Note: For the next six days, up to March 9th, we'll be looking at potential 49ers top five prospects per round and evaluate their overall play throughout the season, as well as their combine performances. The rounds that these players are guesstimated to go in are exactly that... an estimation.
Yesterday we took a look at the top five players we may be looking at and their performances at the combine. Today we'll take a look at the potential top five options in the second round. Again, these are estimations and need to be taken with a grain of salt.
There's been several players that have come out of the second round that are better than some of the players that were selected in the first before them. There are some candidates in this years class that could fit that same description. In fact, there's players like that in every single draft.
In drafting players, there's really no way to know for sure who (outside of the top five picks) is going to be sure-fire successes in the National Football League. Sometimes you can have a good idea, but even then they don't pan out on occasion.
With that, let's take a look at the top five potential second rounders that the 49ers could be taking a look at.
1. TITUS YOUNG | BOISE STATE | WR | 5'11", 174 LBS
Titus Young had an excellent year in 2010 with the Boise State Broncos. On the year he had 71 receptions, 1215 yards, and 9 touchdowns. If you look at his career stats, it gets even better. But the best part is actually watching him play. He may not have ran as fast of time as people thought he would at the combine, but his game speed is off the charts. Some guys don't run well on the track, but if you put cleats on them and get them on grass in a game situation, it's a much different story.
Combine Performance: Young did not what you's call the best combine. And at one point was carried off the field due to a leg cramp. The good news for Young is that he will still have his pro day to show everyone that he can run that 4.3 he was raving about pre-combine (which I believe he will do).
2. BROOKS REED | ARIZONA | OLB | 6'3", 263 LBS
Many people have compared Reed to Clay Mathews, at least a poor man's version. This guys motor just doesn't quit. He plays the game from snap to whistle at the same speed no matter what. I was privileged enough to see him play a couple time in person, and he definitely looked like a man amongst boys. He, and Ricky Elmore were the heart of that defense. You can not replace a Brooks Reed and I am sure that Mike Stoops will miss him. Reed will most likely be a very effective every down outside linebacker at the next level.
Combine Performance: Reed finished as a top performer in the 40-yard dash (4.68), and the 20-yard shuttle. He showed good agility and the ability to cut and change direction very well. Reed was a tackling machine at Arizona and these two elements of his game should translate good to the NFL.
3. AARON WILLIAMS | TEXAS | CB | 6'0", 204 LBS
Williams may be a very underrated corner coming out of this years class. He would be well worth a second round choice if there isn't many other options left on the board. And assuming that the 49ers do not pursue a cornerback in the first round. Although, history has shown that team have selected cornerbacks back to back before. Williams could be inserted as a nickel corner immediately and make a major impact there.
Combine Performance: Williams was a top performer in the broad jump (10'7"). He was pretty average in all the measurable events, but really showed great instinct in all of the turning and coverage drills. There are a bunch of defensive backs that come out of The University of Texas, so in turn it's hard to tell which ones will pan out and which ones won't. I believe that Williams will be one of the small majority of Texas corners that turns the corner.
4. COLIN KAEPERNICK | NEVADA | QB | 6'5", 233 LBS
Many will say that this is too high for Kaepernick. Many will argue that Christian Ponder belongs here instead. Some people will agree with Kaepernick in the second round as well. Whatever your feelings may be on the Nevada quarterback, there's no denying that he is an interesting prospect. While attending the Manning's offseason quarterback camp that they hold each year, the Manning's had nothing but praise to sing about Kaepernick. When you have two quarterbacks like that endorsing you, that can only be a good thing. Kaepernick may not be ready to start right away, but he could be ready quicker than what some folks may think.
Combine Performance: Kaepernick ran a pretty fast 40-yard dash for a quarterback (4.53). Most people thought he would have done a bit better than that, but it's still ahead of the curve. The Nevada quarterback did okay in all the other drills. He threw on par with what he should have, but there was concern about his footwork by some of the analysts. Kaepernick is a quick learner as I've mentioned before, and any team that takes him may be in for a nice surprise.
5. CHRISTIAN BALLARD | IOWA | 34 DE | 6'4", 283 LBS
I've always been against drafting defensive linemen early on in the draft. You don't get as much on your return because they take longer to develop in most scenarios. But Ballard could be an exception to the rule and contribute right away. In watching him at Iowa the last couple of years, he proved to be a dominant force at the college football level. He will have a much larger challenge in taking a step up to the NFL. Ballard will be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on at the next level.
Combine Performance: Ballard did not place as a top-performer in any of the events. He did not have the best of combines but it shouldn't hurt his stock too much. The film is going to override the combine in his case. Ballard is a prime example on why there shouldn't be too much stock put in to combine performances.
Summary: It's only an opinion, but it's mine. I feel like these would be the best second round prospects available when the 49ers are on the clock. There's no telling how much reaching will go on, or trades, or anything else. The draft is full of surprises every single year. This year will be no different.