For this draft I focus on what I do every year: best player available and elite production. My draft last year included Keenan Allen, Jordan Reed, and Tyrann Mathieu... while all popular picks I think this strategy works just as well if not better than most NFL GM's. Time will tell if this draft will as well.
1) Marqis Lee- WR, USC- 6'0, 192 lbs
The 49ers go for value on a guy that coming into this season seemed like a lock for the top 5. A nagging injury, terrible qb play, and untimely drops cause him to fall into our laps. While his timed speed was not as good as expected this guy is about as quick and fluid of an athlete as they come. He is a true playmaker that gets separation and is a threat with the ball in his hands.
2) Phillip Gaines- CB, Rice- 6'0, 193 lbs
Gaines is flying very much under the radar now but we should be ecstatic if he falls to our 2nd round pick. He is fast, fluid, and long which really meshes well with our style of defense and Baalke's player preferences. He has been a true shutdown corner for Rice and has all the tools to become a number 1 cb.
2) Dominique Easley- DE, Florida- 6'2, 288 lbs
De ja vu? Like Carradine last year, Easley would be a top 10 pick without the ACL tear. While there are obvious injury concerns the value is too goo to pass up. We can redshirt him this year so he still has 4 years on his contract and doesn't take a roster spot, then once Cowboy retires at the end of this year we will have not one, but 2 elite longterm options at DE. Ray McDonald isn't getting any younger either and this would solidify our DL for the future. Two top 10 talents at DE and our lb core would be scary.
3) Marcus Martin- C, USC- 6'3, 320 lbs
Marcus Martin is a bit raw, but has the tools to become an elite center in the NFL. He can compete with Kilgore for the starter spot with minimal pressure and worst case would become our long-term starter in 2015 (where Kilgore can go back to being Mr. Versatile).
3) Robert Herron- WR, Wyoming- 5'9, 192 lbs
This may seem redundant given the Lee pick, but Herron is a better deep threat and further adds to our wr core. Both Lee and Herron are elite in areas that our wr core has lacked so they would be great complimentary pieces to our possession style wr's. With this young wr core we could rotate guys in and out, keeping everyone fresh, and able to stretch the field on every play.
3) Jordan Tripp- LB, Montana- 6'2, 235 lbs
Tough, instinctual, and great overall athlete. If he went to a bigger school he would be much more of a household name. To me he's a very similar prospect to Kiko Alonso coming out (though Alonso obviously played for a bigger school). He tested phenomenally at the combine (top 3 in several drills including number 1 in 3 cone). He would be a great longterm backup at lb and potential successor to Willis when he declines.
4) Aaron Murray- QB, Georgia- 6'1, 207 lbs
Aaron Murray is elite in every area that Kaepernick struggles and while not half the athlete that Kaepernick he is a clutch and elite between the ears. I see Murray at worst as an elite franchise backup qb and at best a starter in th NFL. He is smart, accurate, and can read a defense as well as anyone in the draft. Another payer falling due to ACL but he should be good to go by when the NFL season starts (and obviously won't need to play year 1).
5) Aaron Colvin- CB, Oklahoma- 5'11, 180 lbs
Colvin was looking like a solid 2nd round pick pre ACL injury. Lucky for us players recover from ACL injuries these days and we can afford to redshirt in order to add a starter worthy talent this late in the draft. Colvin and Easley become training room buddies and become starters in 2015.
7) Brandon Thomas- OG, Clemson- 6'3, 317 lbs
The beauty of Brandon Thomas is that he should go in the top 3 rounds if it weren't for an ACL tear but we wouldn't even need him this year. I think Iupati will be playing his last season as a 49er and Brandon Thomas would be a great fit in our offense to replace him. Once again another redshirt player that invests in our future without giving up a high draft pick. This guy was a solid OT for a great program and has the big body and feet to be a very good starting OG in the NFL.
7) Colt Lyerla- TE, Oregon- 6'4, 244 lbs
Yes Colt Lyerla was busted with cocaine and sent a controversial tweet following Sandy Hook. The guy is somewhat of a weirdo but he's also a college kid. He wasn't perpetually in trouble and I think slipping this far in the draft will give him a dose of reality. If it weren't for the off field issues he would go in the top 50. Even better, he could not be more perfect of a fit for our offense. He is a better version of Delanie Walker. What player has his intensity, ability to block, speed, hands, and even ability to carry the ball out of the backfield. This guy is a rare talent and his skillset could not be a better fit. This is why we can give him 1 free pass and take a gamble in the 7th.
7) Pierre Warren- FS, Jacksonville St.- 6'0, 190 lbs
Small school sleeper prospect with all the tools and production but not recognized due to the lower level of competition.