I know some of these picks may come as a surprise, but bear with me as you read the explanations behind them. Looking at Baalke's trends and examining our needs, this is one possible scenario I envision as a potential draft strategy. Of course, in the end I don't expect the 49ers to keep all the picks. There's no way they will. They'll move around to secure the guys they want. Anyways, here we go. Feel free to ask questions, etc. -- Enjoy.
CBs Brown, Rogers
CB Eric Wright
1. RaShede Hageman-DL-Minnesota, 6-6 318 4.89
I understand that on the surface, it looks like we have great depth at the position. However, when you consider much of it is either still developing and/or unproven (Carradine, Dial, TJE, Okoye, Purcell, etc.) -- Justin Smith admitted a year ago he might only have a couple years left in him. Ray McDonald has gutted it out but has struggled with injuries. With Dial the 4th string NT behind Dorsey, Williams, and TJE, he may end up on the practice squad. Hageman has monstrous potential to supplant either starter. If a player this good gets to you, you take him. There's a chance Smith and McDonald both aren't here in 2015. The 49ers have already shown interest and I expect Hageman to be a target on draft day.
2. Donte Moncrief-WR-Mississippi, 6-2 226 4.49*
If there's one thing that just out the most to me on tape for this kid, it's this: I have not seen him caught from behind. I do not care what he times at the combine, this kid is FAST. On top of his size and speed, from everything I have seen on the field, I believe he has star potential. Moncrief's speed and ability to get open would give us everything we could really want in a player -- the speed to threaten deep, but the size and strength to be strong as a blocker and a threat in the red zone as well. In a deep WR draft, there's the possibility we could get him later, but I expect his stock to rise, and personally, if it were me at the helm I would not wait long to draft him.
2. Jack Mewhort-OT-Ohio State, 6-6 306 5.28
I'm sure I wasn't the only whose heart sank with grief and started shouting "NO! NO! NOOOO!" when Joe Staley went down with an apparent serious and gruesome injury against the Rams early in the year. Thank God it was not what it appeared (and sounded) to be. The 49ers top replacement at LT is their outstanding RG in Boone and we really need to get a legitimate backup that allows us to keep our all-pro caliber guard in place in the case that we need someone to fill in at tackle. The 49ers showed interest in Mewhort at the Senior Bowl and this could be a year they take an OL a little earlier.
3. Marcus Smith-DE/OLB-Louisville, 6-4 258 4.76
Long-armed, productive, and showed up in the team's biggest game of the year to make plays. Smith has already reportedly sparked interest from 49ers scouts and was spoken to at the Senior Bowl. Players we've talked to there have historically had a very good chance of becoming selections for us. Teams that keep their pass-rushing arsenal stocked are the teams that dominant. The old adage remains true: Defense wins championships. Smith I believe is going to be one of our targets and would be a nice addition to have.
3. Pierre Desir-CB-Lindenwood, 6-1 195 4.56
A long-armed, small-school, high-potential player who made big strides over the week at the Senior Bowl, proving he can adjust to playing with the "big boys" of major conferences. He fits the bill in just about every way that Baalke typically searches for a player. I imagine Stanley Jean-Baptiste is another potential target here. Desir should have the edge though because of better fluidity. If the 49ers re-sign Wright, they likely would go into the season with Brock/Culliver/Wright as their starters -- this would give Desir and promising 2nd year man, Daryl Morris, more time to develop and keep our CB corps still fully stocked with talent.
4. Tyler Larsen-C/OG-Utah State, 6-4 317 5.17
Durable, incredibly smart, and athletic. Fits our scheme well. Could play all three interior positions, but primarily would compete at center.
4. Marqueston Huff-S/CB-Wyoming, 5-11 198 4.40
Huff possesses arguably top 5 sideline to sideline speed among the DBs in this class. At the Senior Bowl, he reportedly blanketed receivers showing he could be considered a CB prospect and not just a safety, which he played at Wyoming. The 49ers took Chris Culliver and converted him from safety into a CB so Huff could be another target to do the same. Then again, he could provide just better safety depth behind Whitner and/or start at some point if Whitner goes elsewhere.
5. Khairi Fortt-LB-Cal, 6-2 240 4.67*
I think the 49ers would be very interested in this local product if they see the same similarities as I do to Navarro Bowman. Fortt was a Penn State transfer and like many 49ers draftees, has the coveted attributes of long arms and explosive athletic ability. He would immediately be a contributor on special teams while he develops as a linebacker, and could potentially play inside or outside, although he may be better suited inside for the 3-4. He needs work, no question, but with coaching Fortt could be starter material.
6. Gator Hoskins-FB/TE-Marshall, 6-1 244 4.67
Really, really like this kid. If I'm correct, the team already showed interest in him at the Senior Bowl. He shows up in big games (100+ yards, 2 TDs in Marhsall's 31-20 win in the Military Bowl), and I think he fits the mold of what we're looking for in the Delanie Walker type. Hoskins does a better job of protecting the ball when he runs, and although he got open a lot due to play design, he could get open on his own based purely on his abilities when he needed to. He does a solid job making catches in traffic and his athleticism and power at his size are undeniable. If it's not Hoskins, I firmly believe the 49ers will most certainly target a player of this FB/H-back type in the draft -- there are several that will be available.
7. Connor Shaw-QB-South Carolina, 6-0 210 4.64
We love athletic QBs, it's a given, and Shaw is absolutely that type. I think we will be one of the teams that looks at Connor Shaw as a QB and not some other positional player. Like BJ Daniels, I believe we would see him as a QB that could be a viable back-up to Kaepernick and someone we can develop behind him. Would not be surprised if we went after Tajh Boyd either.
7. Dri Archer-WR-Kent State, 5-8 175 4.37
Archer is like a less-heralded version of Tavon Austin. He has elite speed and return ability that makes him a threat any time the ball is in his hands. He would be a worthy candidate to replace the kind of speed we lost with Ted Ginn after the 2012 season and neglected to address for 2013. His knocks are obviously his size and the fact that he has a little bit of an injury history, but he's healthy right now and I believe he's a draft-worthy prospect.
7. Spencer Long-OG-Nebraska, 6-4 315 5.16 +
Another 49ers injury special. Take a chance on a potential big time performer who had a bad injury. Low risk, high reward again.
Quick look TC depth chart:
QB - Kaepernick, Shaw*, Bethel-Thompson
RB - Gore, Hunter, LMJ, Lattimore, Miller
TE - Davis, McDonald, Celek, Hoskins*
WR - Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, Moncrief*, Archer*
OL - Staley, Iupati, Looney, Kilgore, Snyder, Boone, A.Davis, Mewhort*, Larsen*
DL - J.Smith, McDonald, Hageman*, TJE, Dorsey, Ian Williams, Carradine, Dial
LB - Aldon, Brooks, Skuta, Lemonier, M.Smith*, Willis, Bowman, Wilhoite, Fortt*, Moody
CB - Brock, Culliver, Wright, Morris, Desir*
S - Reid, Spillman, Whitner, Dahl, Ventrone, Huff*
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Feb 18, 2014 at 6:56 PM ]