SB Nation released their latest mock draft a couple days before the NFL Combine and this latest mock of the 2011 NFL Draft changes the 49ers pick yet again. Two weeks ago the 49ers were predicted to select Prince Amuakamara of Nebraska. Last week SB Nation mocked out Von Miller. This week, Brian Galliford is sending Alabama defensive tackle/end Marcell Dareus to the 49ers:
7. San Francisco 49ers: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama. Quarterback is a need, but Newton doesn't fit Jim Harbaugh's personality or offensive system. San Francisco has bigger problems defending the pass than the run, but Dareus can help the team out in both areas.
I wrote about this pick in the SB Nation Bay Area mock draft stream and in my research I learned that Dareus played a lot of defensive end in Alabama's 3-4 defense this past year. In looking at a little bit of video from Bama's game with LSU earlier this year, I noticed a decent amount of 4-3 utilized in which Dareus came from the traditional DT position. However, it's my understanding that in the 3-4 he was used as an end.
How do people feel about potentially bringing in Dareus? For those who follow college football more closely than I do (which would be a lot of people), does Dareus project as a solid 3-4 defensive end, or is he really better suited as a 4-3 defensive tackle? In looking around I've seen no mention of him as a nose tackle, and when people aren't telling you something often times they're trying to tell you something.
The 49ers could use a defensive end to pair for the long haul with right defensive end Justin Smith. Isaac Sopoaga has filled the role but the team could use an upgrade at some point. The question is whether it's worth a first round pick at this point in time. We've had some similar discussion about Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan who was a beast during the Senior Bowl.
Is this a position the 49ers could afford to use the seventh pick on, or would it be something the 49ers should wait until later rounds? Or do they consider moving down for a guy like Jordan if it looks like he might be around a bit later in the first round? The defensive end position raises a lot of questions for the 49ers heading into the 2011 NFL Draft.