May 14, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Review: San Francisco 49ers

#15 Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

San Francisco 49ers
Division: NFC West | Last Season Record: 12-4

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: The 49ers didn't have many needs heading into the draft, but they had a ton of picks, so they were expected to make a splash by moving up. What they did need, was a speedy slot receiver, as well as a couple of cornerbacks.

Also, finding a starting center in this draft was a high priority for them. It would also have made sense to add another pass rusher, and defensive line depth in general.

Individual Draft Picks:

Round 1

30. (30) Jimmie Ward, DB
Experience: Senior | School: Northern Illinois
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 197 lbs.

Round 2

25. (57) Carlos Hyde, RB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Ohio State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 234 lbs.

Round 3

6. (70) Marcus Martin*, C
Experience: Junior | School: Southern California
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 318 lbs.

13. (77) Chris Borland, ILB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Wisconsin
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 247 lbs.

36. (100) Brandon Thomas, OT
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Clemson
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 318 lbs.

Round 4

6. (106) Bruce Ellington*, WR
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: South Carolina
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 198 lbs.

29. (129) Dontae Johnson, DB
Experience: Senior | School: North Carolina State
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 198 lbs.

Round 5

10. (150) Aaron Lynch**, DE
Experience: Sophomore (RS) | School: South Florida
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 252 lbs.

30. (170) Keith Reaser, CB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Florida Atlantic
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 189 lbs.

Round 6

4. (180) Kenneth Acker, CB
Experience: Senior | School: Southern Methodist
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 190 lbs.

Round 7

28. (243) Kaleb Ramsey, DT
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Boston College
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 293 lbs.

30. (245) Trey Millard, FB
Experience: Senior | School: Oklahoma
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 247 lbs.

Two Picks of Note:

Best Value Pick:

Aaron Lynch**, DE (Round 5, Pick 10)
Experience: Sophomore (RS) | School: South Florida
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 252 lbs.

Analysis: Before transferring to USF, Aaron Lynch looked like a future top 10 pick at Notre Dame. However, he dropped about 25 pounds, and didn't produce the way he was expected to. He should be able to contribute immediately as a rotational pass rusher, and his ceiling is very high.

Most Questionable Pick:

Kenneth Acker, CB (Round 6, Pick 4)
Experience: Senior | School: Southern Methodist
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 190 lbs.

Analysis: The 49ers did need to draft multiple defensive backs, but I'm not sure it made a ton of sense to draft a fourth one in the 6th round who will probably struggle to make the roster.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Morgan Breslin, OLB
Experience: Senior | School: Southern California
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 240 lbs.

Analysis: Morgan Breslin likely went undrafted due to injury, but he was a productive edge rusher during his two seasons at USC. He played well when asked to transition to outside linebacker in the Trojans' 3-4 defense, and he could be a decent rotational pass rusher for the '9ers.

Other Free Agent Signings

Kory Faulkner, QB, Southern Illinois
LJ McCray, S, Catawba
Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
Asante Cleveland, TE, Miami
Dillon Farrell, C, New Mexico
Fou Fonoti, OT, Michigan State

Draft Review:

Analysis: My initial reaction to the Jimmie Ward selection wasn't a very positive one... then I remembered that he may be the most versatile defensive back in this class. He projects as either a safety or a slot corner, which is a very important position in today's NFL.

Carlos Hyde was widely viewed as the top running back in this year's class, so you should have known that GM Trent Baalke and company would pull the trigger. Though they didn't really need a running back, Hyde should see the field this season, and could eventually become their workhorse back.

In round 3, the 49ers got great value. They got arguably the best center in the draft in Marcus Martin, the best inside linebacker in the draft not named C.J. Mosley, and a tackle in Brandon Thomas who was a potential first round pick before tearing his ACL in a private workout.

4th round pick Bruce Ellington is the quick slot receiver the '9ers needed to draft, while Dontae Johnson has impressive size, length, and athleticism. They're hoping he can develop into a pretty good boundary corner.

I touched on the Aaron Lynch pick, which I liked, but I do question the two corners they drafted (Keith Reaser, 5th round; Kenneth Acker, 6th round). Both could have a hard time making the roster.

7th round pick Kaleb Ramsey is very injury prone, but flashed when healthy, and Trey Millard was one of the biggest day 3 steals in my opinion. He's the best fullback in the draft.

The Verdict: The 49ers got some excellent steals in the draft and took some players who will "redshirt" the season, but will likely have an impact in the future. They filled all of their needs as well. Classic 49ers draft.

Overall Grade: A-