Noted hair gel enthusiast Mel Kiper Jr. released his his latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft today. This third version of the mock once follows the previous version by projecting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson to the San Francisco 49ers. Of Peterson and the 49ers needs, Kiper says this:
There were a lot of comments questioning why I could see my No. 1 overall Big Board player dropping this far on draft day. But consider the history: in 1987, I had Rod Woodson rated similarly, and he fell to No. 10 overall. In 1989, Deion Sanders was far and away the best athlete on the board -- he fell to No. 5. Champ Bailey was my best athlete and the top corner available in the 1999 draft, and he fell to No. 7. At this position, it simply happens, and San Fran should be happy if it does. Peterson is an immense talent. He checked in at 219 pounds and ran a 4.34 40-time in Indy. Enough said.
Do you buy what Mel's selling here? He's provided some interesting anecdotal evidence to support his belief that Peterson will drop at least a little bit. I still think he's likely to go in the top five, but maybe teams will be skittish on drafting a cornerback this high? Here's Mel's top six picks, so you can see how he gets Peterson dropping so far.
The two quarterbacks going in the top six continues to be key for the serious name talent to drop to the 49ers. While the 49ers can still get a quality player with the seventh pick if only one QB goes top six, a second top six QB could be huge for the 49ers 2011 NFL Draft. I'd imagine they're not exactly relying on this to happen, but it's worth at least considering.