It’s always fun to look back at previous drafts and have “what if” conversations. Since I am a 49er fan, the first round of the 2007 NFL draft was a bonanza. The Niners selected Patrick Willis with pick #11 and Joe Staley with pick #28. Until Willis retired in 2015, the Niners were a powerhouse and Staley continues to play at a high level.
A great “what if” question is, what if the Houston Texans drafted Willis ahead of the Niners and he didn’t suffer the career ending toe/foot injuries? The Texans would then have Watt, Mercilus, Clowney, Cushing and Willis. That defense has been dominant w/o Willis. Think of the possibilities with him…
And, if that happened, “what if” the Niners selected Marshawn Lynch (Beast Mode)?
What I really want to focus on are the QB’s drafted in 2007:
#1 Jamarcus Russell
#22 Brady Quinn
#36 Kevin Kolb
#40 John Beck
#42 Drew Stanton
The top 5 QB’s drafted that year had 2 “can’t miss” players (Russell and Quinn). The results (or the lack of) speak for themselves. This year, there are no “can’t miss” QB’s. The point is that picking any of the top 2017 QB prospects in the first round can be very risky.
As a Niner fan, since Myles Garrett will be selected #1 by the Browns, I recommend that the Niners trade down to get an additional draft pick either this year or next. They can then pick the best available linebacker (Reuben Foster, Haason Reddick or Zack Cunningham). Then select the best available wide receiver as their top two picks. This year’s draft is filled with quality receivers. They should then fill out the linebacking core through round 4. The Niners were not able to stop anyone’s running game last year. With NaVarro Bowman coming back and paired with new hungry LB’s, we should have an improved defense.
As far as QB’s, the Niners should go with Brian Hoyer this year, then sign Kirk Cousins as a free agent next year. Additionally, if the Niners have a bunch of draft picks next year, they should go all in and try to draft Sam Darnold, the USC QB, as their future.
I feel fairly confident that the Lynch/Shanahan team will do the right things to get this team back on track.