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DK's First (and Last) Niners Mock

I've been studying the draft for a while this year. Knowing the way the Niner roster is constructed, I can't really see more than 5-7 guys making the team, and with this being the case I make the assumption that the team wants the best possible guys for those spots. So while many are expecting the niners to try and move up in the first round, I will take a different approach, and keep the high picks while attempting to move lower picks for better low picks.

So I'm going to keep #s 31, 34, 61, 74, and 93. I have no choice but to keep #s 131, 246, and 252 (hello, high-upside/risky picks!) That leaves me with 128, 157, 173, 180, and 237, and I'm going to say that with those 5 picks I can get back into the back part of the 3rd round, flipping them for #91 to New England (we know that Belichick loves those extra picks). So now I have my 6 top 100 guys and my 3 compensatory picks, and I'm off!

#31 and #34 are sort of a package deal. If you like 2 guys, and one has a higher chance of being taken at #32 or #33, you take him at 31. In this range, I have 2 top targets: Robert Woods and Matt Elam. Woods is a Crabtree clone, and could replace Mike if he leaves. Elam is versatile and talented. Cyprien is also a possibility.

With WR and Safety addressed, the top needs are on the DLine and at CB. At #61 there is an outside chance that Tank Carradine is available, or his teammate Bjoern Werner. Either would be nice, but both are likely gone at this point. Margus Hunt is a possibility, but I'm going to turn in a card for Alex Okafor of Texas. He's a little underweight for 3-4 DE, but he did play DT as a sophomore so he knows how to fight inside. Adding 15-20 lbs through a pro coniditioning program shouldn't be an issue, and the guy has talent and produ tion to go with versatility.

13 picks later at #74 there is a good chance that the Niners would double-dip, picking up another DL prospect like John Jenkins or Jesse Williams. I'd be fine with that, but I'm inclined to reach a bit here and take the little-known Robert Alford from SE Louisiana. 5-10 CB with 4-4 speed and a 40 inch vert, played at a small school but has the tools to be a solid cover corner. The niners can afford to give him a season to bulk up a bit, but the kid can cover and he can run. One of the best athletes in the draft.

At #91 and #93 I really believe a DT/NT will still be available. Williams or Jenkins or Bennie Logan, someone will fall and the niners will capitalize. Let's pencil in Williams for now. With the other pick, I'm looking at TE. Travis Kelce seems like an interesting option, as a guy who lined up at multiple positions and whose talent would likely have him higher if he wasn't also kind of a knucklehead. I could see the team trying to package picks to trade up for Ertz, but for now I'll go with Kelce.

We're down to the compensatory picks now! At 131 there is still some value, and this is where (if he's there) I'd take a flyer on Marcus Lattimore. Yes, the niners have RBs, and yes, Lattimore is coming off a major injury. But the upside is tremendous and I think you have to go with it.

At 246 and 252, it doesn't REALLY matter. I'm going to use one on a Kicker - Dustin Hopkins of FSU, if he's available. The other I will assign to Mario Benavides, a Centre from Louisville. He has size and some talent and could be a future prospect at C.

So there you go. No help here for the O-Line, but a number of guys who can step in right away or with big time upside.

#31 Woods
#34 Elam
#61 Okafor
#74 Alford
#91 J Williams
#93 Kelce
#131 Lattimore
#246 D Hopkins
#252 Benavides
With the caveat that no one really knows anything, I have to say I am fairly confident from reading all the buzz that Okafor, Alford, Williams, Kelce, and Lattimore will all be gone long before you slotted them.
While it's certainly possible, in the days before the draft it often seems like EVERYONE is going high. There are only so many picks and lots of players in the mix. Just grabbing a couple of Big Boards:

Okafor 79, Alford 74, Williams 97, Kelce 80, Lattimore NR

Okafor 53, Alford 74, Williams 40, Kelce NR, Lattimore NR

Okafor 44, Alford 85, Williams 41, Kelce 87, Lattimore 100

So, I may have Okafor a touch low (but in the realm of possibility), and Williams was more of a placeholder pick (one of the NTs will drop). Alford seems just right, as does Kelce, and Lattimore is a huge ? at this point.
Okafor, Kelce, and Jesse Williams are all excellent picks. But they won't be available where you pick them. With no trading up, you would have to pick as follows:

34 - Okafor (he's probably a mid 2nd round pick... best to trade up from 61)

61 - Jesse Williams (again, I think he's a mid 2nd rounder.... Brandon Williams would be more realistic at this spot)

74 - Travis Kelce (no way he lasts later than here)
Elam at 34 would be fantastic, hopefully he slips past the Ravens @ 32.
I obviously liked the guys I chose or I wouldn't have taken them, and maybe I've targeted guys who will beat their projections, but from the big boards and mocks I've seen there is nothing to guarantee that these guys wont be available. If they all rise above their big board projections, someone else will fall and bargains will be available. I'd consider trading up for Okafor but the other guys I'm happy to look for bargains.
So some guys are still there or went well after where I had them - Woods, Okafor, Williams. Some guys went earlier - Alford and Kelce. Elam went right where I had him, in the 31-34 group. Lattimore still available. I'm guessing that Okafor isn't really an option after they chose Lemonier - I don't agree, but what can you do.

Personally I'd have been happier in this draft with Elam-Woods-Kelce-Okafor than I am with Reid-Carradine-Mcdonald-Lemonier, but we'll have to see how it plays out. Definitely not happy that we are still stocked with useless low-round picks and got nothing extra to show for it except a 3rd rounder next year.
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