I wanted to say something about how we draft and what I like about it specifically. In a word it is efficiency. We don't waste any picks. Sure we pick guys that don't develop late in the draft and we pick a bust here or there but in general every pick brings us value in some sense or another. Not every pick is drafted to be a starter, in fact most picks are drafted to fill out the roster and allow a guy to develop. We have a tried and true system to develop guys that uses our higher quality developmental players in special teams and bit roles, our next tier that doesn't dress and then our sort of in-house minor league using the practice squad and stashing guys on injured reserve.
I've broken down this draft to show how I think Oz and Co. sees things and the value each player brought us. I put our picks into 3 categories; Solid Roles, Depth and Development, and Development and Depth. Basically every pick brings us value without everyone having to get real playing time this year.
Solid Roles = Have significant roles on the team
Mosley and Brooks look to see real time this year.
Mosley - Starter in ST and ILB2
There is no doubt that he is our ILB of the future and it wouldn't surprise me to see him take over at the ILB1 spot and push D.Smith to ILB2, and pair Mosley and Brown in certain situations. We have some good pieces to move around.
Brooks - Starter in ST. Compete for FS1
Right now there isn't anyone on the roster to assume he can't grab the top FS spot but that seems a little quick for Harbaugh. I kind of assume we pick up a solid vet to ease us into the Brooks/Elam era.
Depth and Development = Adds immediate depth to the team that we are developing to take a larger role next year
Jernigan - DT/DE Rotation
He will be in the DT/DE rotation as well as a contributor on special teams but depending on camp he might be our 1st player not to dress similar to Williams last year and Tyson the year before. Still Jernigan seems ready to contribute right away and is functional/quality depth on the team. He should develop nicely and quickly. There's nothing to say he doesn't play in the rotation from day one pushing out Cody and/or Williams but it is just about how the numbers work out. I don't buy that he comes in as our starter but he will see plenty of snaps this year.
Gilmore - TE3 and developmental
It looks like he will see time in ST and as our blocking TE which could classify him under solid roles but generally speaking I feel like he won't see much action right away unless he shows good enough blocking to justify not using an additional tackle (that is already dressed) in jumbo packages. He provides depth and a small role in the short term but should be ready to be the complement to Pitta by next year. This pick is about next year but we will expect him to compete. Preseason will say a lot. Reminds me of the Juice pick from last year.
RB Taliaferro - RB3/RB4
Kubiak has a history of turning big backs with moderate speed into solid production. He will get his opportunity in preseason to really show if he's ready. Early in the year without Rice he has an opportunity to get RB2 carries if he beats out Forsett. In any case it has become obvious that running with two main backs and fringe players behind them isn't enough insurance over the course of a year.
Development and Depth = Players that need immediate development to provide functional depth - true developmental players (a year or two away)
Brent Urban - Developmental/Injured DT/DE
He reminds me of Lewis-Moore from last year in that he isn't healthy and slid because of it. In Urban's case he has the physical tools and explosiveness but didn't quite put it together on film due to injury and system. He needs a few months to get healthy and is probably a year away from really contributing. If he is close by camp expect him to make the team and not dress otherwise look for an IR stash late in preseason.
Urshel - Developmental C
He is the wiz kid we hope can be smart enough to overcome a lack of physical tools. Centers need to be smart and are less required to dominate physically so that seems like a fit but he's behind quite a few players in the pecking order so this looks like an eventual PSquad or IR stash. Zuttah, Gino, Shipley and Jensen all look to be ahead of him but I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two of those players cut. I doubt he has a chance to get real playing time this year but anytime you get a genius level football player I think you try to develop him.
Wenning - Developmental QB
This pick was a mystery to me in that I don't really see how he even develops into our back-up, but my betters must see something. It looks like he can become a solid West Coast system guy but clearly a developmental player.
Campanaro - Developmental Slot WR
He was labelled as developmental slot guy from the FO, so it is obvious that's where he is. I love the look of him, dream about him having a killer camp and prying his way to the team but he's a year or two away and another PS/IR type guy. What not to love about a fast, tough undersized slot guy? Well the undersized part and the lack of polish on his game so far. I think he has a good chance of having a career in this league but not this year.
You can disagree with me on what these guys are or how you think Oz and Co. sees them but my main point is we aren't drafting these guys all to play this year and letting those weak fall by the wayside. We will use the PSquad and IR stash to give the least ready developmental players time to come along, but if after two years they aren't ready or good enough to earn those developmental spots next year we cut replace them. Most won't pan out to starters but some will and many will be productive on ST. All in all we build the team by allowing players to get better and learn our system and all in all it works. Great draft.