In the future of another reality Stephen Tuitt and Justin Smith destroy a QB.
OK, so here’s the setup. I'm going to do an alternate reality mock draft vs the 49ers and make all their picks for them. I got this idea because due to fan selective memory I can only seem to remember who I would have picked instead of the 49ers when "my guy" would have been the right call. Just for example I really wanted Gordy Glenn instead of A.J. Jenkins. I have to start by saying that this year I love the 49ers picks overall and one of the guys they drafted (Ellington) was a guy that I thought would be a great fit prior to the draft.. We’re also going to find out that at least in his case the 49ers are already one up on me because I would have taken him in the 3rd round.
Ground rules: No imaginary trades that didn’t happen or ignoring trades that did happen. I have to take a player that was available each time the 49ers pick. I will do my best to ignore my knowledge of when that player actually was picked so I can’t wait a round to take someone that I would pick there just because I know he would have been there. Lastly, my picks are based on my picks, meaning that I’ll base my picks on having picked the players that I picked already in previous rounds rather than the picks the 49ers took. Ok, here goes:
With the 30th pick the 49ers Select Jimmie Ward, DB, N Illinois
With the 30th pick John selects Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
I LOVE the Ward pick after understanding how they’re going to use him and hearing more about him but I would have loved Tuitt more. I think Tuitt will be a star in the NFL due to his rare blend of size (length), athleticism and strength. Ward is a position with greater need but I think especially in the first round it’s better go with the best player available.
With the 57th pick the 49ers select Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
With the 57th pick John selects Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
I’m not even going to lie, I like the 49ers pick better than mine but drafting a RB just wasn’t really on my radar until they did it. If you want to be the premier power running team in the league than you should have the best running backs, especially when the rest of the league is devaluing the position. How happy does Hyde have to be going to the 49ers with the line that they have in place and getting to learn from Gore, who has the highest football IQ of any back in the league. OK, so why would have I taken Landry? Because he’s an NFL ready wide receiver. When Crabtree was out last year the 49ers WR depth was flat out exposed. I love the 49ers starting wide outs but lets be real, one is old and the other is injury prone. Landry is the closest thing in this draft to a carbon copy of AnquanBoldin and who doesn’t love Boldin, if it’s you than go be a Rams fan, seriously.
With the 70th pick the 49ers select Marcus Martin, C, USC
With the 70th pick John selects Phillip Gains, DB, Rice
Not sure what to make of the 49ers pick. If they took Martin because they thought he was the best player on the board and you can always use offensive line depth than that makes me really happy. If they took him for those reasons but also because they don’t think Kilgore can start at center than that makes me less happy. The 49ers have kind of spoiled us by rolling out "secret starters" every year at positions that everyone else thought was a need but that the 49ers knew they had on their roster. Boon, Ray McDonald, their last three nose tackles and Ahmad Brooks are all good examples. When the 49ers extended Kilgore I crossed off offensive line as a big need, figuring they had him and Joe Looney waiting in the wings. I still like this pick because you can always use good offensive line depth but for me I need to start addressing secondary since I didn’t do that in the first two rounds and since I’m not as big an outside the box thinker as Balke is, I’m going to grab a corner since I already have two starting safeties on the roster. Phillip Gains is big, fast and athletic, the knock on him is that he’s not physical in run support but I can live with that since 49er corner backs rarely need to make a tackle in the run game.
With the 77th pick the 49ers select Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
With the 77th pick John selects Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Going on record here, Borland is my least favorite 49er pick in the draft. I just don’t see him coming in and being a better fill in while Bowman is injured than Michael Wilhoite and long term his ceiling is Zack Thomas/Teddy Bruschi. Zack Thomas and Teddy Bruschi were over-rated, I like them both but they were never difference makers. I just feel like the 49ers’ roster is already so good that unless it’s a true position of need they should swing for the fences with every early pick unless they need the guy to start early since they’re going to end up cutting some very good players anyway. With Bruce Ellington I’m drafting my second wide receiver that I think can play right now and also a weapon that the 49ers don’t currently have on the roster. The 49ers went after Julian Edelman in free agency and couldn’t land him, but I think Ellington can fill that role. I was pretty shocked that Ellington was around when the 49ers took him which is why I’d have taken him here.
With the 100th Pick the 49ers select Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson
With the 100th Pick John selects Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
The 49ers red-shirt a very good player here spot in Brandon Thomas. I really felt like the 49ers addressed their biggest offensive line need with the Martin trade. I've never been a fan of the OT contingency plan of moving Boone to tackle and subbing in a Guard because with one injury they would displace two offensive linemen and while Martin wasn't great as a starter I think he’s a capable backup swing tackle. The 49ers also should have some talent already stashed on the offensive line in Looney, Netter, Kilgore, Seymour and Bykowski. They also still have a reliable backup in Adam Snyder. That said I’m going to go eith Thomas’ team-mate Martavis Bryant. In my humble opinion there are three prototypical archetypes for a Wide Receiver. Strong route runners with good hands who will excel at moving the chains or getting yards after catch (Crabtree, Boldin, Jarvis Landry). Speedy underneath slot receivers who know how to find creases in the defense and exploit them (Wes Welker, Bruce Ellington) and game changing field stretchers (NOBODY ON THE 49ers RIGHT NOW!, Mike Wallace and Martavis Bryant). Bryant isn’t a perfect prospect by any stretch of the imagination. He only has one year of good production in college. He doesn’t have great hands although he’s flashed the ability to make some acrobatic catches and he doesn’t run great routes but he has the two things you can’t coach: Height and Speed. I don’t think the 49ers absolutely have to have a WR that can "Take the top off the defense" to be a successful team this year especially since Vernon Davis is on the roster. I also think that Bryant is a huge risk to develop into the player he can, especially early in his career, but I think the upside is worth rolling the dice on. If the 49ers can ever get Kaepernick a legitimate deep threat that can separate than it could take their offense over the top. Kaepernick has one of the best deep balls in the league but he rarely gets to throw it because they 49er receiving corps strength hasn't been deep routes. I also considered Defensive back Bashaud Breeland at this pick but decided that it would be easier to come close to duplicating his skill set as a prospect later in the draft.
With the 109th pick the 49ers select Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
With the 109th pick the John selects Pierre Desir, DB, Lindenwood
Well, obviously I like Trent’s pick better than mine here, but I can’t pick the same guy twice so I’m going to double up on CBs and take big press corner. Desir fits the Richard Sherman mold physically so obviously he’ll come in and be just as good as Richard Sherman. Seriously though, the 49ers need more corners since they lost two starters to free agency so I’m going to grab another one and hope he can make the transition from small school to the NFL.
With the 129th pick the 49ers select Dontae Johnson, DB, NC State
With the 129th pick John selects A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Had I not just selected Desir there’s a good chance I’d have selected Johnson, another player who has the measurables to play the press corner role, I think that was a solid pick. I’m going a different direction. I feel like the 49ers should draft a QB every year and giving McCarron an internship under Harbaugh is the easiest way ever to flip a fifth round pick into a 2nd or 1st in a couple years. McCarron is the perfect guy to showcase in the second half of pre-season games and let put up good numbers and I think he has great mental makeup to be a backup QB. For this pick to be good, McCarron doesn’t ever even have to have much NFL success, he can be just as good as Matt Flynn or Kevin Kolb. He’s a hard worker who I believe would always prepare like he’s the starter. He doesn’t "look" like a QB that will come in, put the team on his shoulders and win the game but I also don’t see him coming in, running around like an ass and taking a bunch of sacks/ throwing interceptions. I realized they already have Glabbert but if McCarron worked out he’d be a much less expensive option and the 49ers can cut Glabbert without any risk if he doesn’t have anything left. This is also a smart pick by me because if McCarron doesn’t pan out in the NFL I can always go back and say that he would have been much better if he had been coached by Harbaugh so unlike my other picks there’s really no way I can look bad later on this one.
With the 150th pick the 49ers take Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
With the 150th pick John takes Jordie Tripp, LB, Montana
Another 49er pick that I really can’t argue with, Aaron Lynch is built a lot like Aldon Smith but comes with a lot of baggage. This is the kind of chance that I think is a good risk/reward for the 49ers because they really don’t need many of their late round picks to pan out since they already have such a talented roster. I’m going with a much safer pick and a guy that has the build and football desire to make the team as a special teams player if he wants it bad enough. This is similar to the 49ers pick of Boreland but I think Tripp has more upside because he’s faster. He played at a small school but its not like the 49ers need "NFL ready" players at linebacker since Willhoite has proved a capable backup to the two best linebackers in football.
With the 170th pick the 49ers take Keith Reaser, DB, FloridaAtl
With the 170th pick John takes Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
Have to say if I’m going to be completely honest with you guys, and I feel like if you’ve made it this far than we have that kind of bond where I can trust you than I’ve got to come clean here. This pick was heavily influenced by the 49ers taking Carlos Hyde. As a 49er fan I just have blinders on and think that Gore can play forever without losing a step. I’m also on the Lattimore band-wagon so I really wasn’t thinking that a RB was worth a pick here but the 49ers made me check myself. If you want to be the premier power running team in the league than you need good running backs. I can’t really say anything about the 49ers pick except that it looks like they’re taking a shotgun approach to DBs and that isn’t a bad thing. Gaffney looks like he can be not only a pretty good running back in the NFL but also has the build and competitiveness to be a good special teams player while he waits for his shot. He’s fast, coordinated (played minor league baseball) and smart (Stanford guy). I think if Hyde hadn’t fallen to the 49ers in the 2nd round than this is a guy they may have targeted. If anyone is taking bets than I’ll bet this guy does pretty well with the Panthers.
With the 180th pick the 49ers take Kenneth Acker, DB SMU
With the 180th pick John selects Dan McCullers, NT, Tennessee
The 49ers take another small fast corner, I’m drafting a monster. He’s big, no, bigger than that, he’s really, really big. McCullers is over 6’6", 352. He also moves pretty well for a big guy at just over 5 seconds in the 40. His hands are bigger than Russel Wilson 11" (Russel Wilson is only 10" tall, look it up). Flat out McCullers needs motivation. He’s never really been in football shape and has inconsistent effort level. I think he could initially fill a role in the 49ers "Big" packages but he needs to also hit the weight room and get stronger for his size. Thing is, it’s the sixth round and this guy’s ceiling is Marcus Stroud you can’t coach the frame this guy was born with.
With the 243rd pick the 49ers select Kalem Ramsey, DT, Boston College
With the 243rd pick John selects Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
With Kalem Ramsey the 49ers have continued their tradition of drafting guys they can redshirt. Being injured may actually be a plus for the 49ers since they can stash a guy for a year without having to use a roster spot to keep another team from grabbing them if they don’t make the 53 man roster. Also since all teams devalue players due to injury this ends up being just another way that the 49ers manage to trade lower value picks now for higher value talent later. While I love the 49ers pick here, I’m going with another Stanford guy (no I’m not a Stanford fan) in Shayne Skov. This is 100 percent special teams pick don’t even tell me this guy can’t be at least as good as Ventrone on special teams and he’d cost a little less money. He’s also a guy that could push Wilhoitte as the early replacement for Bowman, at least on first and second down. He could also get in on sub packages vs short yardage situations and bump Willis or Bowman over to RSS (Really Strong Safety). Clearly the 49ers outsmarted me on this pick because they got Skov as an undrafted free agent, but he was the high man on my board so I couldn’t take that chance.
With the 245th pick the 49ers select Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma
With the 245th pick John selects Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
I like that the 49ers drafted a fullback but I like watching Will Tukuafu when he connects blocking a LB even more and Bruce Miller isn’t going anywhere, I’m just not sure that Millard either has much chance to make the team or a ton of upside if he does. On to my pick, how did Coleman not get drafted!?!?! He’s 6’6", run s a 4.5 40 and had good production in college. Before his knee injury and a bad junior season he looked like he could have gone in the first round, what am I missing here?!?! It’s not like his knee injury should affect him long term either but his meniscus tear (which he played through) clearly affected him last year. Unfortunately for me and him he’s been signed by the Jets where he’s sure to wash out but oh…what might have been.
OK, that’s a wrap. I really do feel like when it’s all said and done this draft was a slam dunk for the 49ers. I they got guys who can fill roles now and reload their roster in the future, they added picks next year and will red-shirt talent for next year. I feel like I’m hedging my bets a little here because I love being right almost as much as I love it when the 49ers win games, but here’s to hoping that all the 49ers picks are better than mine, because I’ll be most happy if I look really stupid for disagreeing down the road.