Well fellas, with many pro days having passed and the major free agent signings out of the way, it's been time to shuffle the boards, re-review, reevaluate, and re-slot prospects. I've decided to add a little twist to the normal mocks I put together, and to mix it up a little bit, I will be doing a four-part mockumentary (har har) series to forecast the various draft strategies I believe we might employ. The final concluding mock will be the one that I ultimately feel we will do. So with all that said now, let's gets started.
Quick Snap of the current depth chart at selected positions (players unlikely to even make PS not included):
WR: Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, Baldwin, Chuck Jacobs, Wylie
OT: Staley, Davis, Martin, Bykowski, Marquardt
OG: Iupati, Boone, Snyder, Looney, Netter, Seymour
C: Kilgore, Looney
DE: Smith, McDonald, Carradine, TJE, Dial, Okoye
NT: Dorsey, Ian Williams, Purcell
OLB: Aldon, Brooks, Lemonier, Skuta
ILB: Willis, Bowman, Wilhoite, Moody, Fleming
CB: Brock, Culliver, Wright, Morris, Cook, Swanson
S: Reid, Bethea, Spillman, Dahl, Ventrone
SCENARIO: MINOR TRADE UP
49ers trade their 1st (30) and 3rd (94) to move into the Top 25 to select...
1 (20-25). Marqise Lee-WR-USC, 6-0 192 4.52
Lee and everyone else who saw him play healthy knows he not only has much better than 4.52 field speed, he possess top-notch quickness in the open field to make defenders miss and turn shorter plays into long ones. Lee missed three games this year due to injuries and clearly wasn't himself all season. With defenses game planning against him, the odds were even less in his favor. On a positive note, Lee showed up big in the team's bowl game where he had about 120 yards and 2 TDs. Looking into Lee's apparent reputation for being injury prone reveals those who hold that opinion really haven't followed him. This was his only season where he battled injuries. Other notes: Lee is not exactly a powerful blocker, but effort-wise he does a great job. Lee is not the strongest player on the field, but but he is an explosive playmaker who would likely excel in the slot with Crabtree, Boldin, and Vernon drawing coverage away. Adding him would reunite him with his former WR coach, John Morton, who coached Lee as a freshman.
2 (56). Dominique Easley-DE-Florida, 6-2 288 4.93
If not for the injury, Easley likely would be being discussed as a first round lock. I would be apprehensive, as anyone would, taking a player with two separate ACL injuries. However, we seem to feel okay with taking players we believe can be elite threats when healthy, if we believe they can recover. Most who were around Easley will say his drive and determination makes him one of the most likely to come back from a knee injury like this and get back to dominating, just like he did the first time. The 49ers would likely put him on the PUP to ensure he completely heals, but by 2015, you could have the successors to Ray McDonald and Justin Smith terrorizing defenses in Easley and Carradine.
2 (61). Martavis Bryant-WR-Clemson, 6-4 211 4.42
As badly as I only want us to draft true potential #1's, I don't know if we'll go in that direction here. This wouldn't be my favorite pick here, but I can't help but feel the 49ers might be inclined to go in this direction. Why? Well first, Baalke has a tendency to go after missing elements on the team. When Moss left, so did the threat of a tall, speedy, downfield threat. As many have mentioned, we do not run 3-wide sets often and Bryant, who is quite raw and needs development, would be a package player I'd imagine. The re-signing of Boldin means the 49ers might feel they have the luxury of developing a high-upside player at the position until he leaves. Bryant shows flashes of great play, but the team may be convinced that once he's experienced, the consistency of high-level play would come. This off-season the 49ers have primarily shown an interest in two types of receivers: 1) tall, downfield weapons, and 2) shifty slot receivers. Bryant fits the first.
3 (77). Philip Gaines-CB-Rice, 6-0 193 4.38
Gaines boasts the abilities to matchup inside and outside, something that makes him a great fit for taking over the role vacated by Carlos Rogers. Gaines' speed, quickness, and competitive fire are evident and although he has several coachable/developing deficiences (could tackle better, play under more control, and gain some upper body strength), his potential, athleticism, and on-field performance make him a likely top 100 pick. I am not fully convinced we will go after a CB in round one. I think we may be smoke-screening and won't take a DB unless one we love falls right into place there.
4 (125). Walt Aikens-CB-Liberty, 6-1 203 4.47
The kid's pure talent is undeniable, and his potential development as a press corner makes it unlikely for him to fall out of the 4th if his character flags and medical evaluations all check out. His arrest for theft I'm sure will be looked at by teams, but if they are convinced that's a thing of the past, it shouldn't hurt him terribly. The Illinois transfer dominated the lower level of competition at Liberty, but still played impressive at the Senior Bowl. He possesses the long arms Baalke covets and is known for being a playmaker and consistent threat to cause turnovers. He lacks top-level recovery speed, but everything else is good-to-great. Overall, Aikens would be a tremendous fit for the team.
4 (TBD). Bryan Stork-C-Florida State, 6-4 315 5.20
Won the Rimington Trophy for best center in the nation. Stork is swift-footed, versatile (can play all interior positions), plays with terrific technique and leverage, and Was an unquestioned leader for his team. He displayed a nasty streak and finishes his play through the whistle. His only knock is he needs to develop his blocking in space on the move (much like Looney), and could add some strength to his lower body. Stork would provide depth along the interior and with development, could compete for a starting job by 2015.
5 (158). Kevin Pierre-Louis-SS-Boston College. 6-0 232 4.51
Productive linebacker for BC, but is undersized for the position in the NFL and scouts feel he is going to have to make the transition to strong safety. His pure athleticism and noted ball skills make him a great fit for the position though, and with the right coaching, if he's able to hone his athleticism into the new position, he could wind up being a valuable player. The 49ers always seem to love to find great projects to convert and I think Pierre-Louis could be a target. Another target here could be Kentucky ILB Avery Williamson, who LB coach Jim Leavitt reportedly worked with at the combine.
7 (219). Khairi Fortt-LB-Cal, 6-2 248 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. For all his talent, he just didn't produce at Cal. Fortt was a Penn State transfer and like many 49ers draftees, has the coveted attributes of long arms and explosive athletic ability. He is severely unpolished right now but overall, he's a great athlete that needs lots of work and he would immediately compete to be a contributor on special teams while he develops as a linebacker. Fortt could potentially play inside or outside, but he may be better suited inside for the 3-4.
7 (220). Spencer Long-OG-Nebraska, 6-4 320 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.
7 (222). Chris Martin-OT-Central Florida, 6-5 303 4.98
49ers have taken a developmental OL late in each of the past three drafts. Martin is a TE to OT convert with great athleticism. Has a lot of things to improve on, but is immenseley talented with much upside. Character flags hurt him too, but he is worth a look based on his abilities and potential to develop into a solid NFL player.