I went through and updated our 49ers 1st round mock draft database last night, and we've had some interesting changes since the previous update. The last time we ran this update (3 weeks ago), Trent Williams appeared to be gaining momentum as a likely choice for the 49ers, primarily with the 13th pick. However, as we've seen since then, the "big 4" offensive linemen (Okung, Bulaga, Williams, and Davis depending on how you feel about them) have sufficiently climbed up the rankings to the point that a guy like Williams or Davis might not be available at the 13th pick.
With some of these changes, we've seen a drastic change to the point that Joe Haden has become the most prevalent player in our mock draft database. In the 30 mocks we've pulled out, Haden appears in 15 of them, 13 as the #13 pick, and 2 as the #17 pick. Trent Williams has dropped considerably to where he's only picked in 5 of the mocks, with guys like OTand S Earl Thomas leaping past him.
In looking over the 49ers secondary, I can certainly see the need to grab a safety at some point. Michael Lewis is not long for this world as a 49er. Given that Dashon Goldson has already indicated the two safety positions can be mixed and matched, it makes sense to grab a safety high in the draft. One problem with the safety position is the status of O.J. Atogwe. I don't have any links, but I believe there have been reports that Atogwe could still end up signing with a new team come June. The 49ers could certainly use him at safety, but given the timeline, I don't know if they'll want to roll the dice on getting him and not getting one of the better safeties in the draft.
My main question (or really comment) for this particular update surrounds the cornerback position. Joe Haden has quickly filled up 49ers draft boards, and I have to say that if the 49ers were able to snag him in the draft, the cornerback position could be turned into quite the position of strength. At this point, you've got Shawntae Spencer, Nate Clements, and Tarell Brown on the roster (with some other training camp bodies).
Spencer would seem to be penciled in at the #1 (unless you ask Mel Kiper). Nate Clements remains on the roster, and will get his chance to win a job in training camp. Folks are writing him off, but really, we haven't seen him on the field since the middle of last season. He wasn't looking great at that point, but I wouldn't say he was finished. Thus, you've got the strong veteran presence that could help a guy like Haden get acclimated into the league.
That leaves Tarell Brown in a potential battle for playing time. Things were looking up for him last season before a rocky finish saw him go from backup to starter and then returned to nickel back. If the team adds a guy like Haden, how does the depth chart even look? I know there has been discussion about moving Clements to safety, but it's still too early to give that serious consideration (as fans, not for the front office).
So if you were Greg Manusky and you were handed Joe Haden on a silver platter, how would you sort out the playing time?