Lets examine the first nine teams and who they might be interested in taking to better understand where the 49ers stand. What are the odds your favorite guy will be there when San Francisco is on the clock? And where can we expect heavy trade activity?
1. Detroit Lions - I've learned my lesson concerning what NFL teams will do with the #1 overall pick. I personally feel having the leagues worst record entitles you to drafting the best player. Some NFL GMs don't feel that way. They draft quarterbacks. A look around the Bay Area shows us Al Davis and the Raiders opted for the QB (Jamarcus Russell) over the best prospect in the 2007 draft and maybe best WR prospect ever (Calvin Johnson). With our own 49ers in 2005, as much as I wanted otherwise, McNolan wanted a face for the franchise. Lions do the same here, passing on the best player (Aaron Curry) for a QB. Stafford is the soup du jour.
The pick: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
2. St. Louis Rams - There's a few ways this pick could go. Most people tend to feel Aaron Curry is the #1 player in the draft, so he could certainly be the pick. This is also where Michael Crabtree starts to enter the discussion, but there are too many question marks for him here. QB is also a darkhorse here, but with Orlando Pace at the end of a great career, OT has to be the pick.
The pick: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
3. Kansas City - This is a no-brainer pick, if they keep it. You have to be pleased when the best player in the draft falls to you at #3. Curry becomes the Chiefs version of Patrick Willis. There could be some interest in this pick from other teams.
The pick: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
4. Seattle Seahawks - This is a tough pick to project. The Seahawks hold a lot of cards here. There are a handful of players that are worth taking here, but none really perfectly meet up with their most pressing needs. I wouldn't be surprised if Seattle is a hotspot for some trade activity. They could move up to get at Aaron Curry to replace Julian Peterson, or move down and get a target that fits need/value better. If they swap with KC, who could add the 2nd rounder they lack, the Chiefs could take Orakpo to fill their need for a pass rush (and transition to 3-4). Again, Michael Crabtree would have to be a consideration if the Seahawks keep the #4 pick, although they look fine with T.J., Burleson and Branch healthy. Charley Casserly has RB Chris Wells going here due to a conversation with Mora about wanting a strong running game. I'm going to take that "running game" comment from Mora to mean he wants to remain strong up front. Walter Jones is still with the team, but his days are numbered.
The pick: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
5. Cleveland Browns - Michael Crabtree is a consideration again with the rumors of the Browns shopping Braylon Edwards. I can't see that happening unless a deal for Edwards actually goes down prior to draft day. To me, the Browns have to grab a piece for their 3-4 defense. Need meets value here.
The pick: Brian Orakpo, OLB, Texas
Find out who the 49ers are left with after the jump...
6. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals coaching staff was in charge of the North squad at the Senior Bowl where B.J. Raji was unblockable all week. If they aren't willing to take him here, then he doesn't belong in the top 10. Other possibilites are OT, with rumors of Cinci trying to unload Levi Jones and, of course, Michael Crabtree deserves a look with the loss of T.J. and Chad Johnson likely close behind him. I think they go with the known quantity here.
The pick: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
7.Oakland Raiders - Michael Crabtree, right? No. For how often Al Davis is projected to take a WR here, it should be noted that the Raiders haven't drafted a WR in the first round since Tim Brown in 1988. If the nutty old curmudgeon passes on a guy like Calvin Johnson, he sure isn't going to take a WR here--speedy or otherwise. He's obligated to protect his investment at QB. I think people aren't giving enough credence to Andre Smith's falling stock. Smith could be the pick here too, but I think Al will go with the more athletic tackle who has a better chance to stay on the blind side. Actually, who the hell knows what Al is gonna do...c'mon Al, I know you've got a curveball for us!
The pick: Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Well, it ends here. That little fluttery thing in the back of your mind that hopes Michael Crabtreee will fall to the 49ers at #10 can be safely swept away. There are just too many teams that will have Crabtree in the mix at their choice. Even if he does start to fall, no way he gets past the Jags at #8, unless there's a miracle shock selection that allows one of the top guys to fall this far. I guess it's concievable that Jacksonville could snag a QB, but highly unlikely.
The pick: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
9. Green Bay Packers - This is obviously where 49er fans will begin to sweat profusely. If you're eying a defensive player, Green Bay will probably break your heart on draft day. The Pack will undoubtedly add some players that fit their switch to the 3-4 defense. But that same need to add specific players may be the reason they don't nab "our" guy. IMO, this is one of the more likely hot spots for trade activity. If a team in the teens is looking for a QB, they will probably identify this as the pick to jump up ahead of a lot of teams, including the 49ers, who might draft a QB. The Packers, on the other hand, could use an extra draft pick or two to help complete their defensive transition. If I had to project one trade on draft day, I'd say Jets move up here to get Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is talented and media savvy and seems like a great fit in NY. Then Green Bay would have 3 picks in the first two rounds to add a rush OLB like Maybin, English, Barwin or Sintim, a big end like Jackson or Gilbert ans maybe even a nose guard. If they do keep the pick, in this scenario, It might sting a little for me as they would probably take my guy.
The pick: Everette Brown, OLB, Florida State
So that leaves the 49ers. Barring trades, or a shake-up like the Wells pick from Casserly's mock, these are the most likely nine to go in front of SF. Yeah, you could swap out Oher for Smith, but it leaves us in the same place, as was the case in the SBN mock over at Mocking The Draft. So I ask you--who do you take here? And if you want out of the 10 slot, how far down or up are you willing to go? Who would you target?