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2012 NFL Mock Draft: What Will Christmas In April Bring?

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Mock Draft Wrong Bunch
Mock Draft Wrong Bunch

Christmas is mere days away, which means plenty of awesome presents that will hopefully keep people entertained, warmed or busy well into the new year. For the San Francisco 49ers and the fans, there are sort of multiple Christmases. There is the potential "gift" of a strong playoff run and there is free agency later in the early spring. However, the biggest "Christmas" is probably the NFL Draft, when everybody is assured of some number of new players.

For a lot of fans around the NFL, mock drafts have been a daily part of their reading over the last few weeks. That was often the case in recent years for 49ers fan, but thankfully that appears to be changing. The 49ers draft position is subject to a decent amount of change depending on how they finish in the playoffs. A Super Bowl win nets the 49ers pick No. 32. Losing out on the number two seed and losing in the Wild Card round would likely net them pick No. 24. They could finish anywhere in between those picks.

Although we have plenty of football left to enjoy as 49ers fans, a little draft discussion never hurt anybody (well physically at least!). For folks that have joined since last year's draft, each season I post a mock draft database that looks at anywhere from 20 to 40 mock drafts around the Internet.

Although mock drafts are a very inexact "science", they do at least give us an idea of there is any sort of consensus on a pick. For example, it is safe to say a vast majority of mock drafts will have Andrew Luck going number one. Beyond that, it becomes a crap shoot this season. And given how the draft process sometimes raises and lowers stock, it is entirely possible Luck loses some stature as the consensus number one.

I have come across a few mock drafts from some familiar sites and/or prognosticators. As is often the case, while predictions do have some research behind them, they are at best educated guesses. Last season, 1 out of 30 mocks we looked at had the 49ers selecting Aldon Smith. 11 went with Patrick Peterson, 8 with Robert Quinn, 5 with Blaine Gabbert, 4 with Prince Amukamara and 1 with Cameron Jordan.

This is not to suggest these people did not know what they were talking about. Rather, as is the case with almost everything we discuss on this site, we simply do not have the capability to know every bit of information. None (or at least most) of us has an inside line to the minds of Trent Baalke, Tom Gamble or the rest of the Football Operations staff. We take the information we can find and we make educated guesses based on that. They are moderately informed opinions, but given the volume of information we don't have access to, even moderately informed might be a stretch.

Here is our first look at a few mock drafts. Wide receiver is a common theme, which is not surprising. The 49ers have some solid wide receivers at their disposal, but also have some question marks with free agency. I don't think I see the team drafting a wide receiver early given some of the youth in the ranks. At the same time, it will really depend on what happens in free agency. Sometimes free agency doesn't matter for a position, and other times it could impact things dramatically. I could see free agency having a significant impact on the 49ers wide receiver needs come April.

Mocking The Draft (12/19)
1st Rd: Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina

Jeffery has slipped this far because of a lack of production this season and some worries about his separation skills. At this point, though, he's a big-time steal. Under Jim Harbaugh, he'd be forced to play hard, which there have been questions about with Jeffery. He's a top 10 talent, though, and could become a factor in the team's passing offense as a rookie.

2nd Rd: Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State

If Dashon Goldson isn't re-signed this offseason, free safety could become San Francisco's greatest need. Even if he is, depth would be nice and Martin could even play corner in nickel situations.

SB Nation NFL (12/12)

1st Rd: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

If San Francisco is going to stick with Alex Smith for the near-term future, they need to get him some receiving help. Sanu allows them to rely on Michael Crabtree less and end the Braylon Edwards experiment. A big, physical target with good hands and yards after the catch ability fits perfectly with Smith's limitations as a quarterback.

The Hometown Fan (Drew Kerr - 12/21)

1st Rd: Brandon Jenkins, LB, Florida State

Todd McShay (12/21)

1st Rd: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The 49ers need to continue adding weapons on offense, and Wright is an explosive athlete who can stretch the field vertically, create after the catch and contribute in the return game.