The 49ers find themselves in quite an enviable position as the 2013 NFL draft approaches. With 13 picks and an already loaded roster, the team is primed to gain the depth is needs and also be able to take some chances on players who may need a year or two to develop. Here's my take on a 7 round mock.
DISCLAIMER: I am not Mel freaking Kiper. This is just a guy making some picks for the sake of entertainment without any inside knowledge. Please read with that in mind. I hope you enjoy.
The 49ers trade pick number 31 (1st), 74 (3rd), 128 (4th) and 180 (6th) to the Dallas Cowboys for the 18th pick in the 1st round and a 6th round pick in 2014.
(18) Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas
The 49ers have one glaring hole on their roster and that is at free safety. Craig Dahl is more of a backup/special teams player and the team needs a true starter at the position. I don't believe Baalke is one to draft for "need" but I think in this situation they might approach their first selection like the Anthony Davis pick in 2010. The team identified the player they wanted at a position they wanted to improve and traded up to get him. Vaccaro is a good run defender and can cover a lot of ground in pass defense. He could step into the 49er's defense and start from day one.
(34) Margus Hunt, Defensive End, SMU
The amount of depth at the defensive line position in the draft could cause some players to fall. The 49ers will most likely have a lot of good options with this pick. I like Hunt here because of his upside. At 6'8 and 277 pounds, he is very fast (4.60 40 time) and very athletic. He may come into the NFL a little raw but that will be okay because he won't be starting (barring injury) in his rookie season. Hunt will be able to play limited snaps and develop behind Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. In the meantime, he can provide the 49ers with the depth they so sorely need at defensive line.
(61) Gavin Escobar, Tight End, San Diego St
The 49ers have featured two tight end sets ever since Jim Harbaugh brought his talents to San Fran. I would think it would be a priority to them to get someone to play Robin to Vernon Davis' Batman in the lineup. If Zach Ertz is here I think the 49ers jump all over him but Ertz will most likely be gone. In Escobar, they get a tight end with size (6'6, 254) who can be a matchup nightmare in the red zone. He does lack speed though (4.84 40) and could have issues separating at the NFL level because of that. I think this is less of an issue with Colin Kaepernick than it would be with Alex Smith because Kaep is not afraid to put the ball in tight spots.
(93) Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
The 49ers are always good for a surprise pick or two and I think it may come here. Anquan Boldin only has 1 year left on his contract. Mario Manningham is in the last year of his deal and he's coming off of a major injury. AJ Jenkins appears to be, at best, a work in progress. In Stills, the 49ers get a wide receiver who could eventually be a nice compliment to Michael Crabtree. Stills, had a strong season for the Sooners with 82 receptions for 959 yards and 11 scores. Maybe most importantly, he had a 4.38 40 time. The team desperately needs to add speed on the outside and Stills could give the them a boost in that department.
(131) William Goldson, Defensive End, Michigan State
Goldson had a disappointing 2012 but has a lot of upside. He was thought to be a possible future first round pick after his 2011 campaign but he struggled this past season to put pressure on the quarterback. At 6'6 and 281 pounds he is still a physical specimen who could fit well at a 3-4 end. The 49ers should not need him to play right away and that will allow Goldson to develop within their system.
(157) Matt Scott, Quarterback, Arizona
The backup quarterback position may be the most wide open competition on the 49er's roster. The team obviously likes Scott Tolzien (they've kept him around since 2011) but did bring in Colt McCoy for competition. I'm not sure Scott is someone who can challenge for the backup spot this season, but he is a nice "project" quarterback who is a dual threat (sound like anyone else you know?). The 49er's franchise is moving forward with Colin Kaepernick as its center piece and to have a backup quarterback with a similar skill set is a good idea. That way your offense can stay true to what you want to do even if Kaepernick is out.
(173) Stefphon Jefferson, Runningback, Nevada
Jefferson would come to the 49ers from Nevada, the same college it's quarterback came from. Schooled in Chris Ault's pistol offense, Jefferson could be a player the team could stash away this year and make him part of the offense in 2014. Frank Gore only has so many carries left and the 49ers need to start planning for the future. A bell cow at Nevada, he rushed 375 times for 1883 yards. Jefferson has the feel of a sleeper back in this years draft so he may not be on the board in the 6th round. I do think the 49ers will take a flier on a back at some point, maybe even earlier than the 6th round.
(237) Steve Greer, Inside Linebacker, Virginia
The 49ers are so deep it will be difficult for a 7th rounder to make the team. An inside linebacker might have one of the best shots because of their use on special teams. Also, with Larry Grant unlikely to return, it might make sense to start grooming a solid backup in the event Patrick Willis or Navorro Bowman miss any time due to injury. Greer was a solid linebacker at Virginia and finished second in the ACC with 122 tackles.
(246) Zeke Motta, Safety, Notre Dame
Motta played well for Notre Dame in 2012 but, like rest of the team, had a bad performance in the National Championship game. He is a good run defender and is probably best suited to play in run support near the line of scrimmage. He doesn't have the best ball skills and ran the slowest 40 time of any safety at the combine (4.83). He might be worth a flier pick and could contribute on special teams if he were to somehow make the squad.
(252) Jeff Braun, Tackle, West Virgina
The 49ers have one of the top starting tackle tandems in Anthony Davis and Joe Staley but their best backup tackle is also their starting right guard (Alex Boone). Taking an offensive lineman late is never a bad idea and Jeff Bruan played on a very good line at West Virginia. He's a big body (6'5, 321) and could develop into a solid backup.
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By: Jose Rivera
Date: April 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM
Comment: First, way too many picks to give up for a spot that's only 12 picks ahead!!! Next, to give them all up for Kenny Vaccaro must make you a Texas fan or just a fan of Kenny because he's not worth all those picks. He's good not game changing though and Cyprian isn't too much of a difference. Covering is only difference.
By: OLD JOE
Date: April 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Comment: No trading up. They will trade down (early rounds), if anything.
First four picks with be defensive players.
And No Stanford players again.
Take it to the bank :)
By: Kate from Colma
Date: April 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Comment: RD1 Tyler Eifert TE
RD2 Cyprien SS
RD3 Logan DT
RD4 Quessenberry OG
RD5 Fuller WR
RD6 Hopkins PK
RD7 Williams TE
By: Danny Boy
Date: April 15, 2013 at 1:59 PM
Comment: Trading up for a safety that could be a plug and play starter from the start and be an anchor on the D for 10 years is a pretty good idea. There is no way they can have all these picks. Trading up into the middle of the 1st round for a player who will start on a Super Bowl defense seems to make a lot of sense. If they feel John Cyprian can be had with the 34th pick and believe he isn't much of a drop off from Vaccaro then trade up for something different. The only other position they could trade up for would be a player who could start at NT and also bring the pass rush as a DT in passing downs like Sheldon Richardson. Tavon Austin is another option to trade up for, but considering he won't start at WR makes it a little expensive to get him. He would be our PR/KR and that does provide a lot of value, but is that enough value for the trade. Baalke isn't the easiest GM to anticipate. When he picked Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati he did what was expected, after that it's been surprise after surprise.
Date: April 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM
Comment: No way they trade those picks to move up for a safety. I could see them trading up for a DL or edge rusher, but with a stacked safety class this move is highly unlikely. I like picks 2-5.
Date: April 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Comment: I think they go 1. Datone Jones DE/DT USC 2. Johnny Cyprian FS/SS 3. Gavin Escobar TE. Next three picks will be DL,DB and WR/PR.
Date: April 13, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Comment: I'd love trading up for Vaccaro but.........with the Cowboys?.......I think that those guys are thinking in Vaccaro as a possible pick wich means that we would have to trade up with someone else.
By: bryan cambell
Date: April 13, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Mississippi State L/B Cameron Lawrence #10 2010-2012.
291 Tackles, 7 Sacks, 9 pass break ups, 5 forced fumbles and 4 interceptions. All-SEC football, ALL-SEC academics, Team Captain, Back to Back 120 Tackle seasons
By: Das Dweeb
Date: April 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM
Comment: Good reasoning, Mr. Sacco. Given, of course, that Harbaalke have their own idiosyncratic way of evaluating players, so we have no idea whether they value Vaccaro that much more highly than they do, say, Reid, who would likely be available at their natural pick ... But I'm all for them trading up. What are all these picks for, anyway? But if it were possible to swing a huge deal to get an elite pass-rushing DL, I'd say that would be the way I'd like to see them go. It could well be a pipe dream on my part, but I wonder if the Jags or Raiders, a team that needs all kinds of help, would go for our 2014 1st rounder and five or even six 2013 picks starting in the 3rd round to give us their 1st this year. That would all-but double their draft this year and give them 2 No. 1s next year - and land Sharrif Floyd, or whomever Harbaalke thinks is the most dominant DT in the draft, in our lap. And still give us Reid and maybe Hunt. The question is, would that bounty of picks be enough to sway the Jags or Raiders? I have no idea.
Nice piece, though, Mr. Sacco.
Date: April 13, 2013 at 5:23 PM
Comment: No need to trade up to get Vaccaro. If TB's going to trade, it should be into the 2nd & 3rd rds so as to end up with @ least 7 picks in the first 3 rds. At #34, he could still get one of the best S and gain picks by trading #31. Only way I'd draft Hunt is he was the 2nd DL taken. Jesse Williams would be a great fit as the other. Would much rather have Kelce than Escobar. Latter's an awful blocker, whereas Kelce's very good & a good receiver. TB can also do better than Stills...Rogers or Patton. If you draft Hunt & JW Gholston's pick should be best big CB on the board. Scott will be long gone by 5th rd. TB needs to get his OT before the 7th rd. In fact, he should have very few picks left after getting at least two more in 2nd & 3rd rds.
By: Space Cowboy
Date: April 13, 2013 at 3:09 PM
Comment: I like the pick of Jefferson for a late pickup at running back. Replace Motta at safety with Duke Williams also from Nevada, he is faster and has better ball skills and likes to hammer running backs.
By: Lucky Phil
Date: April 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM
Comment: Al F-ing Sacco! I liked the picks based on the needs of our team. But I would have picked Elam over Vaccaro. Elam has the feet of CB and the thump of a LB. Plays the the slot receiver better than most cb's. Liked the Hunt pick but like Moose stated at 26 and still a raw product, only 4-6 yrs. of NFL level play can be expected. But for late first or early second worth the pick in my opinion. William Goldson was another pick I liked but I would rather have Lavar Edwards in the fourth. One more point I wanted to make drafting just one receiver is not enough. I like T. Williams, Boyce and Sinkfield (great hands). Ballke should draft WR's like baseball gm's build a bullpen. Go to camp with 11-12 and let them battle it out for 6 spots.
Date: April 13, 2013 at 2:56 PM
Comment: I like your picks Al. Would not want to trade up and in fact would trade down (esp if Barkley slips and a QB-desperate team wants to get ahead of Jacksonville at 33). My 2-round scenario (also for entertainment): 1) SF trades 31 to Jets for 39 for a '14 first rounder; 2) Jonathan Cyprien at 34; 3) John Jenkins at 39; 4) Travis Kelce at 61
Date: April 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM
Comment: No way they end up with 10 or 11 picks. They will finish with 6 or 7, which is a) they will be active moving up and b) active moving down (to secure more picks next year). Vacarro is a very reasonable possibility, as is Austin, Rhodes and maybe a top teir DE/OLB like Mingo (although I don't love him). DT's from 1-5 are too close in terms of grades to need to move up too far for one. They can get a stud at 31 if that is the direction they wish to go.
Date: April 13, 2013 at 2:27 PM
Comment: Mr Sacco,kudos for your effort......Run this scenario out,trade out of the first pick to the mid 40,s for a third,we then have 6 picks in the 2nd and 3rd round,then use some later picks to go up a bit here and there. think of value and need,and see what you get.
Date: April 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Comment: I like the draft overall, but do not think they will draft a traditional TE. Their second TE must be a jack of all trades, and be able to line up at FB, TE, WR, and H-Back. So at the end of the 2nd look for another DB, you cannot have to many in today's NFL. A perfect fit for the swiss army knife would be a player like Kyle Juszczyk from Harvard. Smart, played TE, FB, WR, and all over, good hands, 4.70 40 time, excellent blocker.
Date: April 13, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Comment: Most of the mocks i see have so little thought....as this one does. First ,there is so little difference between Vaccaro and the next highest 5 safeties why would you trade up.Margus Hunt is a major project,I saw him getting frickin pushed around all day long at the senior bowl,he is very athletic,however he is 26 and raw.Mid to late second rd pick. the rest of the your draft is ok, except we need to draft a cb.......Did not mean to be brash M Sacco, but the draft is all about value where one is picked.Good job on your efforts