Earlier today I was reading my twitter timeline when I noticed that Chris Steuber (NFL Draft Analyst and Director of Pro Player Personnel for the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League) had done a mock draft in his feed. Each tweet was two or three picks, so I scrolled through them to see who he had the 49ers picking. To my surprise I saw the 49ers taking Julio Jones with the seventh overall pick. That perplexed me, so I put it out to some others on twitter asking how they liked the pick over Prince Amukamara or another scenario.
Most said they would rather either take Prince or trade back deeper into the first round in the event that Patrick Peterson and Von Miller were gone (they were, as well as Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, A.J. Green, and Marcel Dareus). Steuber tweeted me later that drafting Jones would put the 49ers above the Eagles in terms of offensive weapons in the NFC, a compelling point and fun thought.
Then Matt Maiocco came out with a post about just this scenario, suggesting the 49ers should trade down if Green and/or Jones were available at the seventh pick. Maiocco's reasoning is that first-round WR's rarely have a much bigger impact than existing WR's or later-round players, at least not in their first year.
I tweeted this article to Steuber, who replied that worst-case the 49ers take Jones, don't do well in 2011 but are able to get Andrew Luck in 2012. Sure, that would be ideal and the franchise's offense would be loaded for years...but what about other positions like CB and pass rusher, or QB?
We don't know if/when free agency is happening so the 49ers are going to have to get a viable option at QB in the draft. The need at CB and pass rusher are hugely important as well, and can we afford to spend a second, third, and/or fourth round pick on those positions? Should we be strict in our focus of taking the best QB, CB, and pass rusher in the draft and ignore any "miraculous falls" a-la Crabtree in 2009?
What about trading down? Maiocco suggests it in his article and I can see how many teams would be clammoring to move up to our spot to grab one of the only two elite WR prospects. We could conceivably net another second round pick, trade down, and still grab a good CB like Brandon Harris, or a pass rusher like Robert Quinn or Justin Houston. The extra second round pick could be used on a QB while we use the other for whichever position we didn't take in the first round.
So, what would you do if you were calling the shots on draft day and Green and/or Jones were available at the seventh pick?