It is finally the night before the 2017 NFL Draft, less than 24 hours away from many questions that will begin to be answered. A lifetime of hard work will finally pay off for the few lucky ones that get selected. Many months of strenuous preparation will all come to an conclusion this weekend as the best available prospects will find out if and when they will be drafted. The draft will be hosted from April 27th-29th in Philadelphia PA and for the first time it will be entirety outside, which will be very cool and unique fan experience.
Photo By @Eric_Branch
Jed York and The San Francisco 49ers decided to fire both the general manager and head coach after last season. In comes John Lynch (GM) and Kyle Shanahan (HC) to Santa Clara who are now embarking on their very first drafts. It may make a casual football fan skeptical but the team made some great hires to build a solid front office. Adam Peters and Martin Mayhew bring a extensive amount of experience to the teams draft war room. In years past with Trent Baalke as General Manager, the draft became pretty predictable with most of his selections being on the defensive side and many picks on guys with a history of injuries. The majority of those were a complete waste as the players contributed little to nothing to the team.
Just listening to John and Kyle in just the few months that they’ve been with the franchise, you can just sense the great chemistry that is forming as they begin to lay down the foundation for the future of the team. As a fan you can’t help but to be excited to see what will happen in the upcoming days. The outside world views the 49ers as a team that has few to zero quality players on the current roster. It is honestly very hard to get an actuate evaluation of the team and it’s performance last year based on the coaching staff and schemes that were installed. I believe that the defense is not as bad as they looked and will perform significantly better in the upcoming season. The 49ers brought in a lot of players in free agency that were familiar with Shanahan’s offense and Robert Saleh’s (DC) 4-3 defense. This is an smart approach in my opinion in order to help the existing players and the rookies that will be coming in to adjust quickly as they can learn from each other.
The 49ers have the second overall selection in this draft. Even though there isn’t many “can’t miss” prospects in this years crop, the overall depth of this draft is very deep. There are also a lot of red flags with a good mount of these guys, if it’s medical or off the field issues. The teams biggest needs are QB, edge rusher, WR, LB and the secondary. The million dollar question is who is worthy of that high of a pick??
The team must first decide on if they will draft based on need or best player available. The two safest players in my opinion are Myles Garrett and Jamal Adams. However there’s a 99.9% chance Garrett goes to Cleveland at #1 and I’d personally love to pick up Adams but some fans will argue that secondary isn’t necessarily one of the teams biggest needs. Also there should be some quality cb’s and safety’s available in the mid rounds. One of my favorite prospects coming out is Reuben Foster, who would be a perfect pairing with Navarro Bowman. However after getting kicked out of the Scouting Combine and a diluted drug test, he isn’t viewed as a option at 2 and may slip to the late 1st if not the 2nd round. Ideally the best case scenario for the 49ers is that they will trade back and get more picks from a team that’s looking up to grab a qb. As John Lynch said “we’re open for business” I believe every fan should feel the same way and hope that a trade happens. The team that stands out most and who is also rumored to be trying to move up is the Cleveland Browns. They have a ton of draft capital and perhaps they decide to move back up to 2 after drafting Garrett at 1 to draft Mitchell Trubisky. There has been plenty of speculation that multiple teams could try to move up, but those may just turn out to be in fact rumors with no substance.
The most common selection for the 49ers in mock drafts is Solomon Thomas out of Stanford. While he would be a solid addition, it wouldn’t be the splash pick that most faithful’s are hoping for. Not to mention the team has spent the last two high picks on the defensive line. A prospect that I’m really interested in is Haason Reddick, linebacker out of Temple. He is one of the biggest risers in this draft, with his outstanding speed and athleticism he would be perfect for the WILL lb position in a 4-3. However from what I’ve seen the majority of fans would like the team to pickup some offense players who can bring a spark to a unit that was.
Offensive guys like Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Corey Davis, John Ross and Mike Williams come to mind as impact players that could contribute day 1. All of them would be tremendous additions to the roster but once again, should they be picked 2? Would it be considered a reach? I’m not sure if they will decide to go with offense or defense but I am highly confident in John and Kyle’s vision for this team and I will put my full support into whomever they decide to select.
One of biggest question marks is what will the team do with the quarterback situation? The top qb’s in this class are Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes II and Deshone Kizer. My personal favorite is Patrick Mahomes who’s draft stock has exploded in this off-season and he’s rising up boards. He is a rocket-armed, play making gun slinger out of Texas Tech. However he is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect who needs to improve on some areas of his game like his mechanics and learning a pro style system. The same thing can be said for the qb class as a whole as most of them are coming from a spread offense, so you just never know how they will transition into the NFL. The good news is that if anyone in the NFL can bring out the best in any of these QB’s it’s Kyle Shanahan.
This draft is just another step towards the ultimate goal which is winning another super bowl. No matter what happens this weekend, 49ers fans need to just trust the process and have confidence in the plan. This is a rebuild and will most certainly take some time but it will be worth the wait.
I could go on and on with what I think could occur or what I’d prefer but now that we’re so close to this draft it is time to just see what will happen.. At this point I’ve watched hours of tape on prospects, draft specials, have read millions of mock drafts and podcasts. I admit I am a draft geek but I’m alright with that, I love it. I love the team strategy that’s evolved, different scenarios that may or may not actually play out. I ultimately love to watch people achieve their dreams and this weekend is a great example that hard work can actually pay off.