So, after great conversations from my last topic post (thanks for the feedback Zoners) and conversations amongst other Niner fans (including my bottle of Jack Daniels), I have come up with a mock draft that works out for our squad for both the now and the future. First off, let's figure out what the Niners have/need (Bold shows players to miss time into season or may be possible cut):
QB- Kaep, Gabbert
RB- Gore, Hunter, Lattimore, LMJ
LT- Staley, Martin, Boone
LG- Iupati, Snyder, Looney
C- Kilgore, Looney
RG- Boone, Looney, Snyder
RT- A. Davis, Boone, Martin
TE- V. Davis, MacDonald, Celek
WR1- Crabtree, Patton, Baldwin
WR2- Boldin, Patton, Baldwin
LDE- J. Smith, Carradine, Dorsey, Dobbs
NT- Williams, Dorsey, Dial
RDE- Ray McDonald, Tony Jerrod Eddie, Dorsey
LOLB- A.Smith, Skuta
ILB- Bowman*** , Wilholte
ILB- Willis, Moody
ROLB- Brooks, Lemonier
CB1- Brock, Cook, Cox
CB2- Culliver***, Cook, Wright
FS- Reid, Dahl
SS- Bethea, Spillman
With this roster, we clearly show needs (based in this order: talent, age, depth) at these positions: CB, WR, DL, ILB, OL
Based on available FAs and our 11 draft picks (listed below), I predict Trent Baalke to do this:
As badly as I want the Niners to get DeSean (especially since I don't see Crabtree staying since he'll want the money we might not have), Baalke will be quiet until May, possibly pick up some 1 year deals for camp fodder but nothing big.
Baalke goes through his wheeling and dealing mode, but finds himself getting blocked worse than a 5'9 PG trying to shoot a jumper over Mutumbo, losing out on guys like Gilbert, Evans, Lee, and Dennard. With Fuller/Verrett/Roby available as pick 23 comes around, with Cincy/SD/Saints/Carolina in need, we look towards our buddies from the AFC West in KC at #23 offering our 1st rounder (30th), 3rd rounder (94th), and a 6th next year (760 to ~ 750 value wise), see this as a strong pick up to fill in their OL/WR needs, which both will help.
At #23, the 49ers select:
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Intense slot guy who has a knack for causing turnovers. Can play man, press, and zone, his sole purpose will be to neutralize the Percy Harvin/Tavon Austin/Wes Welker/DeSean Jackson's of the NFL. Only knock is lack of height at 5'9, but when you're this talented, he'll figure out how to create an advantage.
The Niners are ecstatic they got such a talent at a position of need, but the ever vigilant Baalke is not quite done wheeling' and dealing', and goes into the night plotting his next move for Day Two.
Through the rough night of negotiations, Baalke has found a trade that the pundits will be salivating over the two hours prior to the start of the second round. After tough negotiations, the 49ers have executed a trade with the Dallas Cowboys:
Dallas receives: 2014 2nd round pick (#56 from Chiefs), 2014 5th rounder (#170), and conditional 2015 pick (6th rounder if he makes team, 4th rounder if he does)
49ers receives: CB Morris Claiborne
Reasoning: Although Jerry Jones NEVER admits to being wrong, but he has a great talent in Claiborne barely making it as a dime coverage guy in the Tampa 2 defense Claiborne is ill-suited for. By completing this trade, the Cowboys get extra picks in Day Two and Three, with another conditional pick for the next year, which will help in their rebuilding situation.
For the Niners, they get a stupendous man press coverage CB who excelled at LSU w/his former teammate Eric Reid. Instead of forcing him to play zones and over areas, Fangio's defense will allow Claiborne's athleticism to cut through and excel alongside the outside. With Claiborne (24), Verrett (23), Brock (25), and Reid (22), we'll have a young, solid secondary core for the next few years to come.
Day Two started off in a huge surprise, but the Baalke machine stays pat at #61 in Round 2.
At #61, the 49ers select:
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vandy
He produced consistently at Vandy and helped turn them from a doormat of the SEC into a multiple bowl winner and upset maker. Has speed, height, and hands, all of which the Niners require heavily at the WR position, and will make Kaepernick better from the get go. I know the big battle on the Zone is between Moncrief and Matthews for our 2nd round WR pick, and both are very talented. Moncrief has a higher ceiling, but Matthews talents are already good and can step up immediately (that and route running is far and beyond ahead of Moncrief). The only challenger I'd see is Davante Adams from Fresno State, who not only has great hands and speed, but can also step right in to punt/kickoff returner positions, but don't see him lasting that long.
In Round 3, a few "sure fire" 1st rounders fall into the 3rd, prompting a few phone calls to fall into Baalke's lap, leading towards pick #77 being traded for a 2015 2nd rounder. Yes, there is depth here, but with the mixture of limited roster space and potential player losses next season, obtaining a future 2nd rounder could become essential.
Finally, with the 3rd round comp. pick at #100, the last of Day Two, the 49ers weigh the talent around the board and take their time heading towards the podium.
At #100, the 49ers select:
Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
Many people probably are asking, "What the **** are you thinking? We have the best LB core and have no need for Skov". Here's the thing: we don't know how long Bowman will be out due to his injury, and due to not only previously playing in Fangio's defense but having the talent to play all 4 LB positions in the 3-4 system provides always valued versatility. His spirit will also bring a huge boost to this squad, as Bowman was maturing as a leader of the defense w/Willis, he will hopefully help keep this squad hungry and vicious.
After Day Two, the 49ers have snagged the best slot CB in the draft, a potential top man-to-man CB, a sure-handed WR with breakaway speed, and a LB who can play all 4 positions in the 3-4. And finally, Baalke studies the board all night once again, preparing for Day Three; the day that wins championships.
With McCullers and Dri Archer still on the board, quite a few squads are "chomping at the bit" to pick these two up in the fourth, opening up value for Baalke, who trades the 4th and a 7th for an early 5th and late 6th rounder. With these picks (around #150 for the 5th and around #180 in the 6th), Baalke will look for ST value that has been lost without no Dixon, and possible projects the coaching staff can create success.
At #150(ish), the 49ers select:
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Latimer is one of those talents who really needed to stay one more year to get his name out there and improve his stock. Still a little raw, most likely will battle with Baldwin for a roster spot because if he makes Practice Squad, don't expect him to stay long. He has the potential to be a great #2WR, but still has to prove he can match his talent with his work ethic. I predict he'll be the steal of this draft .
At #180(ish), the 49ers select:
Logan Thomas, QB, VaTech
Developmental guy for Harbaugh to have fun with. Could become potential strong 2nd stringer to back up our running QB, or provide us trade bait ala Matt Schuab and Kirk Cousins. Big guy with big arm, lacks accuracy but makes up for it in athleticism.
At #242, the 49ers select:
Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska
Torn ACL sidelined him, but was the premiere OL talent in the Big Ten who can also play Center, so red-shirt him ala Carradine/Lattimore. The Niners are unaware of the future with Iupati, whom we all hope stays, but need back up plans just in case. We have Kilgore starting at center, but in case if the experiment falters, Long has the size and smarts to play the position, while Kilgore can take over the LG spot (or Kilgore does great and Long can fill in the LG role). Either way, never hurts to have great talent to spare than none at all.
At #245, the 49ers select:
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Was cut due to off field issues, and yes we are not really running well on the "great citizens" poster nomination platform, but this kid has spectacular talent. With our strong core of coaches and veteran leadership, if he can harness the discipline and execute to his fullest potential, then we could have one of the most dangerous TE duos in the NFL with him and VD. But, if he falters and doesn't buy in, then he'll just be TC fodder. Sometimes you can find diamonds in the rough (yes, please forgive, babysat my niece this weekend and she loves that movie).
So, just for you all who don't want to read the background, here's a synopsis:
Trade #30, #94, and 2015 6th rounder to Chiefs to get #23, select Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Trade #56, #170, and conditional 2015 pick (6th rounder that can get up to 4th rounder) to Cowboys for Morris Claiborne, CB
At #61, 49ers select Jordan Matthews, WR, Vandy
Trade #77 for a 2015 second round pick
At #100, 49ers select Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
Trade #129 and #243 for one pick around #150 and one pick around #180
At around #150, 49ers select Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
At around #180, 49ers select Logan Thomas, QB, VaTech
At #242, 49ers select Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska
At #245, 49ers select Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Overall, I feel this draft would fix our secondary for YEARS, with the oldest secondary player being Bethea at 29yrs old. Also, would provide two awesome WR weapons to improve the passing game, as well as putting in a very talented LB into the rotation to improve the already strong front 7. As long as the secondary gets fixed, the 49ers are deep at EVERY OTHER position, which includes two "red-shirt" 1st round talents in Lattimore and Carradine excited to get onto the field. And for those worried about SS with no young talent behind Bethea, this was a weak safety draft, so by picking up the extra 2nd for next year, can help maneuver for acquiring the best safety talent next year .
LET'S GO NINERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!