San Francisco 49ers

NFL draft: While 49ers make the grade, analysts throw Raiders the shade

Grading how well the 49ers did in the NFL Draft

49ers beat reporter Matt Barrows assesses how well the team did with their first-round picks in the NFL Draft.
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49ers beat reporter Matt Barrows assesses how well the team did with their first-round picks in the NFL Draft.

The 49ers had a solid draft. At least that’s what several websites are saying.

The Raiders? Not so much.

A roundup of nine sites suggests that the 49ers looked like seasoned veterans during the 2017 NFL draft with seven A grades and a low of B-. Not bad for a first-time GM.

Those same sites weren’t too high on the team across the bay. The Raiders had five B grades, including a high of B+, but one site gave the team a D-.

Here’s a look at the full draft list for the 49ers and Raiders, and the grades from the nine sites:

THE PICKS

49ers

Round 1, Pick 3 Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford

Round 1, Pick 31 (No. 31) Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Round 3, Pick 2 (No. 66) Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado

Round 4, Pick 15 (No. 121) Joe Williams, RB, Utah

Round 5, Pick 2 (No. 146) George Kittle, TE, Iowa

Round 5, Pick 34 (No. 177) Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech

Round 6, Pick 14 (No. 198) D.J. Jones, DT, Mississippi

Round 6, Pick 18 (No. 202) Pita Taumoepenu, DL, Utah

Round 7, Pick 11 (No. 229) Adrian Colbert, DB, Miami

Raiders

Round 1, Pick 24 (No. 24) Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Round 2, Pick 24 (No. 56) Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

Round 3, Pick 24 (No. 88) Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA

Round 4, Pick 23 (No. 129) David Sharpe, OT, Florida

Round 5, Pick 24 (No. 168) Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest

Round 7, Pick 3 (No. 221) Shalom Luani, S, Washington State

Round 7, Pick 13 (No. 231) Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State

Round 7, Pick 24 (No. 242) Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina

Round 7, Pick 26 (No. 244) Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo

THE GRADES

NFL.com

49ers: B+

“In Round 1, the 49ers got their guy at No. 3, and picked up two thirds (one future) and a fourth in the process. That’s a big win. They picked the second-best player in the draft in Solomon Thomas. Then Reuben Foster was sitting there just waiting for someone to grab him, so they traded a fourth-round pick to Seattle to get him. If Foster’s shoulder is OK, he’ll be another Patrick Willis in the middle. ...”

Raiders: B+

“As long as Conley’s off-field issues are cleared up, the Raiders got the long, agile, ballhawk they needed. If he gets in trouble, then GM Reggie McKenzie will have to answer for the pick. ... If Oakland gets the junior-year Eddie Vanderdoes, they’ll like his interior push; if he’s the 2016 Vanderdoes, they might not like what they see.”

ESPN’s Mel Kiper

49ers: A-

“John Lynch went straight from the booth to a general manager role, but didn't look like a rookie GM in his first draft. On the first night, he made two smart trades and added two prospects (Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster) I ranked in my top eight overall. ... Even if you didn't love these players, you'd have to say bravo to the maneuvering. ...”

Raiders: C

“This is obviously a really difficult class to be assessing, given all that was swirling around Gareon Conley going into the draft, and without much time to gather information. I really just need to remove him from the equation here. On ability, he's a top-15 player, and the Raiders obviously feel comfortable with what they know of his off-field situation. But that situation really transcends a discussion of player value. I do think the Raiders could have taken a few other players in that spot and felt good about it. ...”

Fox Sports

49ers: A-

“Nine absolutely perfect picks. Grade A picks. I particularly love the Reuben Foster and George Kittle selections. Then ... QB C.J. Beathard in the third round. I don't know many people who had him as a draftable prospect – we all hope he works out as an NFL player, but that's an F pick, bringing down the 49ers' winning grade.”

Raiders: B

“A great first three rounds – so long as Gareon Conley is exonerated – led to a strange day three. David Sharpe is a worthy project, but a reach in round four and waiting until Marquel Lee's selection in the fifth round to address the team's biggest need, linebacker, was risky.”

Washington Post

49ers: A

“Who says you need NFL front office experience to make this stuff work? If the first draft overseen by John Lynch, the supposed novice GM of the 49ers, is any indication, more teams should be scouring the TV broadcast booths for general manager candidates. Lynch did very well. He took advantage of the Bears’ folly to trade down a spot and take the player at No. 3 overall, Solomon Thomas, who made perfect sense at No. 2. He traded back up into the first round to get LB Reuben Foster. Other teams seemed wary of a variety of issues with Foster, principally a shoulder problem. But he can play. ...”

Raiders: C-

“Some within the league were surprised that the Raiders used a first-round pick on Gareon Conley with him being investigated for a sexual assault allegation in Cleveland. He says he is innocent and, clearly, the Raiders believe him. His on-field talent was well worth a first-round choice but was using such an early selection justified, given the circumstances? The Raiders did get a good second-round value in S Obi Melifonwu.”

USA Today

49ers: A

“New GM John Lynch heard the Matt Millen comparisons after his surprise hire in January. But after brilliantly manipulating his first draft, maybe he's earned more faith he can restore the Niners to their former glory. Lynch picked up two third rounders and a fourth for simply flipping his No. 2 choice for Chicago's No. 3 – a nice payout given the rebuild facing Lynch and new coach Kyle Shanahan. ...”

Raiders: C

“High ceilings and low floors for the first three selections. CB Gareon Conley would likely not have lasted to pick No. 24 had he not been accused of rape in the days before the draft. But he’s a wonderful addition if his record is as clean as he's claimed. Second-round DB Obi Melifonwu is a physical marvel but maybe not the most instinctive player. Third-round DT Eddie Vanderdoes could plug a glaring hole in the trenches if his burst is back after a lackluster 2016 season when he was recovering from knee surgery.”

Bleacher Report

49ers: A-

“Especially after the draft-day failures of former general manager Trent Baalke, first-year GM John Lynch impressed. He deftly took advantage of the Bears’ desperation to get Mitchell Trubisky, and there are potential contributors all along this list. ...”

Raiders: B-

“Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is rightfully regarded as one of the best personnel men in the NFL, but taking Conley this high before the whole story is told is a major risk, no matter how much due diligence the team has done. ...”

SB Nation

49ers: B-

“First-year general manager John Lynch had a notable first draft for the 49ers. He fleeced the Bears to move down a pick and still get the player he wanted in defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. The move was crafty, and the 49ers got a player who can use power and quickness to get into the backfield. Lynch then packaged his second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to move back into the first round to get free-falling linebacker Reuben Foster. The Alabama stud should develop into the leader on San Francisco’s defense. ...”

Raiders: B-

“The Raiders were another team that came into the draft needing to fix their secondary, and they did so with their first two picks. First-round pick Gareon Conley surprised many because of his current ongoing legal issue. But if he’s in the clear, the placement fits the value. Safety Obi Melifonwu is a classic Raiders pick in that he’s a big athlete. Melifonwu has excellent range for a safety and was productive at Connecticut. After those two, it’s hard to see immediate help from this draft class. ...”

Sporting News

49ers: A

“In his first draft, GM John Lynch was focused on stockpiling for this year and beyond, helped by that brilliant trade down with the Bears. Rebuilding the defense was a wise priority, with offensive depth next.”

Raiders: D-

“The Raiders had nine picks, but it was a struggle vs. previous much better draft and offseason hauls from Reggie McKenzie. Conley’s gambling style isn’t worth the character risk, and Melifonwu and Vanderdoes were taken more because they look the part than anything else. Those early picks had an Al Davis feel to them. ...”

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