It's getting deep enough in the draft process where the beat writers will actually start doing mock drafts; well, at least the first round, anyway. On Monday, the Sacramento Bee's very own Matt Barrows posted a mock which I could really get behind.
Most people have seen me tweet over and over again that I don't believe the 49ers should take a defensive lineman high in the draft, unless that player has the upside to replace Justin Smith and has the potential to be just as problematic for opposing offenses. I don't want a nose tackle with a high pick, and I don't want a space eater who comes off the field on third downs. I want a nightmare, a freakish athlete with size, strength, and tenacity.
Well, Matt Barrows has given me that man, err ... sort of.
As mentioned, he has the 49ers moving-up in the draft to select a defensive player, none other than Sheldon Richardson, formerly of Missouri (where a few other 49ers may have attended). Richardson is that animal I mentioned, and while it costs the 49ers their second and fourth round picks (along with swapping firsts), I think it's a trade that Trent Baalke could very well make.
Richardson moves sideline-to-sideline like a much smaller man, though he's 295 lbs and plenty strong to play inside, too. When he can read the play, he usually blows it up before it gets going with a combination of speed and athleticism. You can read his full NN scouting report by clicking here.
With one year to learn from the best (the aforementioned eldest of the Smith's), and a commitment to get stronger in the weight room, Richardson should be able to step in and wreak havoc in short order. We'll have to wait and see, however, if such a big move-up is in fact in the cards for the 49ers.