The 2011 NFL Draft kicks off in five days, so we're fast approaching the end of our 2011 49ers mock draft database. We've been going through mock drafts for close to three months now, and the most consistent players since the first edition of the mock draft database have been Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara and Blaine Gabbert. Lately we've seen J.J. Watt moving up some draft boards and I personally have been a fan of Cameron Jordan for some time. Both guys would make intriguing defensive end options opposite Justin Smith.
I mention Jordan because he showed up in a mock draft today and it got me thinking about the issue of reaching for picks. Peterson is more or less the consensus number one here. After that, opinions seem to vary. If PP is off the board at seven, are either J.J. Watt or Cameron Jordan good enough to be worthy of the seventh pick if you're not sold on Prince Amukamara or one of the other host of players that will be available there?
If you think Watt and Jordan can each be high impact players for the 49ers, does that make the idea of either being a "reach" at seven more just a perception problem than an actual problem? Say you're comparing Watt/Jordan to the other players there. If you think Amukamara has the higher ceiling but is more likely to bust, while Watt/Jordan has a slightly lower ceiling but a much higher likelihood of success, is it too conservative to select either of them at seven?
When I look at next week's draft, if the 49ers decided to move down a few spots and could grab Watt or Jordan at lower spot, I'd be quite pleased with that first round outcome (assuming it's not a particularly stupid trade). I'd be fine with Patrick Peterson and also with Prince Amukamara, but something about Watt and Jordan intrigues me. In Thursday's 50 in 50 on J.J. Watt, Drew K mentioned how he was more or less satisfied with Isaac Sopoaga this past year. If you're down with Sopoaga and think he can work in the new Fangio defense (nothing to indicate one way or the other at this point), then it might not be a smart move to grab a defensive end that high. Personally I'm in favor of the upgrade.