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What Experts Said about 49ers 2016 Draft Class

Posted Apr 25, 2017

Before we find out the names of this year's draft class, let's first look back at how the team's haul from 2016 was initially received in the media.

Draft day has finally arrived. After months of evaluation, guessing and speculation, the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday night at 5 p.m. PT with the first round. Keep up to date with all of the 49ers draft news here.

But before we find out the names of this year's San Francisco 49ers draft class, let's first look back at how the team's haul from 2016 was initially received by the media.

DeForest Buckner, Joshua Garnett, Rashard Robinson and Ronald Blair all played key roles on a young San Francisco 49ers roster in 2016. Buckner was selected to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team. As a Day 1 starter, the seventh overall pick posted six sacks and 73 tackles in 2016.

Meanwhile, John Theus, Aaron Burbridge and Prince Charles Iworah contributed on special teams. Will Redmond spent the season on the Reserve/Injured List with an ACL injury.

All of the below comments were written in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 draft:

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks

Analysis: “DeForest Buckner will join former Oregon teammate Arik Armstead on the front line to give the 49ers a long, rangy set of defenders to build around. Will Redmond and Rashard Robinson will compete for playing time on the perimeter as sub-package corners.”

“Ronald Blair is a productive pass rusher with a non-stop motor. He could crack the rotation as a situational rusher on passing downs."

NFL.com's Chad Reuter

Analysis: "Buckner is an excellent pick in the top seven as the impact defensive end they've missed since Justin Smith has left. Garnett is my favorite offensive line prospect in this draft, and the 49ers need to replace Alex Boone.”

“In Round 4, Robinson's athleticism was worth the gamble. They got great value in the Blair pick. He should be a starter as a five-technique despite a poor combine workout. Theus and Cooper are swing tackle candidates who should only get better with time.”

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.

Analysis: "I'm a fan of DeForest Buckner, but you expect to get a top-10 player if you're drafting in the top 10. They used valuable draft assets to get Joshua Garnett, a player they clearly coveted.”

“I like the addition of Ronald Blair in the fifth round. There's a clear emphasis on finding some depth at cornerback and perhaps some developmental options on the offensive line.”


PFF's Steve Palazzolo

Analysis: "One of the best picks in the draft, the 49ers took the No. 2 player on the PFF draft board in Buckner, as he happens to be a perfect fit for their 3-4 scheme. He’s a disruptive presence against the run. San Francisco then traded back into the first round to secure the top run-blocking guard in the draft in Garnett.”

“Robinson didn’t play in 2015, but his length and speed made him a coveted mid-round option. Blair’s 42.7 overall grade ranked 13th in the draft class, as he can make plays against the run and as a pass rusher though he has to get stronger at the point of attack in the run game.”

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