With the draft in the books time to go back and do a wrap up of how teams made out. I might be a bit of a harsh critic to the top 3 round picks, but that is where you need to hit in the draft to be successful. Sure most of the league is 4th rounders and later, but any that turn into Pro Bowlers or All-Pro players is mostly out of luck. So without further adieu, let's go over the defending NFC Champs led by choke master extraordinaire the San Francisco 49ers.
1 (14) - Javon Kinlaw DT South Carolina - C-......edited to a B-
1 (25) - Brandon Aiyuk WR Arizona St - C+
I thought the 49ers trading away Buckner to land a first round pick was genius, but I found it head scratching that they would use it just on Kinlaw to replace him. That seems like you are selling yourselves short because they did not want to pay Buckner. If they had bitten the bullet and pushed their salary cap I think it would have been worth it. They were just a drive away from winning the Super Bowl and Buckner was a big part of that success. After developing Buckner and just now seeing him flourish it might be hard to see him walk. Now, I do understand why they want to be salary cap conscious since Garoppolo may or may not be kept long term. However, I do not think Kinlaw will be an instant success and the 49ers should know that. It took Buckner and Arik Armstead a long time to really hit their stride. I doubt Kinlaw will be an instant success like Nick Bosa was and I am not even sure he will be a big factor for a year or two. He is a really raw talent that needs a lot of work on his technique to be a top interior rusher. I understood the appeal, but I thought waiting on a tackle later in the first round like Ross Blacklock would have made more sense. Especially, since they just came back around and took Aiyuk later in the round. Passing on the opportunity to land CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy to just come back around and take Aiyuk, trading up for him no less, was a terrible move. Aiyuk to me was a 2nd round talent anyways, but with so few picks to begin with and after smartly trading back one pick with the Kinlaw pick it made no sense to reach up for Aiyuk. I am not even sure Aiyuk is a better receiver than Tee Higgins, Denzel Mims, Michael Pittman, or K.J. Hamler who were all taken in the 2nd round. Had they taken Jeudy and Blacklock with their two picks that would have been amazing if you ask me. People see the Buckner and Kinlaw swap as great general managing, but I do not. They forced a correction by not being able to negotiate with their two tackles to retain both of them. Plus, even after losing Buckner their line would be just fine with Bosa, Armstead, Dee Ford, and just disappointing Solomon Thomas rotating in. All in all, the Kinlaw pick was not terrible, but to pass on Jeudy who I think is more of a lock to be successful than Aiyuk or Kinlaw.
5 (7) - Colton McKivitz OT West Virginia - C+
6 (11) - Charlie Woerner TE Georgia - D
7 (3) - Jauan Jennings WR Tennessee - C
The best part of the draft if you ask me for the 49ers was being able to trade just a few picks to land Trent Williams. John Lynch won that trade hands down after losing Joe Staley where a smarter GM would make sure he would have had to pay up more for Williams. Clearly, Dan Snyder lost that war with Williams and makes him continue to be one of the more disappointing owners in the league. McKivitz is not going to play tackle for them, but he can compete for a guard spot where Tom Compton and Laken Tomlinson are just okay blockers. He has upside and the value seemed about right to land him there. However, the Woerner and Jennings picks were disappointing for Lynch who normally finds good value later in the draft. Overall, this was an okay draft class where Kinlaw and Aiyuk have potential, but with such a small haul if they do not work this draft could be a wash. It also will not make the salt in the wound any better if Jeudy goes on to be amazing and Aiyuk turns into a disappointing receiver. This draft gets a C and they really should have had an A with Jeudy sitting in their laps. Lynch has never really played the draft board well in general, but wins more in free agency and trades. No matter what, returning to the Super Bowl as the losers is never easy and I would not be shocked if they have a disappointingly bad season this year.