The 2011 NFL Draft is officially in the books, and the San Francisco 49ers sure made a lot of interesting picks. Here's my quick take on each one of them.

7th overall - Aldon Smith (Missouri), OLB: I think it's pretty clear that the 49ers as an organization value pass-rushing over coverage in today's NFL, and it seems that's the trend in the league overall. I was happy to see the team pass on QB Blaine Gabbert as I don't believe he's a good fit in the west coast system, but I was really shocked to see the team pass on the opportunity to take CB Prince Amukamara. However, other teams with serious needs in their secondary went this route as well: I thought for sure the Texans would take Amukamara with the 11th overall pick, instead they shored up the front line of their 3-4 with DE J.J. Watt; after that I thought it was a no brainer for the Lions to take him at 13th overall but they also beefed up their 4-3 defensive line by taking DT Nick Fairley. Maybe Amukamara was over-hyped throughout the season and pre-draft process (I doubt it).


I am a firm believer in the idea that first round picks, especially top-10, should be used on players that can contribute right away and make an impact on your team in their rookie seasons ,unless you have enough talent to just take a guy full of potential and develop him for a couple of years. The 49ers do not have that luxury, so unless Aldon Smith can surprise the heck out of me in 2011 I am not so thrilled about this pick.

36th overall - Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), QB: I'm pretty sold on Harbaugh knowing what to do when selecting a QB, and the fact that the 49ers traded up to get Kaepernick tells me that this was a player the new head coach did not want to miss out on, and that alone gets me excited.

Kaepernick, contrary to 'popular' belief, isn't a project and could very well be starting games in the second half of the season if whoever veteran starting for the team doesn't get the job done. He's an incredibly gifted athlete with an arm that allows him to make all the NFL throws, if Harbaugh and his coaching staff can successfully teach him all the necessary technique to be a fundamentally sound signal-caller at the next level, then #10 (and yes, I think he will take that number from Kyle Williams) is the QB we've been waiting for since Jeff Garcia.

80th overall - Chris Culliver (South Carolina), CB/S: I dislike this pick.

He is fast, he is strong, he is athletic, he played in arguably the best conference in all of college football, but when addressing the secondary the 49ers should had been looking for a cover corner, and Culliver isn't it in my opinion. He projects a lot better as a SS than as a CB, and the fact that the team is planning to use him as a CB worries me. We'll have to wait and see.

115th overall - Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), RB: I loved this pick.

Sure, the idea of Taiwan Jones being the next Chris Johnson was tempting, but Hunter isn't too far behind when it comes to speed and he's NFL-ready. He's not going to take over for Frank Gore, but #21 has been missing some games lately with injuries, and should he miss any games in the future Hunter should be able to step right in and produce for this team. He will also give Anthony Dixon a good battle for that backup RB role, something Harbaugh and his coaching staff will definitely be excited about.

163rd overall - Daniel Kilgore (Appalachian State), OG: the 49ers surprised me with this pick, especially because there were a couple of other offensive linemen on the board that I was hoping they would draft. However, Mike Solari seems to have had a heavy hand on this pick, and I'm not going to stand here and double guess him.

182nd overall - Ronald Johnson (USC), WR: talented prospect from pro-system school with a lot of potential, could be a steal for San Francisco in the 6th round. I don't think he'll be more than a #2 WR for the 49ers, but if Michael Crabtree can start living up to his potential Johnson could be a nice compliment.

190th overall - Colin Jones (TCU), S: a very instinctive player who always finds the ball, if I was a betting man I would bet on him making the final roster, and the fact that he has blazing speed will surely help him. He won't be more than a special team's contributor in his first couple of seasons, but if the defensive coaching staff can make him into a legit NFL starter he could turn out to be really special.

211th overall - Bruce Miller (UCF), FB: Miller was a DE and OLB in college but the 49ers either don't think he can be better than any front-seven player on their roster or they have a really good vision by turning him into a FB. We better hope it's the latter because one of my favorite FB's in this class, Stanley Havili, was there for the taking.

239th overall - Michael Person (Montana State), OG: he may pass the eye-ball test, but I don't think he's skilled enough to make the team, not even the practice squad.

250th overall - Curtis Holcomb (Florida A&M), CB: he possesses outstanding speed to go with average ball skills, he'll have to work hard to stick around but if he can show coaches that he's more than just a speedster he could find a role with this team.


I don't expect this 49ers draft class to get many A grades by draft experts out there. Trent Baalke certainly rolled the dice these last three days, time will tell if the risks will pay off.