ESPN NFL Draft analyst (and a guy who incites some incredibly divisive opinions) Todd McShay released his latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft yesterday and he has the San Francisco 49ers landing coveted LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. He views it as a selection of the best player available at that point, and based on how he mocked this out, it appears to be the best pick. The key to his mock was probably Blaine Gabbert going fifth to the Arizona Cardinals. The mock is Insider-protected so i'll post the top six picks before the 49ers:
1. Carolina Panthers: Da'Quan Bowers, defensive end
2. Denver Broncos: Nick Fairley, defensive tackle
3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, outside linebacker
4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, wide receiver
5. Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, quarterback
6. Cleveland Browns: Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle
Do any of these picks jump out as completely off-base? If you want you can head over to our 2011 Niners Nation Mock Draft Database (shameless plug) and see what some of those sites have to say about the top six leading up to the 49ers pick. In regards to that pick, McShay said:
San Francisco can't afford to take another risk on a quarterback in the top 10. The 49ers are better served to draft the best available player in Peterson, who could help a defense that ranked 24th in the NFL and could contribute in the return game.
This isn't exactly a rocket science comment, but it does make sense in regards to the quarterbacks available. We've discussed it a hundred times already and will likely discuss it five hundred more times in the next two months. To me, that's why getting a guy like Gabbert and/or Newton drafted in the top six would benefit the 49ers draft options. For every quarterback getting overrated on draft boards, that's one more quality talent sliding down. More importantly, it will hopefully keep the 49ers from getting too enamored by one of these first round QBs. I trust Harbaugh's QB judgment, but that doesn't mean I'm any less skeptical about him selecting a first round QB.
For those wondering, McShay's first mock draft had the 49ers selecting Marcell Dareus. The big change this time around was seeing Robert Quinn drop half a dozen spots and Von Miller climb eight spots. I'm not sure why he dropped Quinn. He mentions the suspension, but that didn't change from mock one to mock two. I'm guessing Miller's stock rose thanks in large part to his strong Senior Bowl week.