Exploring the Depth of the 2014 NFL Draft

I came up with what I think is an interesting way to explore the depth of the upcoming draft. My idea is to go through the 2014 draft class and try to build a 22-man roster, with starters at every position on both offense and defense. For the sake of simplicity, I'm leaving out kickers, punters, long snappers, and special teamers. That sounds like a simple enough task, right? Just select the best players at each position and you have your team, right? Not so fast! That would be far too easy.

Here's the catch: you're only allowed to select two players from those ranked 1-10, one player from positions 11-20, one from 21-30, one from 31-40, and so on and so forth. That's one player from each 10-player grouping. The baseline ranking system that I used is the prospect rankings at In order for this to make sense at all, others would need to use the same rankings. Here's a link.

The exception to only being able to select one player is that you can choose two players in the top-10. You also have the option to skip a grouping if none of the players in that group interest you. Now I realize that the rankings at CBS don't necessarily depict accurately where prospects are likely to be drafted, but the purpose of this exercise isn't to determine the exact precise point where a certain player will be available. The purpose of this exercise is to get a general idea of where a prospect is likely to be drafted and to force us to explore both the later rounds of the draft as well as players who don't necessarily fall within the 49ers' draft needs. Given the unpredictability of Trent Baalke's draft strategy, some unexpected prospects may very well wind up being drafted despite the lack of a glaring need.

With those parameters laid out, here's how my "draft" went:

1-10: DE Jadaveon Clowney & OT Greg Robinson

11-20: DT Aaron Donald

21-30: MLB C.J. Moseley

31-40: CB Jason Verrett

41-50: DE Kareem Martin

51-60: OG Gabe Jackson

61-70: WR Jordan Matthews

71-80: C Marcus Martin

81-90: SS Deone Bucannon

91-100: WR Jarvis Landry

101-110: WR Jared Abbrederis

111-120: RB Devonta Freeman

121-130: TE Arthur Lynch

131-140: OG Jon Halapio

141-150: QB Aaron Murray

151-160: DT Caraun Reid

161-170: OT Seantrel Henderson

171-180: FS Dontae Johnson

181-190: CB Antone Exum

191-200: Skip

201-210: OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis

211-220: LB Avery Williamson

With those picks, I wind up with a 3-receiver offense with no fullback and a 4-3 defense with a stacked d-line. The fun thing about this exercise is that it forced me to watch video of guys I hadn't looked at. Guys like DT Caraun Reid and LB Avery Williamson actually look quite talented, and I would have never thought to watch film of them because they don't necessarily fill an immediate need for the 49ers. Part of the point here is that this exercise could help shed some of the "doom and gloom" that tends to accompany the team not selecting the players that we really like because this exercise could spark interest in later round prospects. It also might give us a better idea of why the team selects guys who we would otherwise be left scratching our heads, wondering who the heck they are.

This idea is largely the product of boredom and anxiety while waiting for the actual draft and season to finally arrive. My goal here is to get my fellow Ninersnation amateur draft pundits to put together some 22-man rosters of their own, so we can get a sense of how we each view potential 49ers.

I understand that this kind of thing isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy the idea and put together a roster of your own, feel free to share it in the comments below. Hopefully this will spark some interesting conversations about players who aren't projected to be drafted in the first 3 rounds.

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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