Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
I've updated a few things based on free agency results, made some changes based on what I think remaining needs are and what the 49ers will be prioritizing. I'm assuming that the 49ers do sign yet another cornerback such as Thurmond, bring back Brown or some other free agent player. My approach to this draft would be to keep trading down, keep acquiring latter picks or especially picks for the 2015 draft. There's enough talent in this draft that no matter where the 49ers end up, I think they'll have some good options to choose from. Keep in mind that where these guys are drafted likely won't be at that exact same spot, for example I'd expect a move from the late 2nd into the early 3rd to acquire more picks...etc.
Round 1-Stephon Tuitt-DT/DE-Notre Dame-6'5", 304. I didn't think Tuitt would be available here, truthfully I'd be satisfied with either him or Hageman but Tuitt is a little more developed as a player, shows better quickness as a pass rusher, he doesn't seem to play with the same beast mode strength that Hageman shows when he is truly "on", but in that regard Hageman is somewhat inconsistent. Both of these guys show a ton of potential and I'd be happy to see either one work with Tomsula and provide some outstanding depth on the DL as well as develop to eventually replace Justin or Ray on the DL. Other than this pick, I can see the 49ers potentially trading up for Mike Evans or sitting pat and taking Verrett or Fuller at CB.
Round 2-Donte Moncrief-WR-Ole Miss-6'2", 222. I like the potential that Moncrief has as a future starter and a potential replacement for Crabtree in case he does leave as a free agent within a year or two. Moncrief has outstanding size and athleticism and has shown the ability to be a major deep threat that opposing defenses have to account for. He is a tremendous leaper, a guy who can really get up for the football, a competent blocker and would add some size and bulk to the receiving corps.
Round 2-Rashaad Reynolds-Oregon State-5'10", 189. There's nothing fancy about Reynolds, he has kind of gone under the radar and I know there are those who would prefer a "big" cornerback such as a Keith McGill or Stanley-Jean Baptiste but when watching Reynolds, what sticks out to me is his incredible awareness. He seems like a guy who would pick up very easily on NFL coverage schemes, particularly with the sort of defense that Fangio runs. He's not super fast or athletic but he plays very intelligently, shows some tremendous instincts and was rarely out of position. Rather than rolling the dice on a project, I look at Reynolds and see him being a solid NFL cornerback. Other than him I could see Bashaud Breeland, McGill or Marcus Roberson in this spot.
Round 3-Bruce Ellington-South Carolina-5'9", 197. Ideal slot receiver. If the 49ers sign Edelman then this pick will likely change but I really like Ellington a lot, he's a tough guy, outstanding athleticism, a two sport athlete at South Carolina, he shows an exceptional ability to create separation and is able to attacks defense both in the short and deep area's of the field. I have a very good feeling about him as a prospect and he seems to have been highly underrated throughout his time at South Carolina. If he's not available, Robert Herron of Wyoming is another guy I'd be happy to see in this spot, he just ripped off a massively improved performance at his Pro Day and is back in the discussion for this area of the draft.
Round 3-John Urschel-Penn State-OG/C-6'3", 313. Urschel is listed as a guard but I see him more suited to play center, making him a very good center prospect. He doesn't have the biggest bulk or longest arms but he does have very good, quick feet and agility. I do see center as the better fit for him and think he could do very well there. Considered to be one of the brightest guys in all of college football he has shown the ability to pick up offensive concepts quickly and fits the role of an ultimate hard-working/"it's all about the team" type of guy. He's been moving up recently in terms of generating interest which I think will result in him being picked earlier than expected. He did play in a pro-style offense at Penn State.
Round 4-Jonathan Dowling-FS-Western Kentucky-6'3", 190. Having signed Bethea, the 49ers have allowed themselves to take a shot on just this kind of raw project. Dowling has outstanding natural size, does need to bulk up somewhat but his athletic ability alone will allow him to contribute on special teams while he learns the nuances of the safety position in the NFL. He has work to do in order to improve, shows poor technique and footwork at times, then again its likely that he hasn't received any top notch sort of coaching either. He's flashed the ability to be a very dominant safety and could develop into a reliable starter as long as a team is willing to give him the time to get up to speed.
Round 4-Walt Aikens-CB-Liberty-6'1", 205. Aikens is a corner with prototypical size and athleticism. He's a prospect to develop to eventually take over on the outside in case the 49ers end up losing Culliver. He fits this defense well with his physicality, he's a dependable tackler, handles the run well and is solid in coverage. He's another guy who could work as a special teams contributor as he develops towards a starting role.
Round 5-Andrew Jackson-ILB-Western Kentucky-6'1", 254. Well built thumper, grew up idolizing Ray Lewis, did not back down from higher levels of competition. Very hard-nosed linebacker who plays with confidence and bad intentions. A hard hitter that likes to set the tone for a defense. At this point in the draft, he makes for a very intriguing prospect, plus I thought it'd be cool for the 49ers to wind up with two guys from Western Kentucky, how often does that happen?
Round 6-jrg's Man-crush....AKA Blaine Gabbert.
Round 7-Spencer Long-OG-Nebraska-6'4", 315. This pick hasn't changed in my recent mock drafts, if Long is here, he's outstanding value, put him on the IR for a year and then bring him back as a potential replacement for Iupati next season.
Round 7-Trey Millard-FB/TE-Oklahoma-6'2", 247. Another pick that has stayed consistent. I think Millard has some of the best H-back potential in the draft, outstanding performer and team leader that is as much a stereotypical "49ers" type of player as anyone else in this draft.
Round 7-Jerick McKinnon-RB/QB/WR/FB/CB/FS-Georgia Southern-5'9", 209.-Super athletic freak that can be utilized as a special teams monster while he develops at....some position. He's been working out at CB and FS so its possible that his NFL future would be on the defensive side of the ball but he presents too much natural athleticism to go undrafted. He'd be a nice addition at this point in the draft.
From the start of the 2013 season up until a few weeks ago I was dead set on a receiver or corner with our first round pick. As it became clear how deep this draft is at receiver, it isn't absolutely necessary that we have to take one in round one. Then you and others began entertaining the idea of a DE/DT in round one which I just didn't see. But I think back to 2011 when I was on the Robert Quinn bandwagon (as opposed to draft Prince Amukamara) because I felt improving the pass rush would do a lot more for the defense than adding a top corner. I think I'm back to that. Adding another defensive lineman that can apply pressure could bring our defense back to its 2011 levels, where we had our secondary (Carlos Rogers in particular) looked like top tier DBs. Of course we know we need to replace Justin Smith eventually, but it would be great to have a guy to rotate Ray with a little more without much drop off. I like TJE as a rotational player, but we can always get better. By 2015 or 2016, either Tank, Tuitt, or Hageman will be starting and the other would be in position to back up both starters. So with all of that said, I'm all in with a defensive lineman picked in round one if either Ra"Shede Hageman or Tuitt are available. If not, trade down, pick up the extra second + third and just draft Dominique Easley at some point. We'd have to wait of course for his impact to be felt, but it would put us in a position in 2015 where we won't absolutely NEED Justin Smith.
The rest of this draft pretty much hits everywhere. I think it's because this is after free agency has began so we know exactly what holes we have remaining. I believe with the pick in round one, plus the depth added at DB, our defense could be historically good in 2014. Depth at receiver will out us over the top and prepare us for the possible departure of Crabtree after 2014. May 8th-10th can't come soon enough.