Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating the 49ers’ Front Office

The San Francisco 49ers’ front office has, for the most part, done a good job evaluating talent, both in the draft, free agency, and already on the roster, recently—Aldon Smith (ignoring his off-the-field trouble), Navarro Bowman, Eric Reid, and Donte Whitner come to mind. Yet, there have been some BIG mistakes and miscues as well. For the most part, these just happen to be misplaced depth, but a few key players have been left out to dry.

First off, how did Jim Harbaugh let Doug Baldwin end up on the Seattle Seahawks? This guy was an undrafted free agent from Stanford that has repeatedly given the 49ers difficult games, though recently he has tapered a little bit.

Next, even though it made sense to let Dashon Goldson walk for an overpriced free agent contract to pick up Eric Reid, General Manager Trent Baalke, and the same regarding Delanie Walker and rookie Vance McDonald, Baalke has nevertheless balked some, albeit few, decisions. The biggest problem is depth—and where it is and isn’t.

The 49ers have ENORMOUS depth at the running back position: 2 guys with potentially starting talent (Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James), two beasts (Anthony Dixon and Bruce Miller) and, of course, the “Inconvenient Truth” in Frank Gore. This amazing depth, however, has some consequences. Look at the defensive line, where the 49ers might have to bring up a practice squad member to actually have one backup. Harbaugh has survived, for most of his tenure, on very few defensive subs. As was shown last year—and through the current plethora of injuries—depth is needed. Somehow, the 49ers’ brass saved themselves by picking up Glenn Dorsey, but if he can’t go, the 49ers could be in trouble.

Of course, I don’t need to mention A.J. Jenkins—or the entire 2012 draft class, save James, for that matter. And what about the current QB carousel? Why in the world is Jim Harbaugh bringing in a new 3rd string toy every week? Yes, it’s the 50th or so spot on the team, but why keep rotating that locker?

The 49ers have done a fairly good job putting together a roster, but some mistakes have been made. Consequently, there are some holes on this team that need to get plugged before they burst wide open.

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Tags: 49ers 49ers 2013 Jim Harbaugh San Francisco 49ers Trent Baalke

  • loverpoint

    Baalkes claim to fame is that he fired Mike Singletary and brought in Jim Harbaugh. He has done some really wacky things with his 1st round selections. Neither Aldon Smith or Eric Reid should have been drafted so high and A.J. Jenkins we can see should have never been drafted, and the 49ers really wasted the whole 2012 draft.

    Only 3 of Baalkes 28 draft picks over the last 3 years will be starters for the rest of the season; Colin Kaepernick, Bruce Miller, Eric Reid. 12 of those 28 picks are no longer on the team.

    Players with question marks over their head: Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney, Chris Culliver, and all the remaining players from the 2013 draft.

    No one knows what will happen with Aldon Smith, he may never play for the 49ers again if he has to go to prison on his gun charges and if Corey Lemonier steps up and takes his job. How long are the 49ers willing to wait for Aldon Smith to develop into a true OLB; we know he can pass rush, but he is still lacking when it comes to defending against the run and pass coverage.

    2014 positions of need: The secondary will continue to be gutted. Only 3 DB’s will be guaranteed to return, Reid, Wright and Culliver. Whitner and Brown are questionable and the rest of the secondary will probably be replaced. The next important position will be WR. The 49ers have failed to find a replacement for Goodwin at Center, you really think Kilgore is going to take the job? Why isn’t he starting right now? OLB and QB are positions to keep an eye on also.

    The most important thing Baalke will have to address are changes in the coaching staff. Has Geep Chryst done a very good job at developing the QB’s ? Johnny Morton has done nothing to improve the WR’s,
    I also think the 49ers need to find an Offensive Coordinator to replace Greg Roman.

  • patchel

    Regarding Loverpoint’s comment. I’ve heard more than a dozen NFL experts comment that Baalke has assembled one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the entire league. Reading your comments makes it sound as if you were reviewing the Jacksonville Jaguars. I disagree with virtually every point you make. No GM hits on every pick. Aldon will likely be back this season and was off to the greatest start as a sackmaster in NFL history. Eric Reid is looking like the NFL Defensive rookie of the year. AJ Jenkins, well. you got me there.
    When you are an NFC Champion it is extremely difficult for rookies to come in as starters, you can’t hold that against them or Baalke.
    Part of the 2012 draft was traded away to allow for moving up and acquiring players in the 2013 draft.
    The Secondary is playing great but some parts will need to be replaced like we replaced Goldson with Reid and improved in the process.
    Kilgore has looked good but he has a former Pro Bowl center in front of him with a line that most people think is the best in football.
    The 49ers coaching staff were considered miracle workers for the turnaround they did compared to the previous regime and only will need to be replaced when the leave for head coaching positions elsewhere.
    In short I find no merit whatsoever in your analysis.