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There are some changes here.
First of all, I’ve come down off my 'no-linebackers and no safties’ high horse. I realized that we really don’t have a backup for Julian Peterson and that safties can contribute in the nickel and dime packages just as well as any corner. Unlike corner and defensive line, however, there is very good value at both LB and S in the second round. So I’m thinking that the 49ers’ second round pick, if they keep it, will be one of those two positions.
For the record, I am not a 'Tank’ Williams fan, and I hope that the 49ers pass on him, despite what I’ve heard.
You will also notice that I have completely ignored wide receiver. I don’t like to do that, of course, but there are just not enough wideouts in the middle rounds who I really like. If the 49ers can get Stokes to accept a pay cut, they can win with what they have. The 49ers may also sign a WR free agent after June 1, when they will have more cap room to work with.
**For the record: I have no idea what the people at The Sporting News are thinking. Their mock draft for the 49ers is about the worst I’ve seen. The only pick they make that has some logic to it is safety Michael Lewis of Colorado in the second round – and I don’t even like that pick all that much…In fact, their last 7th round pick of LB Rod Taylor might be their best.
Drum roll please…
1 (27) Lito Sheppard, CB, Florida
I still like Weaver, but it is being reported that the 49ers want Sheppard. The Jets may take him at 22, but they need a defensive lineman more and would take Sheppard only if they can’t trade up. Sheppard is a great corner and will likely start, moving Webster to nickel. He is also very good at returning kicks and punts, so he fills two needs.
Anthony Weaver, DT/DE, Notre Dame - Will add a lot of depth and versatility to the line.
Levi Jones, T, Arizona – Big, talented, smart. Needs more heart. Could be gone before we pick, though.
Mike Pearson, T, Florida – Another athletic tackle for the 49ers to consider.
Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse - Should be a great third down pass rusher at the very least.
Edward Reed, S, Miami – Plays the same position as Bronson, but he’s just too good to ignore.
Kendall Simmons, G, Auburn – Looks like a great player…but a guard in round one?
2 (61) Raonall Smith, OLB, Washington State
For all of you crying for linebacker depth: are you happy now? Seriously, though, I just don’t see any WR, DL, or OL that I like here. If the 49ers keep this pick, they’ll probably take a safety for their nickel/dime package. But Smith is just too athletic to ignore. Despite solid depth at our other linebacker positions, we don’t have anyone to back up Peterson. Still, he has some injury issues and is more of a workout guy than a productive football player – the opposite of what I like. I think we should trade down.
Bryan Thomas, DE, AL-Birmingham – High effort speed rusher.
Kenyou Craver, CB, Nebraska – Tough cover guy who can play immediately.
Brian Williams, DB, NC State – Can play either safety position and corner. Big heart. Solid player.
Joseph Jefferson, CB, Western Kentucky - Was the best corner at the Blue-Grey game.
Marquise Walker, WR, Michigan – Just as good as JJ Stokes but a HELL of a lot cheaper.
Raonall Smith, OLB, Washington State – Tremendous athlete who can play Peterson’s position.
Fred Weary, G, Tennessee - Very athletic guard with adequete size who has tackle potential.
Coy Wire, S, Stanford – Could be a great strong safety. 49er kind of player.
Scott Fujita, OLB, Cal – A prototype Sam linebacker to back up Peterson.
Terry Jones Jr, TE, Alabama – Could be the 49ers’ best backup TE in a while.
3 (no pick currently)
4 (125) Matt Hill, T, Boise State
Big, athletic tackle who could be a starter by 2003. Was very raw but improving rapidly and is moving up the boards.
Kevan Thomas, CB, UNLV – Good little cover guy with solid fourth round value. Needs to bulk up.
Verron Haynes, FB, Georgia – Can fill in at RB and FB until he develops. Good special teamer.
Joanquin Gonzalez, T, Miami (Fl) – Tough, hard nosed player. Limited athlete.
Melvin Mitchell, S, Western Kentucky – Big, strong SS type. Can return kicks.
Scott Fujita, LB, California – Can play over the TE and fill in for Peterson.
Josh Scoby, RB, Kansas State – Not a need position, but has solid fourth round value.
Brian Poli-Dixon, WR, UCLA - A very big, very athletic, player, but injury prone and inconsistent.
Tony Beckham, CB, Wisconsin-Stout – Could develop into a great player. Size and speed.
Ron Johnson, WR, Minnesota – Very big, physical receiver. Team leader and clutch player.
5 (157) Charles Hill, DT, Maryland
Has the size and the desire to be a solid tackle. Played the nose and is a proven two-gap player. Quick learner. May not last this long, though.
5 (172) Steve Smith, S, Oregon
Other teams picked on Smith with Richard Bauman lined up across from him, but Smith made them pay for it. Picked off nine passes and broke up 28 more. At 6-0, 193, Smith has the size to switch to safety but the cover skills to contribute as a corner in nickel/dime packages.
Chris Cash, CB, USC – Could be a contributor. Good cover skills. Injury must check out.
Aaron Kampman, DL, Iowa – Competitor with size and frame to be a good player. Probably a tackle.
Nate Dwyer, DT, Kansas – Has the frame and strength. Needs to work harder – has some McGrew in him.
6 (191) Kurt Vollers, T, Notre Dame
A big (6-7, 321) mauler who will likely be a guard in the NFL.
Kyle Kosier, G, Arizona State – Has pretty good feet and movement skills. Could be bigger.
Frank Romero, G, Oklahoma – Not very big, but a good athlete who plays hard and never misses games.
Ken Kocher, DT, UCLA – Big, smart, and responds to coaching.
Jonathan Goodwin, G/C, Michigan – Could add depth to the interior.
Travis Fisher, CB, Central Florida – Athletic corner who could develop into a solid contributor.
7 (223) Scott Mitchell, QB, Western Washington
Could be a very good 49er quarterback with some tinkering.
7 (249) Bradly Jennings, MLB, Florida State
Can play on run downs and be a special teams terror.
7 (256) Antwan Kirk-Hughes, G/C, Texas
Has a center’s mentality. Could make it as a backup and eventually start.
Brandon Doman, QB, BYU – Another guy who looks like a WCO player.
Mike Mallon, FB, Brown –Former running back with speed, size, and hands. Inexperienced blocker.
Bradly Jennings, MLB, Florida State – Can play on run downs and be a special teams terror.
Howard Duncan, G, Oklahoma – Could be a player. Has the size.
Kevin Barry, G/T, Arizona – Could develop. Great size.
Chris Luzar, TE, Virgnia – Huge TE who can run. If he develops, he could be very good.
Keith Heinrich, TE, Sam Houston State – A good lookinh TE who looked solid in 2001.