2015 Draft in Review: San Francisco 49ers
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
That’s right every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Up now? The San Francisco 49ers who seemed to value athleticism over college production.
Round 1: Arik Armstead, DI, Oregon
This pick was based purely on projection, rather than production. While Armstead has his fans, that is largely based on impressive measurables and a few highlight plays. Everything else between those highlights raises concern that he will be a player who makes a big play here and there, but who provides little value on the other 90% of the snaps. Armstead had the 13th-best run stop percentage among 3-4 ends, at 7.1%.
Depth Chart Fit: Much depends on whether Justin Smith comes back, but Armstead looks to be part of the defensive line rotation immediately.
Round 2: Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford
Since Jaquiski Tartt played for Samford we only have two games against FBS opponents and the Senior Bowl to go from, so our evaluation is incomplete. Tartt played over 80% of the time at free safety for Samford, however in the Senior Bowl he was only at free safety on 41% of the snaps.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup safety for now, and likely future replacement for Antoine Bethea.
Round 3: Eli Harold, ED, Virginia
The best pick the 49ers made on the first two days of the draft. Harold wasn’t the most productive pass rusher in the class, heaving only had a 8.0 pass rushing productivity (PRP) score, which was 31st among draft-eligible 3-4 OLBs. However, he possesses a physical skill set that is well worth taking a risk on in the third round, in the hope that he will develop as a pass rusher in the NFL.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup situational pass rusher.
Round 4: Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
Just like their first three picks, Blake Bell is something of a project player who shows a good physical skill set, but has been unable to get the most from that skill set on the field. Bell only had a 0.83 yards per route run, 33rd out of 42 TEs.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup developmental tight end.
Round 4: Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
With running back Carlos Hyde set to be the No. 1 back next season, Davis should be given a chance to develop as Hyde’s back up on first and second down. Davis is not going to make many tacklers miss, he had an elusive rating of just 34.9, the 48th out of 62 qualifying RBs, but he is a consistent back who gets the yards that are there for him, and could be a dependable backup.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup to Carlos Hyde.
Round 4: DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech
The first 49ers pick that is based more from his tape than on his athletic traits. The 49ers were able to get great value on DeAndre Smelter, as many teams passed on him because of the torn ACL he suffered prior to the ACC championship game. Smelter excelled as an all-around receiver, and even though he was targeted on only 63 passes in the Yellow Jackets’ run-heavy offense, Smelter still led the draft class with ridiculous 4.36 yards per route run. However he was a willing and strong blocker in the run game.
Depth Chart Fit: Back up receiver while he recovers from the ACL tear, but once fit, will see playing time as the 49ers consistently rotate their receivers.
Round 5: Bradley Pinion, P, Clemson
If you are going to take a punter in the draft, you better make sure he is going to be a good one, otherwise it’s a wasted pick. Pinion has certainly shown good leg strength, however, either he, or the team, preferred to boom the punt down the middle of the field. In the NFL this will have to change, Pinion will have to learn to kick with direction as well as distance on his punts.
Depth Chart Fit: If you draft a punter he should be nearly guaranteed a starting position, however, with Andy Lee on the roster we may see Pinion struggle to beat out the eighth-best punter in the NFL last season.
Round 6: Ian Silberman, OT, Boston College
Another project pick by the 49ers, Silberman played right tackle for the Eagles, but may have to make the roster as a guard. Silberman was overmatched at tackle for Boston College as he graded out as the 12th worst tackle in the class, struggling with both run blocking and pass protection. The 49ers are going to have to develop his game before he is ready to play.
Depth Chart Fit: In a fight for the back-end of the roster, or as a practice squad player.
Round 7: Trenton Brown, OG, Florida
Brown only played 374 snaps, but was very effective on those snaps. He played well for the first four games of the season, finishing with a positive grade in each of them, while only playing on 52% of the snaps. In pass protection Brown only gave up four hurries all season on 190 pass snaps.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup guard, who with development, could become good value in the seventh round.
Round 7: Rory Anderson, TE, South Carolina
With two tight ends on the roster, and the fifth round selection of Blake Bell, this pick is an interesting one. On paper, having four tight ends wouldn’t seem to leave much playing time for Anderson, nor an obvious path to even make the roster. Anderson will likely be a pure blocking tight end in the NFL, while Bell is a better fit as the pass-catcher behind Davis.
Depth Chart Fit: As the backup to Vance McDonald.
Dylan Thomason, QB, South Carolina: Thompson was one of the 14 quarterbacks to throw for over 1000 yards on deep passes (those that travel 20+ yards downfield in the air).
Dres Anderson, WR, Utah: Anderson had the third-worst drop rate at 18.52 in this WR class, with 5 drops on 27 catchable passes.
Issac Blakeney, WR, Duke: Passers targeting Blakeney had a QB rating of 107.8, 31st in this WR class.
Darius Davis, WR, Henderson State: Henderson State did not face any FBS opposition.
DeAndrew White, WR, Alabama: White graded positively in five games last season.
DiAndre Campbell, WR, Washington: Campbell had only one drop on 25 catchable passes.
Patrick Miller, OT, Auburn: Miller only played in 384 snaps, allowing eight total pressures for a 96.0 PBE.
Jermaine Whitehead, S, Auburn: Only played 276 snaps last season, but had the 23rd-ranked coverage grade on only 129 snaps in coverage.
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