This is the most important draft in decades for the 49ers I think. We are soooo close I think everyone can taste it.
Well, changes to the roster since the combine has forced me to make changes to my mock. First, due to the acquisition of Bethae I don't see us needing a SS in the first, but I do think we address that position early. As I see it the 49ers needs are even more focused than in the previous two seasons, given the FA additions. We have 11 picks to fill them, with an amazing 6 picks in the first 3 rounds. There's no way HarBaalk can or will whiff on this draft. I really don't think we should trade any of our first 6 picks. We can really do some long-term damage to the NFC West, and NFL, with those 6 picks. But we are closer to a title this season than last season, I think. I mean, we are really, really close. So I think HarBaalk is gonna be more aggressive with trades this draft. I don't think more than 7 or 8 actually makes the team, so I don't think we actually draft more than 8 kids. This is why I think we're gonna be most aggressive in this draft. It's impossible to get into the heads of HarBaalk to predict trades, but two 1st via trade is coming I think. Still, I hope we don't get drunk on "BPA". I expect HarBaalk to draft the best players for this team and not just talent chase. I'd hate for us to have a roster full of talented uncontrollable head cases – full of talent – but difficult to fit into our schemes.
1st (Trade up to 9th overall with Buffalo for this year's 1st, 3rd, 7th, and conditional 2015 pick)
WR – Mike Evens, 6-5, 231lbs, Texas Tech. 4-46 40
We are gonna have to trade with the Bill and leapfrog the Lions to get this kid. Not even gonna go into his measurables. We know why we should trade up to draft him. We have the picks, the need, the guts, and the history of trading up to get homerun guys. With Mike Evens in on 3, 4 (and God help the defense) 5 wide this offense will be unstoppable. At first I didn't have us draft another WR 1st. But really looking at this it's hard for me to otherwise. We are really, REALLY close – closer than we've been in years. Choices at the WR position really showed it's weakness with this team in the playoffs. Would make the 46.
1st (Trade with the Rams at #13 overall for a 2nd, 7th and conditional 2015 pick)
CB – Justin Gilbert, 6-0, 202lbs, Oklahoma State, 4.37 40
Originally, I had us taking Bradley Roby, with no trades. But the acquisition of Bethea really changes (and shows) a lot. I see us playing more press-man/press-shadow single-high coverage's in 2014. That dictates that we need to have a big physical fast CB who can hold their own on an island as Bethea is better suited playing close to the LOS and Reid showing he can handle single-high duties. And that's Gilbert! I'm not gonna go into his measureable and skill-set either. Any Zoner here should already know what he'd bring to this team and how he'd fit in Fangio's scheme. Gilbert is a real #1 CB. I see Cully as a legit starting #2 corner. Brock is among the better slot CB in the league that could start in spots and push starters. With Gilbert and Cully as the starters, and Brock (or Wright) as the slot guy our secondary would be tops in the league. Would make the 46 as a starter. (If we don't trade up then I say we stay put at #30 and get CB – Bradley Roby, 5-11, 195lbs, Ohio State.)
2nd (Traded, from Alex Smith trade, 24th of the 2nd)
OLB – Kony Ealy, 6-4, 273lbs, Mizzou
Aldon's eventual replacement for sure, so a string message is gonna be sent. We picked up his option but I cannot see us bringing him back after his 5th. Besides, there WILL be a suspension from the league. In any event, we cannot afford to be without a passrusher. Ealy, a teammate of Aldon's at Mizzou, is a natural passrusher, and with long arms like HarBaalk likes them. Explosive off the LOS. Diversified rush techniques that's still developing, so he'll find a weakness in his guy. Effective with his hands in the dirt and standing up. V. Fangio should be able to come up with all kinds of schemes with this guy on the field. Bats down a lot of balls to give the offence wasted downs. Needs to work on his pad-level from the snap; at times he can get a little upright at the snap, making himself vulnerable getting latched onto by blockers. Would make the 46. If Ealy is gone by then I say we take Demarcus Lawrence, 6-3, 251lbs, Bosie State. Either of those two should be there at this point for us. (If we draft Ealy the competition to see between he and Cory Lemonier is gonna be epic, and I doubt Skuta would last if we draft Ealy.)
3rd (13th of the 3rd)
SS – Deone Bucannan, 6-1, 211lbs, Washington State, 4.4 40
Realistically, Bethea is but a one or two year stop-gap, given his age (29, and soon to be 30). Been watching kid for a while. Had a very good combine (4.4 40, 125" broad, 19 reps on the bench, 36.5 vertical). This dude is an absolute real-deal HITTER! He's a throwback-type player, the type that JH loves. Special team standout. He forces a lot of fumble on crossing runners and is a real intimidator in the secondary. Will need to develop fluidity in his hips, but that's to be expected given he's a SS. Though he plays too upright it can be corrected with coaching. Also, while big hits are useful to be a good defense he needs to learn to break himself down more. But unlike Hitner Bucannan's ball skills are better than average for hard hitting SS, so in that way he'd be an improvement over Hitner. His techniques are fixable. We have to get this kid on this defense!! Would make the 46.
matt49er made the point that the fact that Bethea got not that much less than Hitner and how fast we pounced on him indicates HarBaalk valued Bethea over Hitner. I agree with that! But even though we signed Bethae to a 4 year deal I cannot see him playing out that deal given Bethae's age.
3rd Traded. (From Tennessee - 2013 draft-day trade, 30th of the 3rd)
3rd (Compensatory pick, cannot trade, 36th of the 3rd)
ILB – Shayne Skov, 6-1, 245lbs, Stanford
Don't look now folks but P. Willis is getting older. At 29 we need to start thinking for the future at that position. And with Bowman injured and not slatted to be back until after the season starts I think it's a must that we get a guy here. Skov, a Stanford kid with just the temperament and work ethic JH & Co. desires, is a perfect fit. Diagnoses plays and hits the gaps well, and fast. Supreme block shedder and hole puncher and run stuffer. I saw a VERY patient ILB on film (highlights), breaks himself down as a matter of habit. Sure, fundamentally and textbook tackler but at times lunges for tackles, something he picked up after a successful ACL recovery. Was a team captain on a pretty good Stanford defense. Will have to learn different alignments in Fangio's varied defense. Would make the 46.
4th (29th of the 4th)
RB – Terrance West, 5-11, 225lbs, Towson, 4.5 40
I don't care what anyone says, I still say we get a RB in this draft. I had us taking him in my first mock and I won't move from that. I cannot see Frank Gore playing past this upcoming season, so getting another rock pounder would be smart. (In fact, if Lattimore shows and proves vital to our offence as a potential bell-cow who can run and block I see Franks carries dropping considerably. If Gore retires like I think he will our RB corp will be Lattimore and Hunter. Big Dix is gone and, as I hear it, we're shopping LMJ (but I think we keep him). None of those guys left are power RB. West is a real between-the-tackles, balanced one-cut browser. Runs with anger. He could be our short yardage specialist that Dixon couldn't be. Will devote himself to football. In the NFC West this guy is gonna fit right in with his toughness. Like Frank, he runs behind his pads and use to running a heavy load. And, he's has very good hands. Finished 3rd in the Walter Paton Award. Has a good story, very hard worker and devotion to the game. Will have to get better at pass protection, but in the hands of one Tom Rathman West will learn. Would make the 53. Would not last on the PS. Lattimore, West and LMJ will be a nice 3-headed monster for the 49ers for years to come.
5th (Trade up ahead of Atlanta for a 5th and 7th)
QB – Logan Thomas, 6-6, 248lbs, Virginia Tech
This guy's draft status is all over the board, high as 3rd and low as 7th. Even with the addition of Gabbert I think we are still gonna draft a QB at some point in this draft. We just have to have a better option if Kaep go down. Logan Thomas could come in and at worse push Gabbert (and from what I hear it's no guarantee that Gabbert will even make the team). Been having my eye on this kid for a while. A former TE, so he's athletic but he's going to have to work hard. A top performer at the combine. Thomas would be a definite upgrade at the #2 or 3 QB spot. I think this kid would be a perfect fit for this team. Would need some work, but so did C. Kaep. Many of the same knocks that scouts have on him are many of the same they had on Kaep (especially accuracy), minus the throwing mechanics. I saw this kid throw at the combine and he looked pretty good to me. Throwing mechanics isn't his issue at all. Like Kaep, he's a tough kid, durable, and won't mind lowering his shoulders to deliver a blow when on the run. I wouldn't be surprised to see a team reach in the 4th for him. Would make the 53.
Traded to Jacksonville for Blaine Gabbert
7th (Seventh round: From New Orleans - Parys Haralson trade, 27th of the 7th)
C/G – Bryan Stork, 6-4, 315lbs, Florida State
The departure of Jonathan Goodwin necessitates us drafting a C in this draft. Stork will be a really good fit for the 49ers. This kid is very polished with his techniques (plays with "butt down, keeps his feet moving, and hands in front"), so I don't think the transition to the NFL would so difficult. Has an NFC west temperament. Very aware kid (recognizes and handles blitzes and stunts early in the play). THE leader on that Florida St. O-line. "Shoots his guns" good and violent. Establishes position very quick after the ball is snapped. Rarely gives up middle pressure. Very willing, mean down-field blacker; he can pull from the C and OG positions. Played both OG positions. He even practiced at tackle, so Stork will provide us with added flexibility along our O-line. From what I saw in his highlights he will need to gain better body control when pulling and blocking downfield, but that's fixable given his athleticism (played TE in high school). Would make the 46.
7th Traded (From Carolina - Colin Jones trade, 28th of the 7th)
7th Traded. (Seventh round: Own pick, 30th of the 7th)
I know, heavy on defense, but that's where our biggest need is. We only need one more legit WR option. We have the ammo to draft the top CB AND the top WR a top WR in this draft. I think HarBaalk is gonna pull the trigger on them. Unlike many here I think we have our down-the-field stretcher already groomed on the roster in Chuck Jacobs. (I see Jacobs as our "out of nowhere" guy and burn a lot of unprepared defenses.) Given the talent level of this draft I honestly think that ALL our draftees will make at least the 53. I don't see any of our draftees put on the PS this season. As stated, we just don't have many holes to fill on this already talented, playoff experienced roster. So I see us filling our PS with camp bodies we sign off the street. (JH & Co. will continue to use the IR to stash players rather than expose them on the PS.)
In the NFL size matters. I am not a fan of small, light WR's who cannot get off the LOS. And the NFL is going away from smaller corners to bigger more physical corners. We have to understand something: we are in the NFC West, THE toughest division in the league. The NFC West isn't for the faint of hearts; it's the big boy division as the Broncos found out. We need to build to win the toughest division in football and everything else will follow. Indeed speed kills, but not if you cannot get off the LOS. As I stated, I doubt we pick all 11 picks. But I just think we'd get better talent on the roster if we work the complete process, pick all 11, let competition take over, and cut accordingly. But that first 6 picks are high picks and don't think we should trade any of those picks, but that's me. Look for us to be THE most aggressive team in the draft.