be upset, or was it a good draft?
The real answer? No one knows.
It’s foolish automatically deem a draft good or bad mere hours after its conclusion. That won’t stop anyone, but it’s good to be reminded sometimes that we as fans can’t see the future.
For a non-smart alecky answer to this question it depends on which criteria we’re using.
If someone is looking if Baalke picked the players on need, then it’s understandable that they might not be happy with the draft.
The popular opinion among fans and pundits is that the 49ers had needs at WR, CB, and ILB. So when Baalke went DL first, then a safety, and then an OLB, people were scratching their heads.
Most general managers follow the “best player available” draft strategy, or BPA. That means when it’s their pick in the draft, they take the top pick on their list regardless of position.
This is another criteria to look at. Was Baalke drafting the BPA? Most definitely.
The 49ers give themselves an A+ draft grade. Based on their board, they took the best player available every time they made a selection.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) May 3, 2015
Teams start getting into trouble when they start drafting for need, as certain needs come and go and there’s a chance they could be settling for a lesser player rather than a better player. Need usually only comes into factor if a GM needs to break a tie between two prospects.
Now one can easily argue that there were better prospects on the board at the time of these picks, but that’s just a difference of opinion. We could argue all day about that.
One more criteria is drafting players that fit your scheme.
New head coach Jim Tomsula is a DL line coach, so obviously he knows you need good players in the trenches to win football games. It’s no surprise that the 49ers chose Arik Armstead with their first pick in the draft.
A lot of Baalke’s picks, especially the higher picks, factor in scheme and BPA.
Regardless of what criteria one uses, it comes back to one thing: no one really knows. We can analyze and predict all we want, but the bottom line is no one will know how this draft will pan out until the players get on the field.