How the 49ers’ 2013 NFL Draft Class Hurts Now
Yes, general manager John Lynch and the 49ers are still feeling the ramifications of Trent Baalke’s efforts from 2013.
For starters, only four of the 11 selections — Eric Reid, Tank Carradine, Vance McDonald and Quinton Dial — remain on San Francisco’s roster. Perhaps it’s a bit of “addition by subtraction” regarding the rest. But this ideally would be the time when 2013 draft picks would be entering the prime of their respective careers.
It’s hard to say the Niners have any caliber of player like that now.
Eric Reid in a Prove-It Year
Two of the four Niners from this list are in contract years, and the 49ers will have a tough decision regarding Reid.
On one hand, San Francisco could use an upgrade here. True, Reid’s move down to free safety might be the best thing for him. And if Lynch elects to re-sign him between now and 2018, any pending problems at this position would likely be put off for a while.
Tank Carradine’s Last Chance
I’ve written a few articles, to put it lightly, about how Carradine will finally break out and live up to expectations. And year after year, I’m left wondering what happened.
Carradine’s extension a year ago sort of made sense. His preseason efforts as an EDGE looked good enough to suggest he was just a late bloomer and would finally turn the corner at the pro level.
But nothing of the sort happened, and Carradine is left looking at the new 4-3 alignment — his natural collegiate position and scheme — as his final opportunity.
And now, the 49ers are still left scrambling for a prolific pass-rusher.
Vance McDonald an Unwanted Commodity
McDonald was the subject of trade talks before the NFL Draft, speaking to how the new 49ers brass feels about him moving forward.
It makes sense the Niners would want to trade him and his contract, which expires in 2021. That extension was surely strange. Only weeks away from being fired, Baalke somehow thought extending McDonald would be a good idea.
All that despite a less-than-inconsistent production level and more frustration than intrigue.
So if San Francisco releases him this offseason, the team will be on the hook for $3.5 million in dead money.
Quinton Dial an Expensive Reserve
Like McDonald and Carradine, Dial received a similar extension, only his expires in 2019.
Dial is a good contributor on an OK defensive line, but he’s far from elite. That’s fine, especially for a former fifth-round pick, but Dial’s $2.76 million cap hit in 2017 makes him awfully expensive for a backup.
Consider this — the Niners have invested three consecutive first-round picks in their defensive line with Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas over the past three years.
Dial still may be a worthy backup, especially since he can play a variety of positions along the D-line.
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It’s important to understand how Baalke’s picks from 2013, and subsequent drafts thereafter, put the 49ers in a position where a complete rebuild was absolutely necessary.
Just look at this class though. Only four players remain, and only two of those — Reid and Dial — look as moderate solutions to the problems San Francisco is handling today.
Subsequent drafts, such as 2014 and 2015, may not have wielded as bad results. And some of those players are still providing a good enough impact to keep them out of the discussion of Baalke’s worst.
But this elongated rebuild was extremely compounded by the failures experienced in 2013. 2012 was bad enough, but what happened a year later put San Francisco in a position of failure.