This mock draft will include the two 7th round picks that San Francisco received late last week. In my previous two mock drafts, the 49ers have selected Patrick Peterson, and that doesn't change in this version. Accordingly, the 49ers are going to have to change their draft preparation plans to include the possibility of a prolonged lockout: I will take that into account.
We are seeing a nice amount of movement in regards to the top players in the draft. We are also witnessing a lot of discussions about the possibility of the 49ers trading their draft pick. That said, mock drafts are hard enough; so it makes no sense to add more difficulty to it.
1. Carolina Panthers: QB- Blaine Gabbert Missouri
Carolina cannot rely on having the #1 pick next season, even though they may be that bad. So, they are going to have to address the quarterback position. Although judging a quarterback from their rookie performance may be a little hasty, Carolina doesn't seem sold on Jimmy Clausen. Additionally, the possibility of an extended lock out limits the possibility of them bringing in a veteran signal caller. Gabbert may be a reach here, but something that the Panthers are going to have to do.
2. Denver Broncos: DE- Da'Quan Bowers Clemson
Let me get this out of the way; Denver WILL NOT select Patrick Peterson with the #2 overall pick, it just isn't going to happen. So, they have to address another need a long the defense. Von Miller may be a possibility here, but I look for the Broncos to fix what has been a horrible defensive line.
3. Buffalo Bills: QB- Cameron Newton Auburn
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a solid 2010 season, but I really doubt he can be counted on as the Bills QB of the future. Internally, I believe that Buffalo's front office believes the same. Additionally, Buffalo is going to have to get a player to jump start, not only the offense, but the fan-base as well. We can criticize Newton all we want, but he is an entertaining performer. I also believe that he fits nicely into the Buffalo's offensive scheme.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: WR- A.J. Green Georgia
With Blaine Gabbert and Cameron Newton off the board Cincinnati is going to have to find a play-maker for the offense. A.J. Green fits that mold perfectly; he is a dangerous receiver that gets a nice amount of separation and can catch any ball close to him. If there is any receiver that deserved to go top 5 in an NFL Draft, it is going to be a player of Green's abilities.
5. Arizona Cardinals: LB- Von Miller Texas A&M
Initially I had Arizona taking Peterson here, but working through the scenarios more I came to the conclusion that Miller is a better fit. Joey Porter isn't getting any younger and Arizona needs to find a pass rush from somewhere. It has been said, and I must be inclined to agree, that your coverage is only as good as your pass rush. Arizona will fix on issue here, and that will directly affect the success of their secondary.
6. Cleveland Browns: WR- Julio Jones Alabama
Green and Miller had to be options one and two for Cleveland, but now that they are gone the Browns have to do some reshuffling. Julio Jones fits a need on the outside and isn't that big of a reach. The alternatives aren't that great for Cleveland.
7. San Francisco 49ers: CB- Patrick Peterson Louisiana State
Again, this is the perfect scenario for the 49ers, but one that I can justify in terms of the teams picking above #7. You can read more on this selection below.
8. Tennessee Titans: DL- Nick Fairley Auburn
Just a month or so ago Fairley was considered a possible #1 pick, oh boy has he dropped. That said, Tennessee gets quite a steal here. Fairley can line up on the outside and inside in the Titans defensive scheme. He is solid against the run and can put pressure on the QB. Tennessee needs a play-maker a long the front.
9. Dallas Cowboys: OT- Tyron Smith Southern California
A bit of a reach? Maybe! But, Dallas desperately needs to protect their franchise QB. A trade down scenario may work if a QB falls to #9, but I don't see that happening. Smith is extremely raw, but with tremendous upside. Dallas will have Doug Free to hold down the fort while the USC tackle matures into the position.
10. Washington Redskins: RB- Mark Ingram Alabama
Washington needs play-makers on the offensive side of the ball, but with Green and Jones gone here; they are between a rock and hard place. Mark Ingram would be a definite reach at #10, but one that Washington needs to take.
11. Houston Texans: CB- Prince Amukamara Nebraska
The ideal scenario for Houston here. Amukamara is the consensus #2 CB in the draft, far above the likes of Brandon Harris and Jimmy Smith. There may be an issue with the Texans selecting a corner in the 1st round two consecutive seasons (Kareem Jackson in 2010) but considering that they were dead last in pass defense it is a must.
12. Minnesota Vikings: DL- Marcell Dareus Alabama
The Vikings fall into the category of having the best of the worse option. This means that their top needs such as Amukamara and Jones are gone; but, Dareus is not a bad fall back option. He has been considered a top 5 pick, so to have him fall to 12 would be great. The Williams brothers, Jared Allen and Ray Edwards are in the mix on the d-line, but Dareus would work well in that rotation.
13. Detroit Lions: DE- Aldon Smith Missouri
Pass rush, pass rush and well, more pass rush. Detroit is going to lose their largest pass rush threat in Julian Peterson (released), from a bad group. They desperately need to find someone to get to the QB here. Smith will work well with Suh on Detroit's d-line.
14. St. Louis Rams: DE- Robert Quinn North Carolina
Chris Long came into his own last season, but this doesn't mean that the Rams won't go for quality here. Quinn being available at 14 is an ideal scenario for them. Quinn and Long on the outside of the Rams defensive line equals a lot of problems for opposing quarterbacks.
15. Miami Dolphins: QB- Ryan Mallett Arkansas
Mark Ingram would probably be the pick here, but with him gone there is not viable RB option here. So, Miami goes for their second largest need. Mallett has huge bust potential, but his ceiling is also extremely high. Chad Henne doesn't seem to be the answer, at least that seems like the opinion of their front office. Mallett will be a little bit of a project, but one that Miami seems willing to take on.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE- Cameron Jordan California
The Jaguars went with two defensive linemen in their first two picks last season, but they cannot pass on Cameron Jordan here. He will now team up with former California teammate Tyson Alalu to form a formidable 1-2 punch on the d-line.
17. New England Patriots: OT- Anthony Castonzo Boston College
4 picks in the first two rounds means that New England can be a bit creative. Castonzo is the most NFL ready offensive linemen in the draft,, and he fits perfectly in what the Patriots do on their o-line.
18. San Diego Chargers: OT- Nate Solder Colorado
Marcus McNeill may be back in 2011 only because of the CBA issue, but it is apparent that he isn't the long term answer at tackle. Solder is one of the most intriguing prospects to me. He has played for a pretty bad Colorado team over the last couple of seasons, but has proven to be a standout performer a long the line. I honestly believe that he may end up being the best offensive linemen in the draft.
19. New York Giants: S- Rahim Moore UCLA
Yes, the Giants did sign Rolle last season, but they need a true cover safety. In Moore they get that; he has all the ability in the world to be an all-pro performer at the next level. I could easily see them going corner here with Brandon Harris or Jimmy Smith; I just believe this may be a better value pick for them.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE- Ryan Kerrigan Purdue
No pass rush to speak of, NONE!!! Yes, Gerald McCoy and Brian Price are good interior linemen, but they need a true defensive end. In Ryan Kerrigan, they get that. This would be an ideal scenario for Tampa Bay.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: WR- Torrey Smith Maryland
Most mocks do not have Torrey Smith going in the 1st round, but this is a huge area of need for Kansas City. They have done a good job building talent on the offensive side of the ball; but they need another threat alongside Dwayne Bowe.
22. Indianapolis Colts: OT- Derek Sherrod Mississippi State
Peyton Manning didn't stay as upright in 2010 as he had in the past. This leads me to believe that they will go tackle in the first round. Sherrod has a huge amount of upside and was one of the most productive tackles in the NCAA over the last two seasons.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: G- Mike Pouncey Florida
I don't care if you are Michael Vick, you need protection a long the offensive line. Pouncey may not be the best value pick, but he offers Philadelphia help at a position of huge need.
24. New Orleans Saints: DT- Stephen Paea Oregon State
I was really looking hard at RB with this pick, but just didn't see anyone worth taking. Paea is stout against the run, another position of need for New Orleans.
25. Seattle Seahawks: CB- Aaron Williams Texas
Marcus Trufant is slowing down a lot, and Seattle needs to upgrade the secondary big time. This team has so many holes to fill that it is hard coming down to just one position. That said,, Aaron Williams provides them both value and need at 25.
26. Baltimore Ravens: CB- Jimmy Smith Colorado
The likes of Chris Carr and Fabian Washington just isn't going to get it done against Big Ben and other elite AFC quarterbacks; they need to upgrade that position a lot. I look for Baltimore to go corner with at least two picks in this draft.
27. Atlanta Falcons: LB- Akeem Ayers UCLA
Akeem Ayers may not be a huge need for Atlanta considering they already have Curtis Lofton, however, just imagine these two players lining up opposite one another on Sunday's. It would make the rest of the defense that much better.
28. New England Patriots: CB- Brandon Harris Miami (F)
I believe that Harris is the 3rd best corner in the draft, so getting him at 28 as the 5th corner off the board is a coup for New England. They can look RB and LB in the second round.
29. Chicago Bears: OT- Gabe Carimi Wisconsin
Jay Cutler was everything short of killed last season and as much as I hate Cutler it isn't something you want to see a QB go through. Chicago's primary need this off-season has to be fixing that issue.
30. New York Jets: DE- Justin Houston Georgia
The Jets don't have a dominant pass rusher, rather it has been a team effort. I am not sure how much longer they can play on that. Houston can come in and get double digit sacks immediately, not bad for the 30th pick.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: DE- J.J. Watt Wisconsin
I was looking at tackle here, but all the first round prospects at that position are off the board. Pittsburgh loves to build their defense through the draft, and Watt would be an absolute steal at the end of the 1st round.
32. Green Bay Packers: G- Rodney Hudson Florida State
Bryan Bulaga was pretty darn good as a rookie for the Super Bowl Champions, but they still have work to do a long the offensive line. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and Green Bay must do everything to protect him.
Full San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft
1. CB- Patrick Peterson Louisiana State CBS Ranking: 1
As mentioned above, this would be an ideal scenario for the 49ers. Patrick Peterson would give the 49ers that CONSISTENT play-maker in the secondary; one that can contribute on every down. That shutdown corner in the NFL is absolutely huge, and in Peterson they get that. He makes the entire defense better and gives the 49ers three superstars on that side of the ball; Patrick Willis and Justin Smith being the other two.
2. QB- Jake Locker Washington CBS Ranking: 23
As I continue to look for the best QB for the 49ers new WCO, Jake Locker keeps popping up. He has the accuracy necessary to succeed in this type of scheme, and can get to the outside on the play action passes. With the current CBA issues the 49ers are going to be looking for a quarterback that can come in and start, if necessary. This because they really don't have anything after Alex Smith, assuming he returns. Jake Locker is the most pro-ready signal caller in the draft.
3. RB- Shane Vereen California CBS Ranking: 92
I will not start shying away from this pick. Should Vereen be available in the 3rd round? No way! Will he be available? Possibly. It is looking like the proverbial broken record, but nearly every extended mock draft has Vereen available in the 3rd round. If true, this would round out a great first 3 rounds for the 49ers.
4. LB- Chris Carter Fresno State CBS Ranking: 85
Under my mock draft the 49ers did not select a pass rusher with any of their first three picks, however, it changes right here. There has been concern in regards to Carter playing against less than elite competition at Fresno. That said, he has an explosive move to the quarterback, one that he displayed at the combine. I really love the way that he plays and creates problems against opposing offensive tackles. Could be an absolute gem in the 4th round.
4. WR- Vincent Brown San Diego State CBS Ranking: 166
I really am not interested with what others have to say about Brown, I absolutely love the prospect of him fitting into the 49ers WCO. He has all the ability to be a difference maker. His strengths fit right into what the 49ers are looking for at WR this off-season. On the same note, the 49ers need to add to the depth at that position. Is anyone here willing to go into 2011 with Dominique Zeigler or Ted Ginn at the #3 wide receiver? I know I am not!
5. DL- Ian Williams Notre Dame CBS Ranking: 134
I have had the pleasure of watching Williams play over the last few seasons, and I love this kid. He has a motor that doesn't stop, is incredibly strong up top, and has the ability to hold down two blockers while opening up a lane for fellow defensive players. The 49ers are in need of a hybrid DT/DE that can contribute on a regular basis. I say this because I do not believe that Soap is that guy. The 49ers would be getting a steal in the 5th with Williams.
6. FB- Owen Marecic Stanford CBS Ranking: 158
The more I see, the more I believe that Marecic will be available for the 49ers with this pick. If that is the case it would be a no-brainer for San Francisco, he truly is a perfect fit for them.
6. C- Chase Beeler Stanford CBS Ranking: N/A
David Baas? Eric Heitmann? The 49ers do have options at this position, hence the fact that I have them waiting until their second 6th round pick. But, with a total of 12 picks the 49ers can afford to look to the future with this pick. Beeler has been a solid performer for the Cardinal over the last couple of seasons, and demonstrates all the necessary skills to be a solid center in the NFL. Additionally, the 49ers could also sample his ability at guard.
7. QB- Greg McElroy Alabama CBS Ranking: 169
I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which McElroy is available in the 7th round, his injury concerns have continued to gain momentum. The 49ers did take Jake Locker in the 2nd round, so this isn't a pick of "need", but it would be incredibly hard to pass up on a signal caller that seems to fit perfect in their system.
7. K- Alex Henery Nebraska CBS Ranking: 140
Jeff Reed and Joe Nedney are options, but the 49ers need to look to the future. In my opinion Henery should be the first kicker off the board, however, it is difficult to predict when that will happen. I am going to go out on a limb and say he is available here. If not, look at Kai Forbath, Matt Bosher or Dan Bailey here.
7. DE- Pernell McPhee Mississippi State CBS Ranking: 97
His lack of explosiveness does worry me a little bit, but in the 7th round you are going to find holes with every player. Some drafts have him going as high as the 3rd round, while other drafts have him not being selected at all. This discrepancy leads me to believe that there has to be some underlining concerns in regards to McPhee. That said, the 49ers need another defensive end to fit into their rotation, and McPhee would be great value here.
7. CB- Brandyn Thompson Boise State CBS Ranking: N/A
The 49ers will open and end the draft at the cornerback position. Thompson will be somewhat of a project, but I see a nice amount of upside in him. At the very least, we can expect him to be a solid special team contributor next season.
Listen, not everyone is going to be happy with this draft. Some of you are going to disagree with the Jake Locker pic. Others are not going to agree with my selection of Vincent Brown. Well, I cannot please anybody. What I will tell you is that I projected Dekoda Watson (7th round pick), George Selvie (7th round pick), and Greg Hardy (6th round), to be steals last season, and all had solid rookie campaigns. I pride myself on my knowledge of college football. Accordingly, I have a nice amount of knowledge in regards to late round prospects.
It would be an ideal scenario for Patrick Peterson to fall to the 49ers at #7, but it is a scenario that I see as more than possible. In fact, I believe that it is probable. The CBA issue has extremely handicapped the 49ers this off-season, but the Peterson situation may actually benefit them. Cornerbacks are rarely taken in the top 5, and that is magnified without the prospect of free agency. Teams are going to be looking in other directions early in the draft, and this will help the 49ers. My draft gives the 49ers at least seven possible starters, and five more projects that will contribute in the future.
So, tell me what you think!