I was wrong about Chip Kelly staying and I was wrong about
Tom Gamble becoming the next GM of the 49ers.
But some still view the niners’ headquarters as a burning building, so I
guess I was right about that. In his
press conference, Jed York, stated that anyone is free to leave which seems to
confirm the reports that many scouts are making an exodus. San Francisco is in a complete rebuild with
the search for a GM and coach just beginning and with the last regime leaving
the new front office few building blocks.
This post will provide an overview of the GM/HC search and look at the
roster to assess needs for the 2017 offseason.
First, here is a current list of the potential GM
candidates: Nick Caserio the New England director of player personnel, Eliot
Wolf the Green Bay Packers director of football operations, Brian Gutekunst the
Packers director of player personnel, Louis Riddick of ESPN (9 years front
office exp.), George Patton the Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager, both
Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer Seattle’s co-player personal directors, and
Brandon Beane assistant the Panthers assistant GM. Of these names, I would like Nick Caserio of
the Patriots to be the next GM. Caserio
is the right-hand man to Bill Belichick when it comes to the draft and free
agency with Belichick endorsing him for a GM job. Bringing in someone from a winning
organization, like the Patriots, would be the best way to get this rebuild
In addition to working in the personnel department, Caserio
has worked on the coaching side under the best coach in the NFL. This experience will help with the coaching
search. The current candidates for HC
are: Josh McDaniels the Patriots OC, Kyle Shanahan the Falcons OC, Tom Cable
the Seahawks OL coach, Anthony Lynn the Bills interim coach, Doug Marrone the Jaguars
interim coach, Sean McVay the Redskins OC , Vance Joseph the Dolphins DC, and
Sean McDermott the Panthers DC. Of these
candidates, I would like to see Josh McDaniels become the next head coach of
the 49ers. He has worked under Belichick
twice and has previous head coaching experience. In addition, he already has a working
relationship with my pick for GM and seems to be at the top of the niners’ wish
list. Bringing in Caserio and McDaniels
will stabilize the franchise and help attract or retain scouts and free agents.
Note. Caserio is not
currently scheduled to interview with the 49ers and reports are linking Louis
Riddick and Josh McDaniels to the 49ers, as front-runners.
Now let’s look at the roster to highlight the players to
build around. On the defensive side of
the ball, the 49ers have: Deforest Buckner (DE), Arik Armstead (DE), Ronald
Blair (DE/OLB), Rashard Robinson (CB), and Jimmie Ward (DB). Navarro Bowman is signed through 2022 so he
can be considered a building block too.
On offense, the 49ers have: Carlos Hyde (RB), Joshua Garnett (G), Vance
McDonald (TE), and Trent Brown (T), if he makes improvements. Joe Staley, signed through 2019, is probably
not a building block. The players set to
hit free agency are: B. Gabbert, D. Harris, S. Draughn, Q. Patton, J. Kerley,
J. Simpson, E. Pears, G. Dorsey, T. Jerod-Eddie, C. Lemonier, G. Hodges, M.
Wilhoite, N. Bellore, and P. Dawson. Of
these players, I would like to see Kerley, Bellore, Dawson and possibly Dorsey
back. These players will provide a
foundation for the front office to build around in the next few years.
According to Bill Walsh in Starting from Scratch: Positions I would Pick First the five
positions the master would fill, in order, are: quarterback, pass rusher,
safety, running back, and receiver. With
the injury history of Carlos Hyde, the 49ers may want to consider RB but the
rest are clear positions of need heading into the offseason. Additionally, the 49ers have needs at CB, OL,
and LB. Before roster moves they will
have $80.3M in cap space, which includes a $40M carryover. With Kap leaving that number rises to $97.2M
and cutting A. Brooks brings it to $105M.
In addition, cutting A. Bethea or E. Reid would save $5.75M or $5.676M,
respectively. I anticipate one of these
players will be cut so the 49ers will have $110M in cap space to address the
team needs, over the next few seasons.
Quarterback is the most important positon so let’s start
there. Even if one is drafted at No. 2
the 49ers will still have to bring in a signal caller in free agency. Jay Cutler has been discussed on this forum
showing how poor the free agent market is for quarterbacks. The 49ers could trade for Jimmy Garoppolo if
they see the qb class as weak and see Jimmy G as a long-term starter. He would already have a handle on Josh
McDaniels offense and his value would be known by the new front office.
Brandon Williams, the Ravens NT, is expected to make around
$11M/year according to SportTrak, which may price him out of reach. I would expect Dontari Poe to command more
but the niners have other options at NT.
If they do not retain Glen Dorsey and do not like Dial at nose they can
look at: Arby Jones, Sylvester Williams, or Bennie Logan to fill that
role. On the offense line, the niners
can bring in a right tackle and move Trent Brown to RG. Free agent tackles include: Andre Smith, Mike
Remmers, Byron Bell and Riley Reiff. If
the new coaching staff does not like Brown at guard, they can look to pick up
Kevin Zeitler or Luke Joeckel.
Even though the 49ers have a ton of cap space, I expect them
to be frugal in the first free agency and seek to build through the draft with
an estimated 11 picks this Spring. The
2017 draft class is deep at safety, pass rusher, and corner. If Myles Garrett goes No. 1, I would like the
49ers to trade down a handful of spots.
I have a few reasons for wanting them to do this. To start, there are a lot of busts when a
quarterback is the first qb taken but not the No. 1 overall pick, you can look
at Eric Branch’s article detailing the number of misses. Next, the 2011 draft, for example, shows many
teams reaching for a qb and failing. Third,
Louis Riddick has said many players fail due to poor coaching but also consider
the poor situations some qbs come into.
See Alex Smith. I do not believe
there is a qb worth taking at No. 2 and the 49ers would risk running him into
the ground if they do take one. My final
reason for trading back is the research detailed in The Loser’s Curse: Decision-Making & Market Efficiency in the
National Football League Draft by Cade Massey and Richard Thaler. To summarize, this paper looks at the history
of NFL drafts and shows teams, especially those with early picks, are better
off trading back.
Considering the amount of needs and the information
contained in the Loser’s Curse, I think the 49ers should trade back. Using the
NFL Draft Value Chart (and assuming a pick in next year’s draft is equal in
value to a pick one round later in this year’s draft), the 49ers could trade
back to No. 6 and get a first round pick next year and second round pick this
year. Once you factor in the No. 2 pick
being the first qb off the board, the pick becomes even more valuable. The RG3 trade and the two trades last year
can be used to estimate the value of the No. 2 pick. Trading back to No. 6
still allows the team to take a shot at a qb but also gives them extra
ammunition to trade for Jimmy G.
Let’s assume the 49ers trade the No. 2 pick to the Jets in
exchange for the No. 6, No. 38, and No. 102 this year and a first and third round
pick next year. Now they trade the No.
38 and an additional late round pick, the following year, to the Patriots in
exchange for Jimmy Garappolo. Based on that
information, I would draft the following players.
Rd 1 (6): J. Adams S LSU
Rd 2: C. Harris EDGE Mizzu
RD 3: D. Stringfellow WR Ole Miss
RD 4: P. Elfein C/G Ohio State
Rd 4 (from Jets in first round
trade): S. Taylor LB Houston
Rd 4 (Compensatory): Trade up a
few spots for M. Dupree WR LSU
Rd. 5: E. Hood RB North Carolina
Rd. 5 (from Redskins): Trade for
next year Rd. 4
Rd. 6: used in trade for M.
Rd. 6 (from Broncos): D. Rivers
EDGE Youngstown State
Rd. 7: Trade for next year Rd. 6
Rd. 7 (from Browns): C. Smith WR
If the 49ers follow this plan they will have two picks in
the first, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh (actual trade with Chiefs) rounds
in the 2018 draft, in addition to the following roster.
GM: Louis Riddick/ Nick Caserio
HC: Josh McDaniels
LDE: A. Armstead/ R. Blair
NT: S. Williams
RDE: D. Buckner
LOLB: A. Lynch
ILB: N. Bowman
ILB: S. Taylor, R. Armstrong (E.
ROLB: C. Harris/ R. Blair
LCB: R. Robinson
RCB: J. Ward/T. Brock
NCB: T. Brock/J. Ward/W.
FS: E. Reid/J. Ward
SS: J. Adams
QB: J. Garappolo
RB. C. Hyde, E. Hood
TE. V. McDonald
WR: D. Stringfellow, M. Dupree
WR: T. Smith, C. Smith
WR: J. Kerley, B. Ellington
LT: J. Staley
LG: J. Garnett
C: D. Kilgore, P. Eflein
RG: T. Brown, Z. Beadles, P.
RT: R. Rieff
The 49ers can evaluate Jimmy G. during the season and if
they want to move on from him, they have two first round picks in a much better
draft for quarterbacks. Assuming Garappolo does not work or the niners are unable to trade for him the team is in a much better position for new qb to takeover. If Garappolo works
out, they can continue to build the defense and skill positions.