Hype - Sweat - Determination - Dreams - It all comes down to this.
The next stop on the Quest for Six is Radio City Music Hall. The 2014 NFL Draft kicks of this Thursday, and this draft will go a long way in determining how long the 49ers Super Bowl window stays open.
This is the deepest and best draft class I've even in probably ten years. That's been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I've talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a top 20 pick this year is very similar to having a top ten pick last year.Mike Mayock
With eleven selections, including six within the top three rounds, the 49ers are set up for a superb haul of athletes. Due to the abundance of selections and relatively few active roster spots to fill, Trent Baalke is equipped to target his gold helmet prospects and move up and down the board to select them. In this 49ers mock draft primer to Thursday's festivities, we'll mock selections for all seven rounds of the draft with possible trades. With Mike Mayock, draftniks, and General Managers all in consensus that this is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, we'll work under the assumption that rebuilding teams will be more willing to trade down to stockpile talent to depleted rosters. All videos are courtesy of Draft Breakdown.
Needs - CB (2)/WR/IOL/OLB/SS/DL
The 49ers biggest draft needs have been discussed in great detail this off season. Such is life in a football crazed country with no football on Sundays. With Terrell Brown and Carlos Rogers landing across the bay with the Oakland Raiders, cornerback is a position that could use an infusion of talent. A wide receiver to stretch the field or a red zone threat to high point the football could open up the offense, especially when facing the Legion of Boom at least two times a year. Additionally, key contributors and role players are entering their contract years, so Trent Baalke will keep following his philosophy of drafting for need the year prior to the need.
Round 1 - 30th Overall - Pierre Desir - CB - Lindenwood
Trent Baalke drops a bombshell in the first round. Desir, pegged by draft guru Matt Miller as the 49th ranked prospect, has many of the traits Trent Baalke covets in corners. With size and impressive arm length, Desir has many of the traits that are in vogue in the NFL. For his size, Desir is an impressive athlete that excels at generating turnovers. Despite playing his college ball against lower competition, Desir proved he could handle higher competition as a standout at the Senior Bowl. He proved himself to be coachable, and with the tutelage of Ed Donatell, Desir has the potential to man the boundary for years to come. Many fans are clamoring for the 49ers to trade up for a game changing wide receiver a la Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr. Mike Evans placed himself well within the top ten picks after a scorching 4.53 forty time to go with his impressive frame. Beckham Jr. is another player that has likely risen up draft boards enough to make a trade for him unlikely. Rumors are swirling that the Jets highly covet him and are willing to trade up to go get him.
Desir is and intriguing prospect. This feature sheds some light on his story. Good read: http://t.co/vhcG9TlkHx — Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) May 7, 2014
Other Considerations - Jason Verrett, Dee Ford, and Cody Latimer
TRADE - Round 2 - 39th Overall - Dominique Easley - DT - Florida
49ers trade selection number 56, 94, and 242 in exchange for selection 39.
Déjà vu? The 49ers select an heir apparent for their aging 3-4 defensive ends with a Florida lineman returning from an ACL injury. If Easley maintains his explosive first step post-injury, the 49ers have the potential for a disruptive bookend pair with Tank Carradine once McDonald moves on and the Cowboy hangs it up. If healthy, Easley could easily be competing with Aaron Donald to be the first DT off the board.
First-round talent that likely will be available in later rounds: 6.C.Latimer 7.R.Reynolds 8.P.Desir 9.D.Easley 10.D.Sorensen 11.LSeastrunk — Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) May 5, 2014
Other Considerations - Stephon Tuitt, Marcus Martin, Kelvin Benjamin
Round 2 - 61st Overall - Martavis Bryant - WR - Clemson
Height, weight, speed, upside. Martavis Bryant has the potential to add a missing component to the 49ers passing game. While not a burner like a Brandin Cooks, he has the long striding ability more comparable to Randy Moss to make secondaries respect the deep threat. In addition to his 4.42 forty speed, Martavis Bryant is 6'4" with the ability to bring a red zone threat the 49ers currently lack. Bryant needs to work on his route running and struggles with drops, but if he can clean up these issues, Bryant can be a game changer at the next level.
Other Considerations - Paul Richardson, Philip Gaines, Gabe Jackson, Deone Buchannon
Round 3 - 77th Overall - Bruce Ellington - WR - South Carolina
Baalke doubles down on the receiver position with Bruce Ellington. While he doesn't have elite size or speed, Ellington is a mentally and physically strong player and is an ideal slot receiver. He'll go over the middle, and he is a willing blocker in the run game, which will definitely appeal to the 49ers brass.
Other Considerations - Terrence Brooks, Chris Borland, Jared Abbredis
Round 3 - 100th Overall - Keith McGill - CB/S - Utah
Keith McGill's positive attributes are obvious when he's given the eyeball test. He's 6'3" with long arms. For his size, McGill has incredible straight line speed. Similar to Richard Sherman, McGill should have the capability to overcome some hip stiffness with his length to deflect passes. He also scores additional points with the 49ers due to his versatility of moving to safety and serving as a gunner on special teams.
Other Considerations - Billy Turner, Bashaud Breeland, Carl Bradford, Telvin Smith
TRADE - Round 4 - 121st Overall - Brandon Thomas - OG - Clemson
49ers trade selection number 129 and 170 in exchange for selection 121 and 197.
The 49ers cannot possibly add eleven draft picks to their active 46 man roster. Heck, it'll be nearly impossible to add half that amount to the 53 man roster. Therefore, it makes sense for the Red and Gold to follow a similar philosophy as last year and select injured, but talented players to red shirt. This is a luxury of having one of the deepest rosters in the league that only allows 46 to dress on game days. Brandon Thomas is a big man with nimble feet and the arm length Trent Baalke looks for. At minimum, he'll provide competition for a guard position if the 49ers are unable to retain the services of Mike Iupati after this season.
Other Considerations - Dakota Dozier, Craig Loston, Aaron Colvin, Terrance West
Round 6 - 197th Overall - Aaron Lynch - OLB - South Florida
He certainly looks the part. Aaron Lynch was on track to being a first round selection as a highly touted recruit to Notre Dame. However, that track was derailed as he transferred to South Florida due to being homesick. While he is still a bit raw as a pass rusher, he has the physical tools that Jim Tomsula can mold and shape. His selection is due to the immense upside he brings. Additionally, Harbaugh firmly believes the mantra 'Iron Sharpens Iron', so his addition provides great competition for the group that will battle for play time due to Aldon Smith's likely suspension.
Other Considerations - Lamin Barrow, Shaquil Barrett, Joe Don Duncan, Jeff Janis
Round 7 - 243rd Overall - A.C. Leonard - TE - Tennessee State
Dating back to Harbaugh's years in the college game, he's always employed a multiple tight-end sets. Last season, Delanie Walker was sorely missed. Vance McDonald was drafted to fill his shoes and add a new dimension to the offense, but insurance and competition is never a bad idea. A.C. Leonard is another physically talented player with some red flags. He has all the talent necessary to be an effective move tight end a la Delanie Walker. For the position, he has excellent speed and sure hands. However, Leonard's biggest issues have always been off the field. He has multiple incidents off the field dating back to his days at Florida before he left the program.
Other Considerations - Walt Aikens, Kain Colter, Xavier Grimble
Round 7 - 245th Overall - Howard Jones - OLB - Shepherd
More insurance for a possible Aldon Smith suspension and more competition for the outside linebackers group. Howard Jones has tremendous upside with his length and athleticism. If he can turn his athletic abilities into production, Jones can eventually turn into a consistent contributor for Vic Fangio's defense. At minimum, Jones can be a solid role player for the special teams unit, possibly taking Anthony Dixon's spot on the Tony Montana squad.