The San Francisco 49ers are slowly turning into one of those teams that are just perfect. Not only do they make it to the conference championship every year, but they continuously draft well year in and year out. 2014's draft was no different.
Every single pick they made I thought to myself, "Wow. They continously pick stud after stud." It's really not fair. Starting off their great draft was Jimmie Ward, safety out of Northern Illinois, with their first round pick.
While many are probably thinking why are you guys taking another safety? You already have two good ones! I'm here to tell you that this was a smart pick. With the need now more than ever for defenses to play nickel defense on all downs in today's NFL, why not take a rare safety like Jimmie Ward who can tackle like a safety, but come up and have that rare cover ability to lock down the opposing teams slot receiver? Plus the niners needed secondary help, mainly cornerbacks, so this is a luxury pick and it fills a need.
The great draft continues getting a steal with Carlos Hyde in the late second. Not only was he the best running back on my board, but he impressed me more than Eddie Lacy coming out of Alabama last year and we all know how that turned out. Carlos Hyde broke more tackles last year than any running back I've ever seen come out since Adrian Peterson. While Hyde will never be as good, I'm not saying that, I'm saying he runs hard and fits this power run scheme perfectly, plus with Frank Gore 31 and Marcus Lattimore saying he doesn't have his explosion back, it makes sense.
The third round was even better than the other two rounds! They had three third round picks and nailed each one. Chris Borland, inside linebacker out of Wisconsin, Brandon Thomas, guard out of Clemson, and Marcus Martin, center out of USC. All three of these picks are great picks. Not only did all three fall to them, but all three fill needs.
Marcus Martin has the versatility and talent to play both center and guard and come in day one and play well. Also, towards the end of last year, Mike Iupati tore his ACL so Martin will have to fill in early next year. Also, Chris Borland is also a pro ready inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Not only can he also contribute day one, but Navarro Bowman also tore his ACL so Borland will play week one as well. Brandon Thomas is interesting however. He tore his ACL while working out for a team so he won't be able to play this year. However, when healthy, he is a second round talent that was had in the third, who played better than anyone this year against Jadeveon Clowney.
In round four, wide receiver Bruce Ellington out of South Carolina and Dontae Johnson, cornerback out of NC State were taken. While the Johnson pick was okay, they needed the depth at corner because that's by far their weakest position. However, Bruce Ellington is a 5'9, 175 pound stud who catches everything in his site. This is a great pick because the sky is the limit with Ellington as a slot wideout.
In rounds five through seven, cornerback Keith Reaser, cornerback Kenneth Acker, defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey, fullback Trey Millard, and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch were all taken. While all of these picks make sense, especially more cornerbacks, I like the Aaron Lynch pick the best. While he is very raw as a pass rusher and stands straight up at times, Aaron Lynch does show the speed and quickness to get around the edge in a situatonal pass rushing role that he can be a difference maker on third downs because of it.
Not to mention, they did also trade a fourth rounder for Stevie Johnson during the draft, then proceed to trade back and pick up that fourth rounder again so they essentially got Stevie Johnson for free. Can I say not fair again?
Draft Grade: A