While it will take years to evaluate these picks thoroughly, two pieces of information about the 49ers have become crystal clear:
- Coach Chip Kelly is not involved in personnel anymore as he has said many times since leaving a powerful post in Philadelphia with roster control, but his fingerprints were all over Thursday night's picks.
The selection of Buckner led many people to roll their eyes. Another Oregon player for Kelly. But really, it was the act of trading up for Garnett that set off a few radars, including that of Stanford head coach David Shaw. Shaw was speaking on NFL Network when the 49ers made the pick. Many thought it would be Connor Cook, a quarterback from Michigan State.
"(He's) one of the best, physical run blockers you're going to see come out of college," Shaw said.
Shaw added: "What a lot of people don't understand about Chip Kelly -- Chip and I have become friends the last couple of years -- Chip Kelly loves to run the football. He loves to run the football. He loves nasty guys with attitude up front and that is what they're getting with Josh Garnett."
Shaw went on to talk about Kelly's "positive yards" philosophy, which falls in line with the pick and Kelly's desire to adapt the power spread offense to San Francisco.
Perhaps we can reason the Garnett pick out. The 49ers already lost Mike Iupati and now Alex Boone plays for the Minnesota Vikings. Guard play is at a premium in the NFL and the 49ers might have gotten the best one available in the draft. That being said, it's clear these two prospects fit a Kelly checklist that has become somewhat famous over the years, right down to their alma maters.
It also means that perhaps Kelly is hoping for the best with Kaepernick, who might very well fit his system better than any of the quarterbacks available in the draft. There's nothing wrong with a coach having a heavy say in personnel -- it will just be difficult for Kelly to maintain that he has none at all.