Last year, the player mentioned most often as a likely 49ers target in the first round was an Oregon defensive lineman. The same scenario played out heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, and once again they surprised absolutely no one.
Uh oh they messed up and let me and @DeForestBuckner back together again. ????????
— Arik Armstead (@arikarmstead) April 29, 2016
They selected DeForest Buckner, who on the surface looks like a rich man’s Arik Armstead. Armstead had 87 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks with Oregon. Buckner had 232 tackles, 36 TFL, and 18 sacks.
It’s easy to see Baalke’s logic here. Buckner is big, and the 49ers REALLY needed to shore up a position that’s going to be asked to do an awful lot with Kelly — a coach both Armstead and Buckner played for in college — revving up the tempo.
- Ian Williams may not be available in Week 1 (or later than that).
- Glenn Dorsey isn’t expected back until November.
- Tank Carradine is hoping that a switch to outside linebacker will turn his pro career around.
Meanwhile, the 49ers finished 27th in passing yards allowed and 29th in rushing yards allowed, and their most recent run of success came when Justin Smith and Ray McDonald controlled the line of scrimmage.
My gut told me the 49ers would take Ronnie Stanley, seeing as Trent Baalke’s best draft was in 2010, when he took over for Scot McCloughan and was in charge when the 49ers selected two offensive linemen in the first round. Plus, Jed York would get to root for an offensive tackle from his alma mater. But Stanley was taken one pick before the 49ers got their chance, as the Ravens made Stanley the first offensive lineman taken. That’s when it became super obvious that Buckner would be the pick.
Why did Stanley go before Laremy Tunsil? Oh, probably because Tunsil had this video appear on his now-deactivated Twitter account before the draft began.
Laremy Tunsil, your #1 O-Line prospect in the draft. pic.twitter.com/kEZsiIlZjn
— Chad (@chadtd3) April 28, 2016
The 49ers didn’t want to take the risk. We’ll see if their decision was correct. Anthony Davis probably thinks they made the wrong move. Jerome Simpson is probably upset that the 49ers passed, as well.
If you’re a fan of Oregon or Pro Football Focus, you love this pick.
49ers take the No. 2 overall player on PFF’s draft board. pic.twitter.com/TSmsIkt1BW
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 29, 2016
If you were hoping the 49ers would do something exciting, like trade up for Jalen Ramsey or trade the pick and Colin Kaepernick to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers, you’re probably a little disappointed. But there’s hope that Armstead and Buckner will form like Voltron, or at least provide something similar to what we saw from Smith and McDonald (before McDonald started doing horrible things) for years to come.