FanPost

Prioritization of Positional Needs and Various Mock Draft Scenarios

* Fooch, I didn't see the "Official NN Mock Draft FanPost (For FanSpeak and More) until after I'd already posted this. If you'd like I can delete it. *

This is my first Fanpost, so we'll see how this goes...

The debate about which players the 49ers should select in the first three rounds of the 2014 NFL draft has produced three positions of greatest need: cornerback, safety, and wide receiver. There have also been mock drafts by the big pundits espousing that the Niners should draft a defensive lineman due to the fact that defensive ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are getting up there in years and there seem to be no clear heir-apparents for either of them. Despite that, the consensus around here is that defensive lineman isn't nearly as pressing of a need as the aforementioned 3 positions. So, with that in mind, let's first try to determine which position poses the greatest need.

The 49ers' greatest position of need is cornerback. Here's why. Last year, the Niners went into the playoffs with CBs Tarell Brown, Tramaine Brock, and Carlos Rogers as #s 1-3. Brown signed with the Raiders and Rogers was cut because of his exorbitant contract. That leaves just one starter returning from our secondary last year: Tramaine Brock. Chris Culliver is making his way back from an ACL tear suffered last season, and it may be a bit idealistic to expect him to immediately return to the form we saw from him during the 2012 season. Even if he is able to return to form, does he represent a marked improvement over what we lost in Tarell Brown? That leaves the Niners lastly with Eric Wright, their recent addition of under-achiever Chris Cook, and unproven special teamers Dax Swanson and Darryl Morris. Taken as a whole, this group doesn't inspire much confidence. Not only was last year's group one of the weaknesses of the team, but this new group looks to be a step backward from the 2013 squad. As much as we would like to think of having a boss front-seven with two good safeties as being sufficient, the league is becoming more pass happy, highlighting the importance of cornerbacks. Add to that the fact that in last year's NFC championship game against the Seahawks, Russel Wilson time and again was able to avoid the pass rush and then find wide-open receivers down field, and you wind up having to give greater priority to the cornerback position. I'm sure that those of us who watched all the games last year and paid attention noticed that at times our pass rush was virtually non-existent. Bottom line is that our corners need to be able to stay with receivers longer, particularly as we are forced to face the elusive Russel Wilson in the coming decade.

That brings me to the team's second greatest need: safety. The Antoine Bethea signing was a really intelligent move by the Niner's FO, but he's probably not the answer beyond the next season or two, particularly if an upgrade can be found in the draft. Eric Reid should be a perennial pro-bowler and is making Trent Baalke's trade up in the 1st round last year look like a stroke of brilliance. None of the backups at either safety position will likely prove to be starters down the road. Some people argue that the Niners won't use a pick in the first 2 rounds on a safety who will then ride the pine in his first year, but I think that view is far too short-sighted. Giving a talented rookie safety time to learn the intricacies of the Niners defense and how to be a pro from the experienced Bethea sounds ideal.

Wide receiver is the third greatest need for the 49ers. The Anquan Boldin extension came as a great relief to many of us fans. Hopefully in 2014 he mirrors the form he showed in 2013. We are also all hoping that the Niners are able to re-sign Michael Crabtree. Looking at this year's crop of rookie receivers just helps to reinforce how uniquely talented Crabtree is. Aside from Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, I wouldn't feel confident replacing Crabtree with any of the receivers in this year's draft. Quinton Patton has shown flashes of brilliance but needs more opportunities in order to demonstrate what it is the Niners have in him. All that being said, the missing component from the 49ers receiver corps is a deep threat who can blow the top off the defense. While this point may be a bit belabored as there are some valid questions regarding Kaep's willingness to throw to receivers deep down the field, there certainly is strategic merit in forcing defenses to respect your ability to gouge them for a large gain if they choose to stack the box.

Ok, so with all of that foundational information in place, here are the several draft scenarios that may become a reality when May 8 rolls around. These choices assume the availability of certain players at certain spots in the draft, some of which you may disagree with. Feel free to share your insights in the comments.

Scenario #1: No Trades

#30: CB Bradley Roby Ohio State or S/CB Jimmie Ward Northern Illinois

#56: WR Donte Moncrief Ole Miss or WR Martavis Bryant Clemson (I prefer Bryant)

#61: FS Terrence Brooks FSU

#77: C Weston Richburg Colorado State

#94 DE Dominique Easley Florida (Red-shirt season)

Scenario #2: Reasonable trade-ups in the 1st and 2nd (this would be my preference)

#30, 4th rounder, and 2015 4th rounder for Chiefs' #23: CB Jason Verrett TCU

#61 and #77 for Raiders' #36: SS Deone Bucannon Washington State

#56: WR Donte Moncrief Ole Miss or WR Martavis Bryant Clemson (I prefer Bryant)

#94: DE Dominique Easley Florida (Red-shirt season) or trade for 2015 2nd round pick/2015 3rd and 4th

Scenario #3: Trade out of the 1st

#30 for Buccaneers' #38 and 4th rounder: SS Deone Bucannon Washington State

#61, #94, and Buccaneers' 4th rounder for Raiders' #36: S/CB Jimmie Ward Northern Illinois

#56: WR Donte Moncrief Ole Miss or WR Martavis Bryant Clemson (I prefer Bryant)

#77: C Weston Richburg Colorado State or DE Dominique Easley Florida (Red-shirt season)

Scenario #4: 2nd trade out of the 1st

#30 for Buccaneers #38 and 4th rounder: SS Deone Bucannon Washington State

#56: WR Donte Moncrief Ole Miss or WR Martavis Bryant Clemson (I prefer Bryant)

#61: Trade for 2015 1st round pick/ 2015 2nd round pick and 3rd round pick

#77: CB E.J. Gaines Missouri

#94: DE Dominique Easley Florida (Red-shirt season)

Scenario #5: Unlikely trade-up to get WR Mike Evans

#30, #56, and #77 for Giants' #12: WR Mike Evans Texas A&M

#61: FS Terrence Brooks FSU

#94: CB E.J. Gaines Missouri

Scenario #6: Not-going-to-happen ridiculous trade-up for WR Sammy Watkins

#30, #56, #61, and 2015 1st rounder for Browns' #4: WR Sammy Watkins Clemson

#77: CB E.J. Gaines Missouri

#94: DE Dominique Easley Florida (Red-shirt season)

I'm sure there are other scenarios that I'm just not thinking of right now. These projections are the result of my own research and observations, browsing mock drafts, the CBS draft prospects list, and are also based on suggestions of other people here on NinersNation. What do you guys think?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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