San Francisco 49ers: 2014 Draft grade

c023807712f0ec3081683bbe222a75a4The 2014 NFL draft has come and gone and whether you watched it to hear Roger Goddell get booed, Michael Sam get drafted or Johnny Manziel squirm as  he watched himself fall spot after spot, the point is that you watched it.  The San Francisco 49ers came in with 11 picks and in my opinion, did very well for themselves.  I don’t feel that they drafted a superstar buy what they did do is address their areas of need while at the same time adding depth to their already talented roster.  Here are some of the most intriguing picks in this years draft.

Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio St.

Hyde was drafted in the second round and is perhaps the steal of the draft.  Not only was he one of, if not, the highest rated backs on the board, but Hyde fits perfectly with what the 49ers do.  Frank Gore is on the last year of his current deal and has a lot of millage on his body.  Lattimore looks to be on the mend but it is yet to be determined whether or not he will be limited when he comes back.  Hyde’s physical still will allow the 49ers to run the ball down the opposition’s throat.  He’s not a home run hitter but he can clearly bludgeon opponents and the combination of him and Lattimore in the same backfield will be scary down the road.

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

The Jimmie Ward selection in the first was a bit of a surprise mainly because a good amount of fans don’t know who he is.  He is a bit undersized and didn’t play against the level of competition that other prospect did but that doesn’t mean that he can’t play.   All along I felt that San Francisco wanted a quick, aggressive corner to put in the slot to combat those quick possession receivers that are hard to cover.  This is why I felt that Jason Verrett was the way to go but with him gone, the 49ers Ward who has the ability to play nickle and is what the Niners are going to use him as in his rookie year.  The standout thing about ward is his ability to tackle.  His size is often times the topic of conversation but his toughness never is.

Marcus Martin, C, USC

Of all the draft picks, Martin is the one that can go ahead and become a starter right away.  San Francisco had a need at the center position and they picked up Martin, who by all accounts was the best center in the draft, in the third round.  This was a huge pickup because not only did you pick up a strong, quick intelligent football player, you also drafted a guy who can play a little bit of guard as well.

Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina

I must admit that is selection is one of my favorites and it happened in the 4th round so it came at a great value as well.  Yes, most of my excitement is based solely on potential and unproven hype but I can dream can’t I?  Ellington is the speedy receiver the 49ers were looking for and although he is very undersized and his route running is questionable, his quickness and athletic ability will allow him to be an explosive play maker on offense and special teams.

Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida

Lynch was selected in the 5th round and is a raw as it gets in terms of technique but has the physical tools to really open some eyes.   His attitude and lack of production really hurt his stock but when he was in Notre Dame, surrounded by better talent, he was a completely different player.  A relentless dominant player with a supreme motor.  Hopefully he can return to that form when he plays for a defense like San Francisco.

The 49ers really did well in this draft.  Not only did they upgrade their secondary and got themselves their speedy receiver but they also solidified their receiver corps by trading for Stevie Johnson.  They ended up with a couple potential starters with Hyde and Martin and if everything works out, they should end up with late round steals like Ellington and Lynch.  Overall I give the 49ers a letter grade of B.