What the Jimmy G. win streak will really cost the 49ers in the draft

Even after late-season run, the Niners are still in line to snag one of the best non-QBs

Tommy Call
January 13, 2018 - 2:04 pm

The NFL season is over for the 49ers, but yet another important season of its own is right around the corner — draft time.

Leading up to April, I will be looking at different prospects and scenarios for the 49ers draft.  Before we get into specific names, let’s look at where the 49ers will be drafting and how much the team’s last-season winning streak impacted the club’ draft position.

“The 49ers should lose-out to get a higher draft pick.”

That phrase was commonly heard around the Bay Area as the 49ers rattled off five wins to end their season. At this juncture of the NFL postseason, the Niners are slated to pick No. 10. So, that Jimmy Garoppolo run hardly cost the team much.

The most important thing the 49ers did all season to benefit themselves in April’s draft was trading for Garoppolo.

He solves so much for this team and makes the draft so much more interesting. Now instead of speculating on what QB would fit best with Kyle Shanahan the 49ers are sitting in the always favorable “best player available” situation.

As much as I would like to see Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield in Shanahan’s system, it’s something 49er fans don’t have to worry about anymore. Regardless, the quarterback market is an area of the draft 49er fans should pay close attention to.

It’s hard to speculate how many QBs will go in the top ten. If we look back to last year’s draft, the Chiefs moved into the top ten and surprised everyone by selecting Pat Mahomes from Texas Tech while it looked like Alex Smith was cemented as the starter.

Anything can happen with quarterbacks and the reason I’m bringing this up is because this is all a good news for the 49ers. General manager John Lynch proved he can squeeze another team dry who is interested in a QB early in the draft. I know there were several people out there hoping the 49ers would lose out to get a higher draft pick, but the difference between prospects drafted in the top five and at nine or ten isn’t that different.

Let’s take a look at the draft order and again (my favorite word of draft season) *speculate* on what teams will be interested in a QB ahead of the 49ers.

1) Cleveland Browns: Need a QB, even though I still fully believe in Deshone Kizer, so maybe hold your horses on the Browns going QB, but they’re the Browns and I feel like it’s a league mandate that the Browns have to draft a QB early.

2) New York Giants: Need to the heir to Eli Manning, so yes interested

3) Indianapolis Colts: Even if Andrew Luck still struggles with injuries, they have Jacoby Brissett, therefore no go on QB

4) Cleveland Browns: chance of drafting two QBs in the top five are highly unlikely, but again like i said earlier it is the Browns, so who really knows what can happen - again for good measure — it is the Browns.

5) Denver Broncos: Need a QB

6) New York Jets: Need a QB

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston is locked in at Qb regardless of his down season.

8) Chicago Bears: Ryan Pace gambled on Mitchell Trubisky last year and Trubisky is locked in as the Bears QB of the future.

Thanks to the $125 million deal, the Raiders probably are locked in with Derek Carr. So realistically, with four teams ahead of the 49ers are interested in a QB that leaves them with the chance of landing a top 5-6 non-QB prospect.

And that’s not accounting for any team who is interested in trading up to draft a QB, so again was it that bad for the 49ers to win their last five games? What did they sacrifice?

There are several positions the 49ers will address in the draft, but they don’t have a glaring hole that needs to be filled with a certain top-end prospect. They are in a position to draft the best available player.

On top of all this, was there a player in the top five you would want to tank for? Please explain what player in this draft was worth sitting through more losses for?

With all that being said, and my *speculation* on what teams will be interested in drafting a QB let’s now take a look on what players will be available for the 49ers to draft at nine or ten?

For this experiment we will use Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s top 20 prospects for the upcoming draft (this was updated on Jan. 8).

1) RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

2) S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

3) OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

4) LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

5) QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

6) DE Bradley Chubb, NC State

7) QB Sam Darnold, USC

8) OT Connor Williams, Texas

9) RB Derrius Guice, LSU

10) CB Josh Jackson, Iowa

11) CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

12) QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

13) QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

14) LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

15) WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

16) S Derwin James, FSU

17) DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

18) DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

19) DE Harold Landry, Boston College

20) S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama

Now that the QBss are gone the 49ers could be in the market for any of Miller’s top-five prospects: Barkley, Fitzpatrick, Nelson, Smith and Chubb.

So if we are going to look at what the late winning streak “cost” the 49ers, it probably cost them the chance at drafting one of these top five players, each would be an upgrade yes, but it is still realistic to say one of these guys will be available when the 49ers are on the clock.

Going back to the 49ers late-season winning streak we’ve only looked at what the 49ers lost out on by winning, but what value do you put on winning five games with a rookie head coach and a new quarterback?

Confidence, morale, building culture or whatever you would like to call it was gained with those wins. Is one of these top prospects more valuable than that?

As draft season progresses check back at 957TheGame.com for more coverage. Send me your draft questions @tommy_iii on Twitter.

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