2012 NFL Draft Grades: San Francisco 49ers
Round 1, Pick 30 (30) A. J. Jenkins WR Illinois: Grade D
-This was the biggest reach of the first round for me. Jenkins is a nice receiver if you were selecting in the 3rd or 4th round, but this is far too high to take him. It was made even worse by reaching for a guy at the deepest position in the draft. Yes receiver is a long term need, but this is a pick that the 49ers will probably wish to have back in a couple of years.
Round 2, Pick 29 (61) LaMichael James RB Oregon: Grade C
-LaMichael James is an explosive weapon out of the backfield, who can create big plays running, receiving and on special teams, but this is still a head scratcher for me. The 49ers just drafted Kendall Hunter last season and he has a very similar skill set. Neither player figures to every be the feature back and their skills are redundant. I just have a hard time believing that the 49ers can get the ball in James’s hands enough to justify this selection.
Round 4, Pick 22 (117) (From Lions) Joe Looney G Wake Forest: Grade B-
-This is a pretty good pick for the 49ers as Looney fills a need and if healthy presents great value. Looney’s health is a bit of a question, but in the late 4th round that concern isn’t as big a factor. Although I would consider Looney a prospect with a ton of potential, he should develop into an above average starter.
Round 5, Pick 30 (165) Darius Fleming OLB Notre Dame: Grade C+
-Fleming looks to be a situational pass rusher/special teamer at the next level. While the 49ers are set at their starters, it is important to have strong depth and maybe down the road look for inventive ways to get him on the field even when the starters are still there. This might be slightly high for him, but it’s a good scheme fit which mitigates that risk.
Round 6, Pick 10 (180) (From Panthers) Trent Robinson FS Michigan St.: Grade B
-This is a nice late round pick-up for the 49ers. Robinson had good mid-late round value, and should develop into a nice back-up/special teamer. He might never be a full time starter, but should be decent fill-in guy down the road.
Round 6, Pick 29 (199) Jason Slowey C Western Oregon: Grade C
-The 49ers needed some additional depth here, but there appeared to be far better names on the board, and Slowey seems like a guy they could have targeted in undrafted free agency.
Round 7, Pick 30 (237) Cam Johnson DE Virginia: Grade A
-There were some questions surrounding Cam Johnson, but there is no way he should have fallen this far. He’s got really good upside, and could be an impact pass rusher down the road. While this wasn’t a need pick, it could pay off big time for the 49ers.
I just really wasn’t a fan of what the 49ers did. Yes they were a team without too many pressing needs, but that didn’t give them license to take massive risks. A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James are just that and if they aren’t producing by year three it will set this team back. San Francisco did pick up nice value with some of their later round picks which helps their grade a little bit, but it might not be enough to make up for the top two picks if they flop.