I have the 49ers taking Jake Locker at #7. After the combine, he will regain most of the luster he lost during his senior season. Remember, the guy runs a 4.39 40, has a rocket arm, and has the leadership skills (and upper body strength) of a Tim Tebow. This is Jim Harbaugh's guy. Mallet doesn't fit the West Coast offense, Gabbert may or may not be a fit (that's a wild-card), and Newton is a multi-year project who lacks the intelligence Harbaugh desires. Its quite possible that Harbaugh falls in love with a 2nd or 3rd round quarterback like Ponder or Stanzi and we take Amukamura instead, but I think we go quarterback. acquiring Vince Young or Kolb would change the equation as well.
One interesting piece of information is that I've heard Jim Harbaugh absolutely despises the Washington coaching staff -- any insight on this?
1. Carolina (2-14) - WR AJ Green, Georgia. There are stil a lot of questions to be answered about Carolina's draft strategy, since they don't even havea new coach yet. But AJ Green is the surest thing at #1. Da'Quan Bowers may be the most talented player at the top of the draft, but there are times when he doesn't show up at all. Nick Fairley is a one-year wonder so far. But AJ Green is the best WR prospect to come out at least since Calvin Johnson -- he immediately makes Jimmy Clausen a lot, lot better. A trade-down would make a lot of sense for Carolina since they don't have a second-round pick.
2. Denver (4-12) - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU. Again, no coach yet. But the secondary is the biggest hole on the Broncos by far. Statistically, an argument could be made to improve the pass-rush, but Elvis Dumervil missed the entire season and will be back in '11.
3. Buffalo (4-12) - DL Nick Fairley, Auburn - The Bills are getting better, but they need upgrades on the offensive and defensive lines. Fairley can play almost anywhere on the D-Line, so he is a great fit...Buffalo gave up almost 5 yards a carry in 2010, terrible. QB coult be an option, but Gailey has one more year up there, and if he fails to get them to 7 or 8 wins next year he will be fired and a new regime will br brought in. If Fitzpatrick's development stalls, Buffalo will be picking in the Top 5 next year and will have a chance at Andrew Luck, Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, or Nick Foles.
4. Cincinnati (4-12) - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. Very poor pass-rush in Cincinatti, and with Marv Lewis returning for 2011, so is Carson Palmer. Again, if they fail in 2011, they will be looking QB in 2012 with a new regime and new coach.
5. Arizona (5-11) - DE Robert Quinn, UNC. Big upgrade at pass-rusher for Arizona. All the talk is that AZ is going to go with a veteran quarterback via free agency -- they are not in rebuilding mode. High trade-down possibility here.
6. Cleveland (5-11) - WR Julio Jones, Alabama. Cleveland can go three ways here: D-Line, WR, or corner just because Amukamura is the best player available. Cleveland has a poor run defense, but they could also take Amukamura and have two shutdown corners for years to come. I see that as unlikely, so they'll go with Julio Jones to help out Colt McCoy. Cleveland is probably going to hire an offensive coach as well, which makes this decision even more likely
7. San Francisco (6-10) - QB Jake Locker, Washington. We have a ton of choices here. We can plug our biggest need, cornerback, by taking Amukamura, or we can build an even more dominant defensive line by taking Dareus or JJ Watt, or we can have our pick of quarterbacks. From what I've read, Harbaugh puts a very high premium on athletic instincts and intangibles at quartberback, so I think Mallett is out as an option. Gabbert has decent mobility, but is still more of a pocket passer. The three athletic quarterbacks are Jake Locker, Cam Newton, and Christian Ponder (2nd Round). Cam is a 2 or 3 year project. So when all is said and done, I think the 49ers take QB Jake Locker at #7. He has all the tools required to be a superior player in the West Coast offense, period. He had an awful senior season, and he should regain most of the #1 overall status he lost after the combine. Locker has the leadership skills of a Tim Tebow, and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash! Amazing arm strength, upper body strength, vision, etc. Locker's measurables compare favorably to John Elway (the baseball background helps that comparison)...and the Steve Young comparisons fly around too (I heard Young is very, very, very high on Jake Locker...does anyone have a link?). I would be very happy with this pick.
[ Edited by nickbradley on Jan 9, 2011 at 06:46:26 ]