As I sit here thinking, doing mock drafts, evaluating mock drafts, etc...I find that there's more than one reason why this year in particular it's hard to tell just who the 49ers are going to select in the NFL Draft.
There are the usual reasons: the team's filled many holes in free-agency (FA) already, the team is already solid at most positions as evidenced by the way they performed last year, the length of contracts for guys already on the roster, etc.
But then there's another reason...one that I probably shouldn't let myself fall victim to:
Falling in love with the depth already on the roster, especially young guys.
I find it particularly difficult to envision the 49ers taking a defensive lineman (DL) this draft because I'm so excited by the fringe-guys we have at those positions. Guys like Will Tukuafu, who's spent two years with the team and seemed to always play with high energy.
Demarcus Dobbs was someone we all were intrigued by last season, too. A bit undersized for a 5-tech (3-4 DE) but he had some good performances in pre-season and a decent scouting report.
We all love "Peanut-Butter-Jelly-Time", aka: Ricky Jean-Francois. He's probably the most solid backup we have, as he can play DE or NT in the 3-4 scheme.
Can we imagine letting these guys go before we get a chance to see if they could mature into a potential starter? I have a hard time with it, though logic should take over and I should tell myself that Justin Smith is in his 30's and this defense wouldn't be the same without constant havoc coming from that spot.
And you don't want to select a draft pick in the first handful of rounds that stands a good chance to be cut...that's a poor investment.
Which fringe-guys are you in love with?