Now that the draft is a few days away I felt it safe to release my final mock. Again, it reflects the best players likely/realistically available to the 49ers coupled with the realities of our roster, and the realistic chances of making the final 53. Unlike most here on the Zone I still doubt that we're gonna be making too many draft-day trades. I think we may trade two, maybe three picks, but no more. So, I assume we're drafting all 13 picks with the expectation that maybe 3 picks probably will be dealt (but if we traded 4 or 5 I wouldn't be upset). It's impossible to predict trades, especially from this FO. Plus I think it's a little silly, but that's this fans' opinion. (I do understand the fun of it though.) The way I see it, as we stand we have just one starting spot up for grabs – FS. (I think we can realistically pencil Glenn Dorsey as a starter.) And, honestly, if Woodson signs and/or we draft Eric Reid or Jonathan Cyprien with our 1st pick, or Bacarri Rambo in the 3rd, all 22 starting spots will be spoken for. But we do have a boatload of depth chart spots where some quality rookies have a real chance make this team (OLB, ILB, SS, CB, DE, DT, OL, etc) to legitimately push starters. JH has made it abundantly clear that he values competition at all positions (that's another reason I feel we will probably use all our picks). Not only does he want the starters pushed, he wants 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stringers pushed as well. BTW, sorry for so long of a post, but I refuse to be lazy by filling my mock with "best player available" picks.
1. FS: Eric Reid/ 6-1, 213lbs; LSU
Before the FA acquisitions I had us taking Jonathan Jenkins in the 1st. But after we addressed Ice Sop's spot with Glenn Dorsey I doubt we go DT/NT in the first (but I do think we'll still draft one). For me Eric Reid is a no-brainer now. On most of the main draft boards he's projected as a late 1st/early 2nd pick, so I'm confident he'll be available for us here. We must remember that FS wasn't a position we were able to address in FA. Trust me, Craig Dahl will not be our starting FS. If he is that would mean a lot has gone wrong. Plus, we know that Baalke covets SEC players. If Reid isn't available I think our FO will still seriously consider taking Jonathan Cyprien here to play FS (or for SS with the idea of replacing Whitner if he's too expensive next season and draft Bacarri Rambo in the 3rd to play FS). We need a guy who fits the identity of this defense. Like Reid, Cyprien is a real bully in the secondary but had some issues playing "single high" (unlike Reid). But we have one of the better coaching staffs; they teach first, then they coach (that's how I was taught to coach).
2. DE: Margus Hunt/ 6-8, 277lbs; Southern Methodist. Combine top performer
For me, Cowboy's heir apparent is still a vital priority as this is another position we didn't/couldn't address in FA. I have been high on drafting Hunt for a very long time. This guy is a tough, gritty hard worker like Cowboy. And like Cowboy, Hunt is VERY strong (38 reps on the bench), plays the run well, very good trench fighter, and good pass rusher. Very raw though and will be 26 years old, not too experienced and will need some work but I can think of no better guy than Justin Smith to learn from for a year or two. Gets cut a lot, so he needs to fix his technique, namely his shoulder placement. This guy is fast too, ran a 4.60 in the 40.
2. (via trade) CB: David Amerson/ 6-2, 205lbs; NC State. Ran a 4.44
His stock has risen to the 2nd, as I expected it would. But I still think we draft this guy even with the Nnamdi pick-up. I get the feeling that he's high on our draft board, given the division we play in. I've been high on this guy since the beginning. Amerson is a big physical corner with natural ball skills. Very strong in man coverage. Physical at the LOS in press. Will need to work on his down field techniques and his discipline, as the NFL has put diapers on WR's. With the signing of Nnamdi he won't need to start right away, so we can afford to sit him for a season to learn. Perfect for this defense as he tackles and wraps well. Also, I doubt Carlos Rogers will be on this team after this season. Amerson can come in and be groomed to battle Cully for a starting spot.
3. WR: Da'Rick Rogers/ 6-3, 209lbs; Tennessee Tech. Ran a 4.44 in his 2nd attempt.
I still say we get him here, even with Boldin on our roster. With injuries to Manningham and Williams we have to get one of the better WR here to compete for a spot, and not another tiny WR either. Rogers did well at the combine in my mind. Granted, his bench press was disappointing, but he plays strong. What he put on film, both before and after he transferred, cannot be ignored. This guy abused even SEC CB's (the SEC is notorious for having physical defenses). Rogers is extremely physical at the LOS, easily fought off even SEC physical press coverage!! A durable, tough guy who's proven to be able to take a big hit and stay on his feet, so he'll get the tough YAC yards like Crabs. Versatile, he's played the X, Y, and Z spots well, so JH & Co. can line him up everywhere. VERY good hands, but like Crabs, has occasional drops because he looks to run before he secures the ball. I know he had maturity issues but on a high character JH team were he'll have to earn his way on the field I think he'll have plenty to keep him focused. His interview will be vital.
3. DT/NT: Jonathan Jenkins/ 6-4, 359; Georgia
At fist I had us taking this guy in the 1st but he's slipped to the 3rd round projections. But I don't see him dropping much more than the 3rd round. Perfect 0-technique for our 3-4 base D. Not a big pass rush guy, but we really won't need him to with Dorsey and Ian Williams on the roster. (I think Jenkins would beat out Williams if it came down to it.) He's a block eater that can pushes the pocket very well and plays the run even better. Can play the 5-technique. He will need to learn to keep a consistent lower pad level.
[Note]: If we don't get Eric Reid in the fist I have to think we have to get Bacarri Rambo here and address the DT/NT later.
3. ILB: Nico Johnson/ 6-2, 248lbs; Alabama
Replacement for Grant. Like Willis and Bowman, Johnson is a pure middle linebacker. Some scouts are comparing him to Bart Scott. Extremely physical and explosive tackler. Very durable, hasn't missed game time due to injury. Will need to get better in pass defense. I'm not sure how high JH & Co. are on Michael Wilhoite but from what I can tell he's a very good ST guy and that's it. But I'm not sure he'd be a guy like Grant, who can come in and play either of the Mike LB spots in a pinch. Nico would come in right away and provide a push at the Mike spot.
4. OT: Rick Wagner/ 6-6, 310lbs; Wisconsin
Gotta get depth at the OT spot. Looked very good at the combine. Has an excellent drop-step that the NFL is looking for in OT's. Has ideal OT wingspan (33 1/2" arms). Will need to work on how he handles speed rushers and learn not to overcompensate for them.
5. Traded to Cleveland
5. TE: Chris Gregg/ 6-3, 236lbs; Arkansas. Ran a 4.5
Another kid I've been high on from the start. We didn't address Walkers roster spot in FA so I fully expect that we do so in the draft. I absoluely refuse to believe that Cameron Morrah is the answer to replace Walker. Morrah isn't better than Celek. Gregg is a far superior replacement for Delanie Walker than Morrah. Needs to gain a little weight – maybe get up to 240-245 (Walker is 242). Ideal H-back that mirrors Walker's skill-set. Probably a better pass catcher then Walker, but will need to learn JH's zone-read blocking scheme, but so will everyone coming to this team this season.
6. WR: Mark Harrison/ 6-3, 231lbs: Rutgers. Ran a 4.47 on his 2nd attempt.
I really liked what I saw of Mark Harrison at the combine and what he put on tape. 6-3, 231 running a 4.4 – 4.5 is a scary nightmare for any CB. At the combine Harrison looked very fluid running his routs. Good footwork. One thing I noticed of his highlights is that he's not an easy guy to bring down and gets yards after first contact. But he's inconsistent with his hands.
6. K: Dustin Hopkins/ 6-2, 189lbs; Florida St.
This pick is no longer a brainer, but still a strong likelihood, even with the signing of 38 year old Phil Dawson. Remember the word "competition", and JH wants it at every spot (though I seriously doubt we keep 2 kickers). Plus, we unexpectedly suffered at the kicker spot. But if JH & Co. feels that Dawson is the answer at lease for the next season or two I wouldn't be shock to see us draft elsewhere. If not a kicker then look for us to go another CB (remember, T. Brown is in the last year of his contract), Josh Johnson out of Purdue would be great here. A good cover corner use to being left on an island. A QB here would be a strong possibility, but I doubt it.
6. OG/C: Omoregie Uzzi/ 6-3, 303lbs; Georgia Tech.
Depth. A real mauler in the run game. One of the more athletic O-lineman in the draft, which is why I don't understand why he wasn't at the combine. But I liked what I saw on film of him. He's fallen a little, but I think he's worth the pick. He's a steal in the late 6th. Plays with good technique: keeps his knees bent and a solid base. Keeps his pad level. Very quick off the line, which is perfect for our line scheme with all the pulling and traps we run with our C's and OG's. Has a real nasty streak. Though he's played primarily at OG his athleticism makes him ideal to be taught to play center. Would like to see him put on about 5 pounds. Needs to learn when to out-muscle verses when to out smart his opponent. And as with most O-lineman coming out of college he's inconsistent picking up the blitz. Explosive and sudden in the run game (after all he is a product of Georgia Tech O-line), but little sustained strength in passing game, so he'll need to get stronger.
7. Traded to Cleveland
7. SS: Cooper Taylor, 6-4, 229lbs; Richmond.
Originally, I had us taking Ray Ray Armstrong here. I was back and forth between the two when updating this mock, but after thinking about it I'd rather have Taylor than Armstrong. Ray Ray, while extremely talented, has too much baggage to be drafted. Cooper, on the other hand, has injury and medical concerns, but a bigger upside. At the Shrine game Cooper really showed out. He also was used on offense in wildcat formations, something that can prove quite useful in our pistol read option packages. He's a real stud in the run game, as good as Whitner. Extremely instinctive, diagnoses plays VERY quickly. The word on him is that he's a coachable kid known for understanding the playbook and what the coach is trying to achieve play-by-play. That's just what the doctor order considering how Whitner and Goldson were torched all season due to miscommunication issues. But he'll need to learn how to cover and "stay available" because when healthy he'd definitely push for playing time.
7. OLB/DE: Cornelius Washington/ 6-4, 265lbs; Georgia. Ran a 4.56
Pure depth at OLB. Was a "top performer" at the combine, but ultimately it's what he put on film that will cause him to drop. But I wouldn't be surprised to see him go as early as 5th. With Cam Johnson and Darius Fleming hurt much too early to evaluate, forcing us to turn to the waver wire, it make sense to pick for depth here. His size and arm length (33-34") makes him available to either stand up, or put in the 3 point. Good quick first step. Needs to develop counter moves. Vocal leader. A real mean streak on the field with the ability to intimidate. But he needs to mature. (DUI, calling out fans online.) Gonna need to interview well.
Each of those players could make this team because I see much turnover in non-starter spots. While we can use a big physical WR and a few O-linemen for depth our offense is pretty much solid. Even if we get Charles Woodson I think our draft is gonna turn out something like this. The depth on defense has to get more competitive if we are gonna maintain a winning status. So I just don't see us making too many trade moves unless it's a no brainer deal in our favor. To be sure I suspect us to make some deals, but like I said I won't try predicting trades. Just too impossible. Granted, that means that we are gonna cut players that could start for many teams, and our PS will probably be the most talented in the league. But we can't NOT draft players simply to keep from cutting them. Also, unlike many I DO NOT think we'll be drafting a QB, but I do think we'll get a rookie pretty soon after the draft in FA.