Mel Kiper and Todd McShay spend much of the year doing battle over the viability of hundreds of potential NFL Draft picks. And of course, this year it capped off with the 2011 NFL Draft and the subsequent grades handed out by the two of them. While Kiper went with a traditional grading format, McShay went with a simple best move, questionable move system.
Kiper gave the 49ers a C+ in his overall assessment, while grading them out at a B level for addressing needs and a C for getting value. In looking through Kiper's analysis, there is a bit of a common thread as he points to various picks as reaches or at least potential reaches. As many others have already stated, Kiper views the top two picks as reaches, which means it could be some time before we truly now how this draft class shakes out for the 49ers:
You'll hear Smith called the first big reach of Round 1, but he wouldn't have lasted long at all past the No. 7 slot where the Niners nabbed him. And beyond the obvious question at quarterback, an outside linebacker who can rush the quarterback was the biggest position of need for this team, and if Smith continues on his developmental path, he could be a star. Jim Harbaugh found a quarterback he can develop with Kaepernick in Round 2, but even with the run on quarterbacks, I saw that as a reach. There's a lot of development needed. San Fran did hit on other top needs at cornerback and wide receiver, and got decent value in Hunter for depth at running back. Kilgore also offers a little more depth at guard. It's all about what happens at quarterback in terms of how we judge the success of the 2011 49ers, but I judge this weekend as a relative success. It's just a small worry when your first two picks both have development requirements.
In Todd McShay's assessment, he thinks the best move they made was actually trading up to get Kaepernick. Kiper liked Kaepernick as well, but felt it was a bit of a reach. It seems like McShay is looking more at the bright side of things in assessing the pick. He did feel they reached though with their selection of CB Chris Culliver in the third round:
Best move: Trading up to get Colin Kaepernick
Alex Smith is expected to be back for another year, but this gives coach Jim Harbaugh a quarterback to develop. Kaepernick needs work and is a long way away, but with the right coaching he could be one of the steals of this draft.
Most questionable move: Reaching at cornerback
The 49ers had a pretty good draft, but there were better options, including Shareece Wright,Curtis Marsh and Johnny Patrick, available at cornerback than Chris Culliver at the No. 80 slot. They addressed the pass rush but could have done a little better here at cornerback. Still, if this is the most questionable move they made, the 49ers had a pretty good draft.