ESPN Mel Kiper ‘Questions’ Joshua Garnett Pick: “A Clear Reach For 49ers”


Not everyone is in agreement with me in regards to the San Francisco 49ers striking gold in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. A team that has a plethora of needs across the board, one has to wonder why 49ers GM Trent Baalke made the move to trade back up in the first-round knowing that G Joshua Garnett may have been there in the second-round (No. 37).

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area asked Baalke if they reached for Garnett out of ‘fear’ of possibly facing him twice a year [Seahawks]. “Well I don’t know fearful for facing him twice a year. We looked at the next seven, eight picks and who was sitting there and their needs and for us, it just, you know, why not?” Baalke said.

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Many Forever Faithful were tweeting afterwards that Garnett was a reach based on what NFL analysts were saying and ESPN’s Mel Kiper is no exception. Immediately following the draft, Kiper gave his assessment on the winners and losers on day one. To no one’s surprise he had four teams on the questionable list including the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and of course, 49ers.

“I think the 49ers got solid value with the addition of DeForest Buckner at No. 7 overall. But the trade up to get back in the first round and grab Joshua Garnett of Stanford — the No. 67 player on my board — was a little bit of a surprise and a clear reach for me. They do have some flexibility, thanks to a surplus of picks, and that’s what puts you in position to simply target and add the guy you want. One thought that came to mind later was that perhaps they felt Seattle, a team in dire need of offensive line help, would grab Garnett with the final pick in Round 1,” Kiper said.

Do I believe the 49ers reached for Garnett? Yes. Do I believe they should have sat like a sitting duck while other guard ‘needy’ teams ahead of them like the Carolina Panthers (No. 31), Seahawks (No. 32), and Tennessee Titans (No. 33), may have taken what ESPN and PFF has identified as the best interior run blocker in the draft? No.

What may have been a solid pick due to draft position when those three teams were on the clock, that wasn’t the case with San Francisco. However, in the end I strongly believe Baalke made the right move by staying true to his board and addressing a pressing need down in the trenches.

You may have screamed for an edge-rusher, but those are plentiful in this year’s draft while the offensive line is slim pickings.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.