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Technically Solid or Teachable Upside?

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  • Technically Solid or Teachable Upside?

    There are some players in this draft at key positions of need that are technically sound (the obvious examples are at CB, Patrick Surtain, and at OT Rashawn Slater) and others who may have greater tools but have some glitches in technique that will have to be improved upon before they can realize their potential (such as CB Jaycee Horn, or Sam Cosmi at OT). San Francisco faces this question with the third pick in the draft: pick a more finished product with less upside (Mac Jones), or gamble on someone with more physical tools (Trey Lance, or Justin Fields) but lower floors, if they can't make significant progress as pros.

    With our past coaching staffs, it may have made sense to favor players who had already proven themselves in college. But if you trust the current coaching staff, does it make more sense to be more willing to swing for the fences, and choose the physically superior but rawer prospect? I strongly suspect that is what the 9ers will do, because they trust that Shanahan can develop the QB they select.

    Of course, it's not just physical tools. A prospect must have the right mental makeup, to be motivated to put in the time and study to become great. And as fans, we rarely get the information necessary to evaluate that part of the picture. But if we hired Staley because he is a fantastic teacher, and his choices for staff reflect his teaching philosophy, should we be drafting rawer but more physically gifted prospects?

    Maybe it also depends upon the team's situation. If the team is missing only a couple of pieces to make a strong Super Bowl push, maybe the more ready prospect with less physical upside makes sense. If the window doesn't look like it will swing wide open for another year or two, more gambles on greatness might be the wiser choice.

    So should we prefer players who can play almost immediately, or those who are rawer but with more upside?

  • #2
    I’d prefer the coachable ones with higher upside, especially on defense. I’d be really happy to make the playoffs in 2021, but realistically, our super bowl push won’t come until 2022 or later. Why not draft prospects who will maximize their potential to fit that time frame?

    The LT position may be the exception. We can’t afford to have a super raw prospect ‘learn on the job’ at the expense of Herbert’s health. If our guy isn’t there in R1, we have to take the most NFL ready tackle in R2.

    Anything beyond that is too risky.
    1. Slater/Darrisaw, LT
    2. Richie Grant, S
    3A. Adebo/Melifonwu, CB
    3B. Osa Odighizuwa, DL
    4. Elerson Smith, EDGE
    5. Robert Hainsey, OL
    6A. Fehoko/Imatorbhebhe, WR
    6B. Ben Mason, TE/H-Back/ST
    7. Avery Williams, NCB/ST Returner

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    • #3
      I remember reading discussions on this topic prior to the 2016 draft. Pundits were stating that Joey Bosa was so well coached that he had already maxed out his potential. The argument was that he may be the better player today but not the better prospect because, with the right coaching, others had more upside.

      I understand and appreciate the argument but disagreed then and disagree now.

      I see it as a matter of personality, coachability, and dedication.

      Unless there is some type of paradigm shift, an athletic freak who underachieves in college is not going to suddenly figure it out as a pro.

      A college player who puts in the time, learns from his coaches, and masters a skill stands a better chance of doing the same at the pro level.

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      • #4
        As you've probably noticed, I like Samuel Cosmi. But Cosmi could get be better if he kept his pad level lower consistently and used his hands better. On the other hand, I love Alijah Vera-Tucker's hand fighting and technique.

        James Hudson is another prospect that could be really good with more technique work and experience.

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        • #5
          looking at the 2 undisputed GOATs at their positions Brady and Rice I would say average physical ability but great technician, hard worker and mentally tough (this would apply to a LT also)

          EDIT: in the late rounds (5-7) get guys with huge upside and teach them)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bolt Dude View Post
            I’d prefer the coachable ones with higher upside, especially on defense. I’d be really happy to make the playoffs in 2021, but realistically, our super bowl push won’t come until 2022 or later. Why not draft prospects who will maximize their potential to fit that time frame?

            The LT position may be the exception. We can’t afford to have a super raw prospect ‘learn on the job’ at the expense of Herbert’s health. If our guy isn’t there in R1, we have to take the most NFL ready tackle in R2.

            Anything beyond that is too risky.
            ^ This...at LT, need a plug-n-play starter...

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