Sakamoto: 49ers’ GM Trent Baalke Receives Mixed Reviews For 2012 Off-Season Moves

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

So far so good for San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke as he passes with flying colors during his first two years as the team’s General Manager. In 2010 (Part 1) and 2011 (Part 2) Baalke received a thumbs up from me thus far. How will he fare in his third season (2012)? Will he get a thumbs up, thumbs down, or no decision?


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2012 Draft Class

1st Round (No. 30): WR A.J. Jenkins

Analysis: The 49ers clearly needed a wide-receiver but to reach for a projected mid-to-late second-round pick was concerning. Baalke clearly missed on this pick. I was critical of the selection, as I thought the team should have selected either CB Janoris Jenkins or G Kelechi Osomele but the 49ers had the name sealed in an envelope already. One of the 49ers all-time busts, this was by far Baalke’s worst pick to date.

Review: Thumbs Down

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2nd Round (No. 61): RB LaMichael James

Getty Images

Getty Images

Analysis: To be honest, I absolutely loved the pick, as Baalke drafted the best player available on their board. In fact, I remember many Forever Faithful loving this pick as well. However, LMJ never panned out in San Francisco as he had fumbling problems and numerous injuries throughout his career. A luxury pick as the team already had RB Frank Gore and RB Kendall Hunter at their disposal, the vision for LMJ was to be a special-teams return man.

Review: Thumbs Down

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4th Round (No. 117): G Joe Looney

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

Analysis: The 49ers needed depth at guard and drafted the Wake Forest product. The 49ers thought so highly of Looney that they moved up 8 spots with the Detroit Lions, as they traded their sixth-round draft pick. However, Looney never really got the opportunity to shine in San Francisco and is now flourishing with the Tennessee Titans. Bad move by Baalke as I thought they should have kept Looney over G/C Ian Silberman.

Review: Thumbs Down

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5th Round (No. 165): OLB Darius Fleming

Analysis: The team could have drafted WR Marvin Jones (Cal), RG Andrew Tiller (Syracuse), or S George Iloka (Boise St.) as I liked all of them better than Fleming. The Notre Dame product would never see the field for the 49ers, as he tore his ACL twice during his tenure with the team. He currently plays for the New England Patriots.

Review: Thumbs Down

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6th Round (No. 180): FS Trenton Robinson

Analysis: Robinson was never anything special but considering what was on the board — it was worth a shot. Can’t put blame on Baalke when looking at what was left in a very weak draft class. Robinson played in San Francisco for one season before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. He currently plays for the Washington Redskins (2013-present).

Review: No Decision

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6th Round (No. 199): G Jason Slowey

Analysis: How many 6th round picks make an NFL roster? Not very many. Not much was left on the board when the 49ers made this pick.

Review: No Decision

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7th Round (No. 237): DE/OLB Cam Johnson

Analysis: Johnson was a nice pick up in the 7th round. A player who had the ability to make the team, Johnson’s tenure in San Francisco was cut short due to injuries. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2013 in exchange for a conditional draft pick. He currently plays for the Cleveland Browns.

Review: No Decision

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2012 Undrafted rookie free-agents

TE Garrett Celek

celek

Analysis: Celek has been a pleasant surprise for the Forever Faithful. A player who has worked well in three tight-end sets, Celek has worked his way up the ladder to be the team’s starting tight-end before being injured earlier this year.

Review: Thumbs Up

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RB Jewel Hampton

Analysis: He played for the 49ers for two seasons and didn’t do much aside from playing mainly on the team’s scout team.

Review: Thumbs Down

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DE Tony Jerod-Eddie

Screen shot 2015-12-06 at 1.11.38 PM

Analysis: TJE was another nice undrafted rookie free-agent pickup by Baalke. A solid addition to the team’s defensive line, TJE continues to play a nice role on the team’s nickel defense.

Review: Thumbs Up

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G Al Netter

Analysis: Netter didn’t really net into anything special for the team as he played mainly on the team’s practice squad.

Review: Thumbs Down

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S Michael Thomas

Analysis: Thomas was a nice addition to the team after playing his college ball at the Farm (Stanford). However, he would later be be picked up by the Miami Dolphins in 2013 and currently plays for them today.

Review: Thumbs Up

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ILB Michael Wilhoite

AP

AP

Analysis: Wilhoite would prove to be a very valuable special-teams player during his first two seasons in San Francisco. A player who went undrafted in the 2011, Wilhoite played for the Omaha Nighthawks before being signed to the 49ers practice squad. Today, he is the team’s starting inside linebacker alongside ILB NaVorro Bowman when healthy.

Review: Thumbs Up

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2012 Free-Agents Signings

WR Chad Hall (Eagles), WR Randy Moss (UFA), G Leonard Davis (Lions), LB Clark Haggans (Cardinals), CB Perrish Cox (Broncos), S Darcel McBath (Jaguars), WR Mario Manningham (Giants), RB Brandon Jacobs (Giants), QB Josh Johnson (Bucs) and WR Ricardo Lockette (Seahawks) — players re-signed WR Ted Ginn, FS Dashon Goldson (Franchised), CB Carlos Rogers, QB Alex Smith, LB Tavares Gooden, and ILB Larry Grant.

Analysis: The 49ers didn’t have many holes on both sides of the ball other than wide-receiver. That’s why Baalke picked up Moss and Manningham. However, Manningham was injury prone that season while Moss did a very nice job as the complementary No. 2 wide-receiver opposite of WR Michael Crabtree.

With that being said, it would have been nice to see the 49ers go after WR Brandon Lloyd. But Baalke did keep Goldson for another season while extending Pro Bowl cornerback Rogers which kept the best secondary in the NFL intact.

Review: Thumbs Up

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2011 Free-Agents Who Departed via Free-Agency

WR Braylon Edwards (Seahawks), WR Josh Morgan (Redskins), CB Shawntae Spencer (Raiders), FS Madieu Williams (Redskins), G Adam Snyder (Cardinals), G Chilo Rachal (Bears), FS Reggie Smith (Panthers), FB Moran Norris (Texans), and ILB Blake Costanzo (Bears)

Analysis: Just look at this list and you can see that Baalke was wise to cut where needed. None of these players outside of Costanzo were worth keeping and the team needed cap space for Goldson and Rogers.

Review: Thumbs Up

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FINAL SCORE: 6 Thumbs Up, 6 Thumbs Down, and 3 No Decision

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 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 ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.

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