My 49er First Round
#1 We will resign both Whitner and Boldin. Originally, I would have been opposed to bringing back both. Why? We have far too many more important players nearing extensions and that money should be protected for Kaepernick, Aldon, Miller, and Crabtree (I would include Iupati here, but he is as good as gone at the end of next season). However, considering the salary cap is now $133 million, we now have the money to resign these two players.
#2 In the upcoming draft, our need is greater at corner than at wide receiver. Consider our passing game: Boldin, Crabtree, Patton, Vernon, and what should be an improved McDonald. Those are five above average to good options. Now, I do not want to minimize this need – Crabtree will probably not be back following this year, so it will be important to pick up a young receiver early in the draft, but corner comes first. Brock will be on one side. At best and in the right scheme, he is an A- or B+ cover man. Rogers will be cut. Culliver is coming off an injury and even before that he was only B or B- corner. Behind those two we have the possibility of Cox, Wright, or who knows. The possibility of getting an A+ corner in the draft will make beating Green Bay, Arizona, Carolina, and Seattle a whole lot easier than without.
#3 We will trade down in the first. We have a history of doing this. We have a history of getting a good deal for it (see 2013 Dallas). We have the draft capital to do this.
#4 Of our twelve picks, we will use nine of them. Six of our picks will make the team. Why waste an extra six picks just to see them be snapped up by other teams when we release them in the last round of cuts. Side note: I find all mock drafts with the 49ers using all twelve picks senseless. Just isn't realistic; Baalke is a trading machine. So, how will we get rid of our picks: by trading up and trading back to 2015.
Therefore, I believe the 49ers will have two corners that they will target.
A. Darqueze Dennard. Dennard plays physically and could line up opposite Brock thus making a fantastic starting two corners. Plays the run well; plays man coverage better than any other corner in the draft; has great recovery speed; hard hitter; at the combine even showed great speed; what's not to like? He would be the primary player the 49ers would target. In my scenario, any trade up into the top ten would be giving up far too much. So, if Dennard is still on the board, we trade our #30, #61, and our 4th to the Giants for their #12.
B. Jason Verrett. If Dennard is not on the board by #12, then we change focus and try to move up to get Verrett. The positives: speed, smarts, fluid hips, change of direction, has a knack for breaking up plays. His game tape is better than anyone else's. The Negative (note there is one): size. Before I hear about, "We would use our first round pick on a nickel corner!?" let me explain. How many times did our opponents line up in three wide – a lot. Just watch the Packers and Seahawks games again. Verrett could shut down Harvin or Tate, Cobb or Nelson, Steve Smith, or if it came to it Welker. That would have enormous value. So, if Dennard is gone at #12 and Verrett is still on the board at #23, we trade our #30, #97, and a 7th for Kansas City's #23.
What to do in the second, we draft a wide receiver by moving up – possibly giving up our 2nd and one of our 3rds to get into the early to middle of the 2nd round and pick up one of the following: Jordan Matthews, Brandon Cooks or Odell Beckham (if they slipped), or Jarvis Landry.