So this is my first attempt at a Mock Draft and after doing some searching for prospects I believe that I came up with a good group of prospects that would look good in the Red and Gold next year. A lot of it is based on need at a position and depth behind starters. So hopefully this looks good.
Keenan Allen, WR, California
Height: 6'3" Weight: 210 lbs
2012 Season Stats: 61 Catches, 737 Yards, 6 Touchdowns
Keenan Allen to me is one key receiver that the Niners are missing in the offense and that is a tall red zone receiver. Moss is the guy but he probably won't be around next year since he is on a one year contract. Keenan Allen had a great sophomore year but his junior year was hindered by bad quarterback play at Cal and a knee injury. But I don't really see that being too much of a factor. Allen will probably be out of reach for the Niners to select so they would more than likely have to trade up to grab him. Maybe trade up and use Alex Smith as a bargaining chip to a quarterback hungry team like Buffalo, Philadelphia, Arizona, or the New York Jets but with 14 draft picks the team does not necessarily have to trade Alex but can trade picks to move up to grab Allen. I would really like to see the pairing of Crabtree and Allen together. It would give Kaepernick two excellent receivers to go to and with not too many receivers due to injury (Manningham, Williams) and free agency (Moss, Ginn). I really like the pick of Keenan Allen to the Red and Gold and can't wait to see what he does at the NFL Combine.
Alternative 1st Round Pick
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Height: 6'3" Weight: 320 lbs
This guy I'm a big fan of because he plays in a pro style defense with Alabama and he's a tough nose tackle as well as a big body guy that can come in and step in right away. Issac Sopoaga will be 32 years old by September of the next season and he will be a free agent coming up as well. I'm not sure if the Niners front office will keep him based on his age and declining play. If they do then Jesse Williams could learn a lot from Sopoaga and be the nose tackle of the future for the Niners. Plus it doesn't hurt when you draft a guy that can bench press 600 lbs.
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Height: 6'0" Weight: 190 lbs
A trade in the second round to move up may have to made but I could see the Niners possibly making the move for Jordan Poyer in the first round possibly. Poyer could very well be a starter his rookie year due to the impressive senior season he had at Oregon State where he had 7 interceptions which is impressive. I like this pick because Carlos Rogers is getting older and his play hasn't been as good as last year but don't get me wrong, he still one of the best at cornerback. But with Poyer you get a younger CB with great coverage skills who is a "Ballhawk" and who also has great hands and can get up and get the ball with receivers. Poyer and Culliver for the future is a very interesting combination to think about. Poyer also could contribute to special teams since he returned punts and kick offs at Oregon State, And with Tedd Ginn possibly being gone then the Niners get a return man and a cornerback all in one without having to sign on or draft one.
Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
Height: 6'1" Weight: 215 lbs
With Donte Whitner having a career year at safety I realize that next year he will be a free agent and probably an upgrade is needed. That's where Phillip Thomas comes in. I like the pick of Phillip Thomas because he's a big body safety and a good tackler but he did lead the nation in interceptions with 8 picks. He would be an upgrade at safety and a insurance just in case Dashon Goldson leaves via free agency, which I pray does not happen. If Thomas has a good combine and by the looks of it he seems to be moving up then he could be gone by the 2nd round but if he's around by the 3rd round when the Niners pick then that would make the Niners defense even more explosive. Just imagine Dashon Goldson and Phillip Thomas in the back field. Opposing quarterbacks will think twice about throwing deep balls.
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
Height: 6'1" Weight: 206 lbs
2012 Season Stats: 64 Catches, 809 Yards, 7 Touchdowns
I like the pick of Ryan Swope to the Niners in the 3rd round because it gives them a slot guy that can run routes and has great hands.He's not the fastest receiver but he is consistent and his stock has gone up since his 11 catch, 111 yard game against Alabama which has a dominant defense. He would give Kaepernick another weapon on offense to throw to and could take over the slot with Kyle Williams recovering from injury. The thing about Swope is that he is consistent and a clutch receiver since he came up big against Alabama when Manziel needed him the most. This would be a great pick for the Niners because not only do they get a a good receiver with good hands but they also get a hard worker as well. Think Wes Welker 2.0.
3rd Round (Compensatory Pick)
Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern
Height: 6'3" Weight: 325 lbs
This Brandon Williams pick comes if the Niners decide not to go DT in the first round then they could get one in the 3rd round with this guy. Coming from a small school many will believe that he doesn't have what it takes to keep up with the big boys in the pros but Williams seems to be a different small school prospect after all he did win MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Defensive Player of the Year, have 68 total tackles with 16.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 8 quarterback hurries and 5 forced fumbles with a safety. He also is also the only Division II player selected to participate in the Senior Bowl. He could be a good nose tackle that could eventually come in and start if Sopoaga is not retained and he is a great pass rusher who can get to the quarterback and hurry up passes. I like the pick of Brandon Williams since a lot of small school guys don't always get the recognition they deserve and this guy would be a good pick up in the 3rd round.
Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA
Height: 6'7" Weight: 255 lbs
2012 Season Stats: 46 Catches, 637 Yards, 12 Touchdowns
With Delanie Walker in his contract year the Niners should look for a replacement TE to come in and compete with Garret Celek if he is brought back next year also. With Joseph Fauria the Niners get a big body TE with receiver like speed and good hands. Fauria reminds me of a Rob Gronkowski type of TE in the way that they are tall and big bodied. Fauria would make a great red zone target for Kaepernick since he can get over smaller defenders as well as out power them and with Vernon Davis and Joseph Fauria lining up it would be a nightmare for defenses trying to keep up. I'm a huge fan of Fauria and watched a lot of UCLA games and he really has the talent to be a great TE as long as he works on his blocking but could you imagine the tandem of Vernon Davis and Joseph Fauria together?
Joe Kruger, DE, Utah
Height: 6'7" Weight: 280 lbs
This pick mostly comes for defensive line depth since it is something the Niners currently lack as it was evident with the Seattle game in which Justin Smith was missed dearly. Joe Kruger may be a bit raw since he has declared early as a junior but he did lead Utah with 6 sacks and that's a defensive line with Star Lotulelei, so he could sit and learn from one of the best DE in the game in Justin Smith and if he adds a little bit more weight he could be a steal in the 5th round for sure and develop into a great DE and I must also add that he does run 4.78 40. He won't be an instant starter but he could be a good back up to Justin Smith and could possibly start someday.
Marc Anthony, CB, California
Height: 6'0" Weight: 200 lbs
You can never have too may defensive backs and with Carlos Rogers getting older and Tarell Brown hitting free agency next year, it wouldn't be bad to bring in some extra cornerbacks to come in especially with the extra picks the Niners have because who knows they could find a true gem at cornerback in the later rounds. I mocked Marc Anthony here because not only does he play cornerback but he can also play free safety as well and with Dashon Goldson being franchised getting a two position player isn't bad at all and could step up if any injuries come up. Marc Anthony would be a good pick up in the 5th round at cornerback that could eventually start soon and could also contribute on special teams as well.
Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
Height: 6'2" Weight: 190 lbs
This pick is something that probably all Niners fans including myself are probably chanting for and that is a new kicker. David Akers this years has not been the same and that could be because of his hernia injury but whatever the case may be, the Niners need a new, young and accurate kicker to get the job done. Right now, Dustin Hopkins is the #1 rated kicker on many draft boards but that can change over time though. Hopkins broke an ACC record at Florida State with 133 points this season and made 24 out of 28 field goals in his senior year. He's one of the accurate kickers in college football and would be a great addition to the Niners because of Akers struggles this season. Although Billy Cundiff was signed earlier this week, I don't really see him staying this off season. But with Hopkins the Niners get a new and fresh young kicker.
Cameron Lawrence, OLB, Mississippi State
Height: 6'3" Weight: 230 lbs
With needed depth at OLB this pick will make sense. This pick is just mainly for depth but Cameron Lawrence would be a good pick up in the 6th round. He's a solid tackler in which he had 123 tackles which was second in the SEC and 111 tackles which puts in him third place this year in the SEC. He would mainly be used on special teams but would give the Niners more depth at OLB.
John Wetzel, OT, Boston College
Height: 6'7" Weight: 308 lbs
Here's another pick just used for more depth and a back up at the tackle position for Mike Iupati and Anthony if they ever need a back up to come in. Wetzel has great size and frame for a tackle and is a solid pass blocking tackle and could one day eventually start.
Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt
Height: 6'1" Weight: 212 lbs
2012 Season Stats: 2539 Passing Yards, 15 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions
With Alex Smith more than likely gone I can see the Niners looking for another quarterback in the very late rounds to compete with Scott Tolzien for the back up quarterback role. I like the prospect of Jordan Rodgers mainly because he trains and learns from one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in his brother Aaron Rodgers it also doesn't hurt that he would be coached by the man who turned Alex Smith's career around and is shaping Colin Kaepernick into a great quarterback. Jordan Rodgers isn't the best quarterback in the country but the talent and potential is there and he could be a serviceable back up to Kaepernick. Plus when Aaron Rodgers is your brother you have a lot to gain.
Alternative Pick To Jordan Rodgers Pick:
Nick Florence, QB, Baylor
Height: 6'0" Weight: 205 lbs
2012 Season Stats: 4309 Passing Yards, 33 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions
After what Nick Florence did to UCLA in the Holiday Bowl, I think he showed scouts that despite his height he can play. He too would also be a serviceable back up to Kaepernick and could compete with Scott Tolzien as well in training camp. With Drew Brees and Russell Wilson being smaller quarterbacks the league is now getting away from the bias of small quarterbacks not being able to play. Although Florence is no where near both Brees and Russell in terms of arm strength and accuracy he could learn from Harbaugh and be a good back up and provide depth with Alex Smith gone which is highly likely to happen.
7th Round Pick (Compensatory Pick)
Will Compton, ILB, Nebraska
Height: 6'2" Weight: 230 lbs
Another special teams player that is for depth and more help. I like Compton because he is a great leader and a hard worker. Something Baalke likes to see is his players. He would be a great pick up in the late rounds and could give depth.
7th Round (Compensatory Pick)
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU (Formerly)
Height: 5'9" Weight: 178 lbs
The last pick is hard but with most needs filled why not take a gamble? That's why I mocked Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu here.This may be low for him but most teams will be afraid to touch him due to his off the field problems which led him to be dismissed from LSU but if he can prove to teams that he has changed then some team and coach will take a chance on him. Could Harbaugh be the one? I remember last year Alfonzo Dennard was a projected 1st-3rd round pick but a run in with the law caused him to slip to the 7th round and he was picked up by New England and that was probably the best destination he could be put in. I think the same can be said with Mathieu if he ends up slipping down the draft boards. I think Harbaugh should give him a chance and see what they can get out of him. Mathieu can also contribute to special teams and on kick off and punt returns and could also play in nickel coverage. Harbaugh and Baalke like making surprise picks and if Mathieu is available in the 7th, then maybe they make the pick?
There were more players I liked but couldn't fit them into this draft or I preferred another player. They would fit in with the team needs but I couldn't find a place to put them but here they are:
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Height: 6'1" Weight: 200 lbs
Very impressive receiver that would make an excellent weapon for Kaepernick and the offense. Plus he put on a show against LSU. He's great at YAC and is a physical receiver.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Height: 5'9" Weight: 174 lbs
Probably the most exciting player to watch in all of college football. Can play the slot and has good cut ability as well as lightning quick. He could be a nightmare.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Height: 6'1" Weight: 190 lbs
Woods is probably my favorite player to watch. He's played in a pro style offense at USC and can run good routes. If he shows that his ankle hasn't slowed him down then he could be a steal in the 2nd round for the Niners, since he was projected as a top 10 pick earlier on in the season but due to unfortunate circumstances USC wasn't able to live up to the hype. But maybe Woods gets picked up by the Niners?
Maybe a runningback that can take over for Frank Gore?
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Height: 5'11" Weight: 215 lbs
Knows the offense and was recruited by Harbaugh.
Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Height: 6'2" Weight: 244 lbs
What the Niners were looking for in Brandon Jacobs but unfortunately did not get this season. Someone who can come in at 3rd down and get yards.
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
Height: 5'11" Weight: 220 lbs
Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
Height: 6'5" Weight: 260 lbs
Had a great bowl game where he had 2 touchdown catches and is moving up draft boards. Also great hands and good speed.
Shawn Williams, SS, Georgia
Height: 6'1" Weight: 218 lbs
Big, hard hitter that reminds me of Kam Chancellor.
Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
Height: 6'4" Weight: 232 lbs
Reminds me of Brandon Marshall. Tall, heavy and has good speed. Runs 4.45.
Well that's the end.