Fooch's Note: We've been getting some really great FanPosts over the past couple weeks with people breaking down the 49ers draft needs via mock drafts. We can't move all of them to the front page, but I wanted to start moving some of them the front page on a more regular basis to showcase the interesting content, and also because there is some great conversation to be had.
Just spent some time reading through fpsoft's post and then Fooch's post about free agent wide receivers. I'll admit that I've just had a couple (honestly) of gin gimlets, so you guys have got me going. Accordingly, let's see what you think about this old guy's mock draft.
As a prelude, let me just say that a couple of weeks ago I published my pre-Combine "radical get-better plan" ... the groups' reaction: face-plant!! It would seem that nobody (but me) would even consider making a play to acquire the draft rights to Andrew Luck. Clearly, as a group, we are not risk-takers; I have ALWAYS been a risk-taker and, fortunately, have benefitted significantly because of it. I still think that that strategy is at least worth a shot (kind of a "nothing ventured, nothing gained" philosophy); but, as a pragmatist, I concede that I can't sell that here.
So ... let me try once again. This time I'll offer just a conservative improvement plan ... not quite plain vanilla, but close. First, let's get a few assumptions our of the way:
Our own free agents: This mock will assume that we re-sign Brooks, Costanzo, Ginn, Goldson, Grant, Morgan, Rogers, Alex Smith, Snyder and Spillman. Maybe we don't get all, but hopefully close. I'll also assume that we DO NOT re-sign Gooden, Norris, Peelle, Rachal, Reggie Smith, Swain or Madieu Williams. Hope I got everybody ... if not, have another drink.
Other-team free agents: For this, I'm going to assume that we only sign two other-team free agents ... WR Stevie Johnson (Buffalo) as a starter and QB Josh Johnson (Tampa Bay) as a backup. Yes, I know that Stevie is trading contract offers with the Bills, but I believe that, being a SF boy, if Stevie knew that we were interested in making him our #1 WR, he might just hold off until March 13 ... preferring to return home to SF with a playoff team instead of staying in the Buffalo snow and cold (after all, the guy does have a family). What about other free agents you ask? Either too expensive or not good enough to be our #1! As for Josh Johnson, that move would depend upon how strongly Trent/Harbs and crew feel about Scott Tolzien's potential.
Team Needs: On offense -- WR, OG, RB On defense -- CB, S, OLB, DE, NT
Qualifiers: The 2012 draft is strong at the WR and CB positions, but weak, in terms of depth, at RB and OLB. Conversely, the 2103 draft will be very strong at both the RB and OLB positions. Accordingly, I will assume that we will focus on drafting Frank's ultimate replacement and a high-level OLB prospect in the first three rounds of the 2013 draft. Thus, I do not propose taking a RB at all this year and only selecting a OLB prospect in the late rounds.
Draft Strategy: Our primary need is at the WR position but, drafting at Pick #30, there is no way that we can hope to get one of the top 3-4 WR prospects who could be considered immediate starting caliber. However, we can probably draft from the next tier down just as well fifteen picks later as we can at Pick #30. Accordingly, I propose that we trade down out of the first round and gain an additional draft choice in the third round. For the sake of this mock draft I assume that we consummate a trade with Dallas, as follows: San Francisco trades it's first round pick at #30 to Dallas in exchange for Dallas' picks #45 (second round) and #82 (third round). Why would Dallas be interested in making this deal? Glad you asked. Their two biggest needs in this draft are CB and OG ... in either order, depending upon who's available. But they won't be able to get two primo prospects at #14 and #45. But, they could do so with if they had #14 and #30 ... the quality of their second selection (either a OG or a CB) would be MUCH better at Pick #30 than at Pick #45. Subsequent picks for Dallas' needs will be far less important than these two selections.
Given all those preliminaries, here is my pre-Combine mock draft for the Niners:
ROUND 2 / PICK #45 (from Dallas): WR STEPHEN HILL (Georgia Tech) 6'5" 205-210# 4.57 or better SI Grade* 71; SI Traits* 23; NFP Grade* 6.6 D
Alternatives if Hill not available: WR Rueben Randle (LSU), WR Mohamed Sanu (Rutgers), WR Juron Criner (Arizona), WR Brian Quick (Appalaachian State).
ROUND 2 / PICK #62 (own Pick): CB TRUMAINE JOHNSON (Montana) 6'2" 204# 4.52 SI Grade* 83; SI Traits* 20; NFP Grade* 6.6 C
Alternatives if Johnson not available: CB Brandon Boykin (Georgia), FS Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State).
ROUND 3 / PICK #82 (from Dallas): DE CAM JOHNSON (Virginia) 6'3" 270# 4.76 SI Grade* 82; SI Traits* 15; NFP Grade* 6.8
Alternatives if Johnson not available: S George Iloka (Boise State), CB Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina).
ROUND 3 / PICK #93: S GEORGE ILOKA (Boise State) 6'3" 220# 4.50 SI Grade* 78; SI Traits* 20; NFP Grade* 6.8
Alternative if Iloka not available: OLB Shea McClellin (Boise State).
ROUND 4 / PICK #127: OG BRANDON BROOKS (Miami OH) 6'5" 353# 5.32 SI Grade* 75; SI Traits* 18; NFP Grade* 6.8 D
Alternatives if Brooks not available: WR Joe Adams (Arkansas), NT Alameda Ta'amu (Washington), DE Kheeston Randall (Texas), NT Mike Martin (Michigan).
ROUND 5 / PICK #165: OLB BRETT ROY (Nevada) 6'3" 280# 4.88 SI Grade* NR; SI Traits* NR; NFP Grade* 6.1 D
Alternatives if Roy not available: WR Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M), WR Marvin Jones (California), NT Akiem Hicks (Regina).
ROUND 6 / PICK #199: NT AKIEM HICKS (Regina) 6'5" 324# 4.98 SI Grade* NF; Si Traits* NR; NGP Grade* 6.0 DC
Alternatives is Hicks not available: DT Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati), S Tysyn Hartman (Kansas State).
ROUND 7 / PICK #238: DE TYRONE CRAWFORD (Boise State) 6'4" 285# 4.85 SI Grade* 77; SI Traits* 18; NFP Grade* 6.3 D
* EXPLANATION OF GRADES:
SI Grade = Scouts Inc.'s overall grade for the prospect -- range = 99 - 30, highest to lowest grade considered draftable. (Meaning: top 25 prospects in the 90s, next 25 prospects in the 80s, then next 50 in the 70s, etc.) (For reference, Andrew Luck is the only prospect with a grade of 99).
SI Traits = Total of Scouts Inc.'s grade for each of eight different traits -- four for general football capabilities and four for position-specific traits -- rated from 1 (exceptional) to 5 (marginal); thus, 8 is the very best possible score and 24 would be "average" prospect. (For reference, Andrew Luck grades out as highest prospect at 12).
NFP Grade = National Football Post's (Wes Bunting) grade for the prospect -- range = 9,0 (starts in first game as a pro) to 5.0 (camp body). (Again, for reference, Andrew Luck is the only prospect given a 9.0 this year).
If we were able to acquire this group of prospects, I would consider it an extremely strong draft ... perhaps one of the best in recent times. What do you think?
Obviously we are going to learn a great deal more about all of the prospects at the Combine next week. I expect that prospect rankings will change to some extent, based upon individual performances, after the Combine. Accordingly, I will update my "conservative mock" at that time.