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For this mock, I am going off the following assumptions:
- We lose Ginn, who opts to go to another team in FA
- We lose OLB Ahmad Brooks
- We retain FS Goldson
- We retain CB Rogers and DO NOT draft another CB early because the team believes it has three starter-quality players for 2012 in Rogers, Brown, and Culliver.
2012 NFL Draft
1. Andre Branch-OLB-Clemson, 6-4 260 4.77
Branch I believe would be a strong target for the 49ers as he is somewhat similar to Aldon Smith in that he brings the versatility of playing down on the ground and standing up, and he plays with great length and leverage which helps him push back opposing linemen. At Clemson he has lined up both at DE and OLB, so unlike Aldon, he already has a fair amount of experience dropping into coverage. If we lose Brooks, we'll need another starter, and Branch is someone who would be able to contribute early. Even if Brooks stays, we still only have 3 OLB. Branch brings both run-stuffing and pass-rush ability. With our team in need of more pass-rushers (Haralson is mainly used on running downs), Branch would make sense for us. This year, he finished his stellar year with 17 TFL and 10.5 sacks with 1 FF.
2. Kendall Reyes-DT/DE-Connecticut, 6-4 300 4.99
Think of a Ray McDonald/Justin Smith hybrid when you consider Reyes, a 1st Team All-Big East selection. Reyes is a team captain and has experience at both End and Tackle -- great for us because we rotate between the base 3-4 and 4-down linemen for the nickel. He's a quick, powerful lineman who has put up big numbers at UConn. The 49ers have already expressed the desire to add another DL to help keep their stars Justin and McDonald healthy and fresh, and reportedly have will have no qualms selecting a DL early. Reyes is a FEROCIOUS and RELENTLESS lineman and put on a clinic at the Senior Bowl this week, elevating him to 2nd round consideration. On top of his film that teams will love, the production is there as well, as Reyes finished his 2011 collegiate season racking up 13.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery for a TD, and 4 passes batted down.
3. Marvin McNutt-WR-Iowa, 6-3 216 4.52
McNutt will not wow you with his speed or quickness, but he's a guy that just knows how to get open and is a strong runner after the catch with great hands. He reminds me somewhat of Terrell Owens in the way he runs with the ball in his hands, although not as fast. McNutt's production is hard to ignore -- 80+ catches for 1300+ yards and 12 TDs -- and the kid has shown marked improvement each year. 49ers scouts have already spoken to McNutt so you know there's an interest in him and I believe he's a legitimate 3rd round candidate for this team. I think the team wants a big receiver, but more than anything they just want a guy who can get separation. McNutt, still raw, has room to get even better and could develop into a #1 in the right sytem. The WCO looks to be a good fit for him and I think if he's available and we haven't taken a WR yet, we very well may pull the trigger. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzFm2FweXHE&feature=related
4. Micah Pellerin-CB-Hampton, 6-0 195 4.49
Another small school corner who has been a lights out player at his level. He's a D-I transfer (from Southern Miss), and put up 4 interceptions this year to go along with 15 PBU's, which marked back to back years of 14+ pass break-ups. This year he stepped up his game in run support, chipping in 4.5 tackles for loss as well. Pellerin's clear potential and skill set are unlikely to go unnoticed, especially when coupled with the fact that he has NFL size and speed at 6-0 195 and expectations of clocking in the 4.4's. At the East-West Shrine game, he showcased good speed and in practices was often step for step with receivers who struggled to separate from him. Pellerin needs only minor fundamental development, and his strong All-Star week confirmed his starting NFL potential, boosting him from a late-round developmental guy, to a 4th-round guy who is expected to eventually start in the NFL.
5. Robert Golden-CB/S-Arizona, 5-11 200 4.54
When you watch this kid play, you see a lot of WOW moments. Some are good "wow" .. some are bad "wow" .. His aggressive style can often pay those kinds of dividends. Golden is often considered overly aggressive which can lead to blown assignments. With proper teaching, he could become a really good player though, considering his violent hitting ability and sensational closing speed on the football. Golden would replace the versatility of Reggie Smith while at the same time being a tremendous upgrade in speed and tackling ability. He has starting experience at every position in the secondary, playing full seasons at free safety, corner, and strong safety at Arizona. Like Culliver, the 49ers could ultimately decide he should play CB instead of safety. Honestly, he has the talent to play anywhere, he just need to be asked to focus on one area and be developed there, and in doing that, some team -- perhaps ours -- could be looking a potential gem. If you'd like to see some of the potential of Golden, you can view a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ1DwLpfiuk
6. Devon Wylie-WR/KR-Fresno State, 5-9 186 4.38
When you watch Wylie, you can't help but see a ton of Wes Welker in him. Another comparison is Danny Amendola, who gave teams fits. Only difference is Wylie can return kicks, and very well. That ability to get open underneath is special. Blessed with impressive quickness, balance, and speed, Devon is still far from a polished receiver, but his outstanding ST's ability (2 PR for TD this year) and ease of separating from defenders purely based on his talent make him a big-time potential late round steal. It's possible he could go much sooner, especially after an incredibly impressive East-West Shrine week where he was swarmed by scouts wanting to get to known him better, but if he's here, the 49ers could have a hard time passing on the local product. If you're a YouTuber, I'm sure you can find something on him. (Edit: here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faqfXBtF50I )
7. Rokevious Watkins-OG-South Carolina, 6-4 340 5.36
Depending on who you ask, you'll be told Watkins is anywhere from a 4th-7th rounder. Guards are often a little trickier to project, but nonetheless.. Watkins is a guy who could be a poor man's Carl Nicks. Moves fairly well for a big man and most analysts think he has the potential to grow into a very solid starter in the NFL. Since we expect to lose Rachal, getting SOME sort of OG/C in development for the future makes sense, and Watkins seems like a potential Baalke pick. Watkins, who has played both RT and RG, garnered Associated Press 1st-team All-SEC honors from the media (2nd team from the coaches) this season.
Quick-look depth chart:
WR - Crabtree, Morgan, McNutt, Wylie, Williams
OG - Iupati, Snyder, Kilgore, Watkins
OT - Staley, Boone, A.Davis, Person
DE - McDonald, J.Smith, Reyes, RJF, Dobbs
NT - Sopoaga, Ian Williams, RJF
OLB - Aldon, Haralson, Branch, FA-pickup
CB - Rogers, Brown, Culliver, Pellerin, Golden, Brock
FS - Goldson, Spillman, Golden
SS - Whitner, Jones
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Jan 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM ]