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Why Kiper believes 49ers reached on all Day 2 draft picks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
ESPN's top draft experts gave mixed reviews on the 49ers' decision to select Trey Lance with the third overall pick, as Mel Kiper Jr. listed it as one of his head-scratching selections, while Todd McShay said the 49ers "got it right."
When it comes to Day 2, Kiper Jr. again believes the 49ers reached on each of the team's three selections.
First, the 49ers chose Notre Dame product Aaron Banks, a Bay Area native and strong offensive lineman who played college football with San Francisco offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. Kiper isn't sold on Banks being able to start on the 49ers' O-line from day one.
"Banks is a big, 6-foot-5 lineman who has played guard and center, but Quinn Meinerz is higher in my rankings. Banks went a round too early. I don't think he's a surefire rookie starter, which is what teams need to get if they're taking a guard in the second round," Kiper wrote Friday night.
After Banks went to the 49ers 48th overall, the team elected to select Ohio State running back Trey Sermon at No. 88. Sermon was an explosive college player who spent time at two major programs after transferring to the Buckeyes from Oklahoma, but Kiper had him listed as a Day 3 selection.
"I have Sermon ranked behind Michael Carter, a diminutive dynamo with more explosiveness than Sermon. The Niners likely could have gotten Sermon in Round 4. We know the Shanahans get production out of late-round and even undrafted tailbacks, so I was surprised they took him this early."
To close out the night, the 49ers elected to address a position of need and select Michigan's Ambry Thomas. Kiper had a much lower grade on Thomas than the 49ers appear to have had, believing the team could have gotten the cornerback in the sixth round.
Year after year, we see that many first-round picks don't live up to their draft slot, while later-round selections and even undrafted free agents end up taking advantage of an opportunity and outperforming what was projected by talent evaluators.
It will be a few years until we truly know just how well the 49ers did with this draft class, but nevertheless, there will be plenty of opinions on the group between now and then.