Now that the 2011 off-season is officially upon us after last night's season ending Super Bowl victory by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, it is time that the 49ers off-season starts in earnest on Niners Nation. In the past couple of weeks Drew K, Ninjames, Fooch and myself have posted random articles in regards to the 2011 draft, and I will continue on that tradition this morning.
In the past our San Francsico 49ers have been incredibly successful in finding mid-late round steals, as well as undraftedrookie free agents. This in depth scouting and good all around drafting aided in all five of the 49ers Super Bowl Championships, and even more recently have helped the 49ers. In my opinion the draft is how teams should build, and free agency works only as a secondary facet of the off-season. Teams that routinely make the playoffs such as the 80s and 90s 49ers, and current day Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots build through the draft. They have a way of stockpiling draft picks, and finding late round gems.
After the jump I will focus on possible 2011 mid-late round gems such as Deunta Williams and Greg McElroy. Using references such as NFL Draft Site and NFL Draft Tek, I will attempt to find players that may fall to the 49ers, and fit the need category.
In the past our San Francisco 49ers have been one of the most successful teams in finding mid-late round draft talent. It really is a laundry list of All-Pro performers, Super Bowl winners and Hall-of-Fame inductees. This list includes the likes of Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, John Taylor, Charles Haley, Terrell Owens and Frank Gore. The structure of the modern NFL requires that teams pick up late round starters, and the two teams that appeared in the Super Bowl did just that. Desmond Bishop, Cullen Jenkins, Tramon Williams and Jordy Nelson for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and the likes of Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders and James Harrison for the runner up Pittsburgh Steelers.
NFL Draft Tek is an innovative new way to look at the NFL Draft, by far my favorite off-season occurrence. Like every mock draft site, NFL Draft Tek uses a combination of players rankings and team needs to figure out what each team will do in the draft. The major difference is that this site uses a computer similationin order to come up with their conclusions. NFL Draft TEK uses a VBAModel on Microsoft Excel that allows them to cipher through thousands of draft prospects, combine their ranking withteam needs, and come up with the ultimate mock draft. The site does take into account team personnel currently on the roster as well. For example. they have the 49ers taking Kendall Hunter over DeMarco Murray in the 3rd round, this because one is a C-Back, and the other isn't. It also takes into account playing Left Tackle, compared to Right Tackle.
3rd Round Options: CB- Brandon Burton, G- Mike Pouncey, DL- Marvin Austin, LB- Dontay Moch, QB- Andy Dalton, RB- DeMarco Murray, WR- Austin Pettis;
4th Round Options:RB- Jacquizz Rodgers, NT- Orlando Franklin, LB- Casey Matthews, QB- Colin Kaepernick, CB- Kendric Burney, RB- Shane Vereen, LB- Sam Acho, S- Rahim Moore, S- Quinton Carter;
5th Round Options:QB- Pat Devlin, LB- Wayne Daniels, RB- Jordan Todman, OL- DaMarcus Love, RB/FB- John Clay, FB- Owen Marecic, QB- Greg McElroy, CB- Rashad Carmichael, RB- Derrick Locke;
6th Round Options:DL- Ian Williams, LB- Kenny Rowe, S- Marcus Gilchrist, C- Krisofer O'Dowd, CB- Mario Butler;
7th Round Options:S- Jeron Johnson, S- Tejay Johnson, OT- Lee Ziemba, LB- Lawrence Wilson, G- Zach Hurd, S- Deunta Williams, LB- Brian Rolle, OT- D.J. Young, G- Stephen Schilling
NFL Draft Site is an engine that I have utilized over the last couple draft seasons, and they have been pretty accurate. For example, they did have both Mike Iupati and Taylor Mays going to the 49ers in multiple versions of their mock draft heading into last April.
3rd Round Options: RB- DeMarco Murray, DT- Marvin Austin, LB- Lawrence Wilson, QB- Colin Kaepernick, RB- Jordan Todman, RB- Shane Vereen, S- Deunta Williams, RB- Jacquizz Rodgers, LB- Casey Matthews
4th Round Options: C- Kristopher O'Dowd, WR- Austin Pettis, QB- Andy Dalton, RB/FB- John Clay
5th Round Options:LB- Brian Rolle, DL- Ian Williams, CB- Mario Butler, QB- Pat Devlin
6th Round Options:FB- Owen Marecic, S- Jeron Johnson, FB- Stanley Havili, S- Tejay Johnson
7th Round Options: QB- Greg McElroy, OT- D.J. Young, LB- Wayne Daniels
Analysis: Now this scenario seems a little more likely. There remains a lot of discrepancy in regards to the two sites with the likes of Lawrence Wilson, Deunta Williams and Casey Matthews. Of course, i would like to see all of them fall to the later rounds, so we can get great value. However, I really don't see that as a likely possibility.
I have decided to put together my versions of the 49ers mock draft using a couple different factors. The first version will be based on what players NFL Draft Tek believes will be available to the 49ers. The second version will be based on who NFL Draft Site believe will be available to the 49ers. Below, I will once again link both sites. This in order for you to do the same and post your findings in the comment section of this post. This should be interesting....
NFL Draft Tek: 1. DE- Cameron Jordan (California), 2. LB- Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma), 3. CB- Ras-I Dowling (Virginia), 4. RB- Shane Vereen (California), 4. QB- Pat Devlin (Delaware), 5. FB- Owen Marecic (Stanford), 6. C- Kristofer O'Dowd (Southern California), 6. CB- Mario Butler (Georgia Tech), 7. S- Deunta Williams (North Carolina), 7. LB- Chris Carter (Fresno State)
NFL Draft Site: 1. CB- Prince Amukamara (Nebraska), 2. DE- Allen Bailey (Miami), 3. RB- Shane Vereen (California), 4. LB- Bruce Carter (North Carolina), 4. WR- Vincent Brown (San Diego State), 5. QB- Pat Devlin (Delaware), 6. FB- Owen Marecic (Stanford), 6. S- Tejay Johnson (Boise State), 7. K- Alex Henery (Nebraska), 7. QB- Greg McElroy (Alabama)
Best Late Round Gems of the 2010 NFL Draft: 4(101) Mike Williams (Tampa Bay), 4(108) Jacoby Ford (Oakland), 5(137) Perrish Cox (Denver), 6(173) Anthony Dixon (San Francisco), 6(175) Greg Hardy (Carolina), 6(193) James Starks (Green Bay), 7(217) Dekoda Watson (Tampa Bay), 7(225) Syd'quan Thompson (Denver), 7(226) George Selvie (St. Louis),
Before anyone criticizes my picks please refer to NFL Draft Tek and NFL Draft Site to see which players were available with these picks. For example, in Draft Tek's version Petrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara, Robert Quinn and A.J. Green were all off the board before the 49ers pick at 7. Of course, I probably would have taken any of the four over Cameron Jordan, who I do believe will be a good NFL DE. Overall, I would say that the bottom end of Tek's version is much better with the likes of Vereen, Devlin, Marecic, O'Dowd, Williams and Carter all going to the 49ers. However, the front end of NFL Draft Site's version was better with Amukamara and Bailey.
So, please tell me what you think? This should make for an interesting conversation.