NFL

Baalke insists Redmond will be first member of 49ers’ “Team ACL” to play during rookie season

Trent Baalke 49ers GM

Trent Baalke drafted another player who tore his ACL within the previous seven months, selecting Mississippi State cornerback Will Redmond in the third round last night. Redmond tore his ACL in an October practice; the injury was reported on Oct. 24.

“We’re very confident in the procedure that was done, where he’s at currently in his rehab schedule and just, we know how hard a worker he is,” Baalke said. “So, we’re very confident in his ability to come back, be ready for training camp and be ready to go.”

We’ll see.

  • Keith Reaser tore his ACL on Oct. 5, 2013. His body rejected the cadaver tendon used to repair his ACL, and he missed the 2014 season.
  • Tank Carradine tore his ACL on Nov. 24, 2012. Scar tissue developed in his knee, requiring another surgery after the 2013 season (a season in which Carradine didn’t play).
  • Trey Millard tore his ACL on Oct. 26, 2013 and missed the 2014 season.
  • DeAndre Smelter tore his ACL on Nov. 29, 2014 and missed the 2015 season.

Brandon Thomas and Marcus Lattimore aren’t really good comparisons. Thomas tore his ACL about a month before the 49ers drafted him. Lattimore’s injury wasn’t a garden variety ACL tear.

“I mean, why would you take a running back with two horrible knee injuries?” Lattimore told SB Nation. “I did pretty good, I played good in college, but if I’m a GM I don’t think I would do it.”

As Baalke pointed out last night, he isn’t the only one drafting guys who are recovering from this injury. The Raiders’ first round pick tore his ACL in early-October, for instance. But no team rolls the dice on ACL surgeries turning out successfully more often than the 49ers, and at this point, Baalke’s penchant for drafting guys with knee scars is predictable and exhausting.

To keep things positive, at least we know that Baalke is true to himself. He thinks drafting players who are recovering from injuries is a brilliant strategy, despite the fact that it hasn’t done much to improve the on-field product as of yet.

“I don’t know that’s something I’ll veer away from moving forward,” Baalke said less than two weeks before the draft. “We have 12 picks again and you’re not going to have 12 rookies, 12 draft picks, make your team. So will we look at it? If we feel the value’s right.”

“I don’t think you look at it and say that we’re going to change the way we think,” Baalke said. “I think you have to look at some of those of why we did it. When you have 12 and 13 picks, they’re not all going to make your roster. So to layer it and take a chance on a guy that’s very talented that has more of an upside than some of the other guys … There’s value. Has it always panned out? No. But you go into it knowing that they’re not all going to pan out.”

In other words, his method is genius, we just haven’t realized it yet. You’d think a team with so many needs could use a rookie who can take part in every workout throughout the summer, to get him as ready as possible to contribute in Week 1, but apparently that isn’t the case.

 

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