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On Saturday, March 10, 49erswebzone.com and 49ersparadise.com held a chat session with draft guru Scott Wright of NFL Draft Countdown. Attendees were able to ask Scott questions regarding the NFL Draft from a 49ers fan's perspective. Below are some key points that Scott hit during the chat session. These questions were asked by 49ers fans from the two fan sites.
Do you feel that DE Jarvis Moss of Florida can transition successfully to an OLB in the 3-4? If he can, does his value fit at around #11? Do you feel that Washington State’s Jason Hill fits what the Niners are looking for in a WR? About what pick do you see him going?
Scott: I think Jarvis Moss can definitely be a 3-4 OLB. Is he more valuable as a 4-3 end though? Probably in my opinion. He'd probably be a slight reach at #11 though. As for Jason Hill, he is a solid day one pick, maybe even a 2nd rounder and he'd be a nice fit for San Fran.
We have reports of Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis being picked as high up as 11 to 13 or as low as 25. In relation to Nebraska DE Adam Carriker, how do you think Willis ranks on most teams’ draft boards?
Scott: I think Willis will end up being a top 15 pick and there is a very good chance I'll have him going to San Francisco in my next mock draft. I think Carriker probably has a higher overall grade from teams though. I think they'll have a big impact, for them as well as other teams. With the signing of Clements, it takes them out of the cornerback picture in round one, but it also put the Bills in it. Free agency has had a bigger effect on the draft this year than in any I can remember.
Who is the best 3-4 inside linebacker in the draft?
Scott: I think Willis is by far the top ILB prospect this year and most teams, including the Niners, feel he can play inside in the 3-4. When you get past him, I'd say [Michigan’s] David Harris is the next guy and he is probably a 2nd rounder. In terms of a mid-to-late round guy, watch out for Zak DeOssie of Brown.
Do you believe that Patrick Willis' size (or lack thereof) will deter the Niners from picking him at #11?
Scott: I don't see size as an issue with him. He was 242 lbs. at the Combine, which puts him in the same general range as all of the top inside backers in this draft.
Could Willis play OLB in the 3-4?
Scott: No, I don't see Willis as a 3-4 OLB and to my knowledge no teams are looking at him in that capacity.
What do you think about the Niners moving up to make a play at Michigan DT Alan Branch? What would we have to give up to make a move like that?
Scott: Branch could still go as high as #4 overall so it would be quite expensive, to the tune of 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounders, to get up that high. Now if he falls to #7, #8 or #9 it obviously gets cheaper to move up. I have the full trade value chart that the teams use as a rule of thumb at http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/features/valuechart.html
Wide receiver is a need for the Niners. Who do you see the 49ers drafting and what round do you see them drafting them in?
Scott: It could be as early as round one. I think they definitely need to go that route on day one at some point and there should still be value in rounds two and three. Don't rule out [Ohio State’s Ted] Ginn or even [LSU’s Dwayne] Bowe in round one though.
Do you think [San Jose State’s] James Jones is a poor mans Boldin? Where do you see him going and what do you think of him?
Scott: Yea, he is going to be an interesting guy in the later rounds. Good athlete, solid build and really came on as a senior.
I’ve read how the Chargers have converted DTs from college, who were athletic, into 3-4 DEs. How does this draft look in terms of us grabbing one of those kinds of players in the second or third rounds?
Scott: That is exactly what the Chargers did with Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky. The two guys who jump out at me who could do that this year are Ryan McBean of Oklahoma St. and Turk McBride of Tennessee. As far as clear 3-4 ends, I really like Ikaika Alama-Francis of Hawaii.
Do you think the safety Eric Weddle from Utah is a day one pick and how does he fit with the Niners?
Scott: He is absolutely a day one pick in my opinion and I really like him. As far as the Niners go, I'm not sure he's a fit there because they have already addressed their secondary for the most part.
Adam Carriker had a great pro day. Any chance he gets taken before #11?
Scott: Very good chance. I could definitely see him going in the top 10 and there are a couple of teams there who are showing major interest in him.
Who are your favorite late round sleepers in the draft?
Scott: I really like West Virginia WR Brandon Mylers and it boggles my mind that he didn't get a Combine invite. After Dwayne Bowe, he might have been the most consistently impressive wideout at the Senior Bowl. He has ideal size and speed and just didn't get many opportunities to shine in the Mountaineers run-oriented offense. He could be a major steal for someone.
Who is a better prospect for the 49ers, Nebraska's Adam Carriker or Louisville's Amobi Okoye?
Scott: I think Carriker is definitely a better fit for San Francisco and he is the prototypical 3-4 defensive end. As much as I like Okoye, I just don't see him as being a fit in the 3-4. He is a Warren Sapp-type.
Is Penn State’s Paul Posluszny the type of guy that can play ILB in a 3-4? Might we take him if we trade back into the bottom of the first?
Scott: Yea, I think Puz can play inside in the 3-4, although that won't be his best fit at the next level. He definitely struggled at times when he played the middle in a 4-3 as a senior with the Nittany Lions.
With the signing of former Ravens NT Aubrayo Franklin to man the inside of the 3-4 line and with Sopoaga being inconsistent, are there any mid-round NT prospects the 49ers may take a look at? Paul Soliai of Utah and Quintin Echols of Kansas State are prospects. What is your take on them?
Scott: This is a real tough year for 3-4 nose tackles and the two you mentioned (Soliai and Echols) are late round possibilities. Tank Tyler is the top guy early in the draft. There are no Haloti Ngata's this year though.
What do you think of Miami DT Kareem Brown? Is he good for the 49ers in later rounds?
Scott: He might be an interesting guy late, but he really disappointed at the Pro Day, only running a 5.40 at 290 lbs. He would be an end in the 3-4.
Who would be the best fit for the 49ers #1 receiver spot? Tennessee’s Robert Meachem, LSU’s Dwayne Bowe or USC’s Dwayne Jarrett?
Scott: I'd say Bowe or Jarrett. In terms of value, #11 will likely be too high for Jarrett if he runs 4.6 as expected, so I'd say Bowe.
Since the Niners have addressed the defense during free agency, is their any chance that they trade up to nab Calvin Johnson?
Scott: I don't see it. The Niners want to build through the draft and it would just cost them way too many picks to do that.
If you were GM, would you go for someone with the most upside or a sure thing? Is it potential or ability to contribute right away?
Scott: I think it really depends on the situation that the team is in. For San Francisco, I am looking for the best guy long-term because I don't think they will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders for another couple of years. Personally, if I were them, I'd be looking at Ted Ginn, Jr. I think.
If the 49ers decided to go offensive with they 1st round pick, what player would the Niners most likely select?
Scott: I'd say Ted Ginn, Jr. They need an impact wide receiver and Ginn can be that playmaker they lack at the position. He might take a little bit of development but you could have a Steve Smith on your hands in a couple of years and meanwhile he will be a top return man.
Do you think Georgia DE Quentin Moses will be available when the Niners pick in the second round? Would he fit as an OLB in the 3-4?
Scott: Yes, Moses could definitely be there in round two and he'd be a nice fit for the Niners. After watching him up close and personal for a week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, I absolutely feel his best position at the next level will be at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
If we don’t draft Adam Carriker, do you think Florida’s Marcus Thomas will be a good fit at a 3-4 end?
Scott: Not really. Thomas is closer to a 3-4 nose tackle than he is a 3-4 end. He is a 1st round talent though who can probably be had in round three or four.
You said Parys Haralson was a steal for the 49ers last year. Can you go more in depth about that?
Scott: I just thought he was a good value in the 5th round and a solid fit for what they were looking for. He definitely wasn't in the same class as Manny Lawson and didn't have the ideal speed you look for in a 3-4 OLB but he can be a decent backup.
Do you have any 3rd/4th round "tweeners" that you feel could make a smooth transition from college DE to 3-4 OLB?
Scott: I have always been a big fan of Brian Robison of Texas, well before his Combine performance. A guy to watch out for as a sleeper is Jacob Ford of Central Arkansas.
Special thanks goes to Scott Wright of NFL Draft Countdown for taking the time out of his busy schedule to attend this chat session. Thanks to Bryan Hersh of 49ersparadise.com for managing the chat and keeping it organized.