This will be my fourth and final Mock Draft for Niners Nation. Today, I am including the first three rounds and every San Francisco 49ers pick. Some of the picks haven't changed from my first mock draft, while many others have. As we get closer to the draft the discombulation that the NFL Draft seems to represent becomes a little more clear. For example, it appears that Andy Dalton is jumping up the draft board, while Ryan Mallett appears to be falling. This close to the draft, those indicators seem to stick
In regards to the San Francisco 49ers, I have utilized various internet resources and am using a combination of BPA and need. Some of you will not be happy with this mock and that is fine. Others will say that it is unrealistic, but if you know how I came to each conclusion it really isn't. And, others will conclude that it is a perfect draft; thanks for that.
In reality two or three of my picks are sure to stick, not many more. Last season I did have the 49ers taking Mike Iupati and Taylor Mays; so, I have a little to back up my claims.
1. Carolina Panthers QB Cameron Newton Auburn
If Cam Newton isn't selected by the Panthers with the 1st pick I can see him falling all the way to the Washington Redskins at #10. That said, Carolina seems really high on Newton and they are not willing to risk going into the 2011 season with Jimmy Clausen as their starting QB. Newton will bring a nice amount of excitement to a Carolina Panthers franchise that is lacking substance right now. He will not be ready to start right away even if the CBA is solved in time for training camp. Additionally, Newton will be a project as he has to transition from playing just a single season of Division 1 football.
NFL Comparison: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Denver Broncos DT Marcell Dareus Alabama
The Broncos have to go defense, defense and more defense in this draft because they were horrible on that side of the ball last season. Denver has so many holes to fill it is hard to imagine where they start. But, Marcell Dareus is a nice start. He can get to the QB on pass rush situation and fill gaps on rushing downs. This multi-dimensional player is pretty much a lock to be an All-Pro performer for the next decade.
NFL Comparison: Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders
3. Buffalo Bills LB Von Miller Texas A&M
The Bills could go with either A.J. Green or Blaine Gabbert here, but I see them going after Von Miller. Their QB pressure was incredibly weak last season as the secondary had to adjust to the signal caller getting more time in the pocket. Von Miller brings the pressure that they desperately need. In fact, I would have to conclude that Miller is the best pure pass rusher to enter the draft in years.
NFL Comparison: Derrick Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs
4. Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green Georgia
Drafting A.J. Green may invoke some confidence in Cincinnati being able to talk Carson Palmer into returning. With the loss of Terrell Owens and obvious lack of production from Chad Johnson Cincinnati needs to get another weapon in the passing game. A.J. Green is the best college receiving prospect since Michael Crabtree. He will come in immediately and be the Bengals #1 receiver.
NFL Comparison: Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
5. Arizona Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert Missouri
John Skelton and Derek Anderson did not get it done in 2010 and there is no sign that either will be productive next season. Arizona needs to find a competent signal caller, and Gabbert is that. He is the best QB prospect in the draft, but his ceiling isn't as high as others.
NFL Comparison: Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
6. Cleveland Browns WR Julio Jones Alabama
The Cleveland Browns lack the necessary weapons in the outside, and Colt McCoy is going to need someone to rely on. Chansi Stuckey led all Cleveland WRs with 40 receptions. Stuckey along with Mohamed Massaquoi are not #1 receiver material. Julio Jones would add another dimension to Cleveland's offense, something they desperately need.
NFL Comparison: Braylon Edward, New York Jets
7. San Francisco 49ers CB Patrick Peterson LSU
This would be the ideal scenario for the 49ers and it is probably going to happen. That said, San Francisco does have some decisions to make even if Peterson is available at 7. Houston would pay a pretty penny to trade up to the 49ers spot from 11 and get Peterson. Picking up another 2nd round pick would enable the 49ers to trade back into the 1st round and pick up one of the top QBs. More on this pick later.
NFL Comparison: Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
8. Tennessee Titans DT Nick Fairley Auburn
Fairley has been rated the #1 prospect by some draft guru's, Tennessee would be stoked to see him fall to 8. Will it happen? There is a real possibility. The Titans have been missing that interior force since Albert Haynesworth bolted for the Redskins. Fairley is a multi-dimensional player that can contribute on every down.
NFL Comparison: Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins
9. Dallas Cowboys OT Tyron Smith USC
The Cowboys do need corner help but they are going to go with the upside of Smith here. Only weighing 307 pounds, Smith has the frame to add a great amount of muscle to his body. The former USC standout has untapped potential and could turn into the building block for an offensive line that needs to protect their franchise QB better.
NFL Comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets
10. Washington Redskins RB Mark Ingram Alabama
A little bit of a reach here and if I were adding trade scenarios in this mock draft this would have been a prime target. However, I am not. The Redskins need to get talent on the offensive side of the ball. The only question is; where do they go first? With both Newton and Gabbert gone a long with the two top receivers, they are going to have to reach for the talented Ingram.
NFL Comparison: Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys
11. Houston Texans CB Prince Amukamara Nebraska
Houston spend their first round pick in 2010 on a CB, but that didn't help their pass defense. Once again, they finished dead last in that category. Amukamara isn't a bad consolation prize to Patrick Peterson. He can be a shutdown corner in the NFL and will come in right away and take over Houston's #1 slot in that position.
NFL Comparison: Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings
12. Minnesota Vikings DE Robert Quinn North Carolina
Some say that the Vikings may reach for Mallett or Locker here, but I don't believe they will. Minnesota has a history of making safe, solid picks; this would be another example of that. Quinn, a 3-4 OLB, will take over on the end opposite Jared Allen giving the Vikings two dominate pass rushers. You really cannot draw it up any better than that.
NFL Comparison: Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
13. Detroit Lions DE Da'Quan Bowers Clemson
Bowers fall is the Lions gain. Detroit lost their best pass rusher in Julian Peterson only to replace him with a more talented and younger player. Da'Quan Bowers has all the ability in the world it just depends on his health to see if he can reach that potential.
NFL Comparison: Jason Taylor, New York Jets
14. St. Louis Rams DE Aldon Smith Missouri
Missouri grade, Aldon Smith, stays home with the Rams giving them another talent opposite Chris Long. Smith can play both sides, drop back in coverage if needed and has a nonstop motor.
NFL Comparison: Chris Long, St. Louis Rams
15. Miami Dolphins G Mike Pouncey Florida
If Ingram was available here, the Dolphins would take him. Instead, they are going to reach for Pouncey hoping that he follows in his brothers footsteps. It really doesn't matter who you have behind center if the offensive line cannot give him time. Accordingly, Miami's offensive line was extremely weak last season. Pouncey would give them another standout player up front with Jake Long.
NFL Comparison: Mike Iupati, San Francisco 49ers
16. Jacksonville Jaguars DE Ryan Kerrigan Purdue
Last season the Jaguars went defensive line with their 1st round pick in Tyson Aluala, and that didn't work out too great. The former CAL star only contributed with 3.5 sacks. This year they are going to look for another premier player up front and are getting that in Kerrigan. He isn't only an "effort" player meaning that he has a nice amount of talent. With Derek Harvey, Aluala and Kerrigan up front the Jaguars could be set there for the next decade.
NFL Comparison: Richard Seymour, Oakland Raiders
17. New England Patriots OT Anthony Castonzo Boston College
The first of their 6 picks in the first three rounds, New England looks for help along the offensive line. Castonzo is NFL ready and can step in and start immediately.
NFL Comparison: Chris Snee, New York Giants
18. San Diego Chargers DE J.J. Watt Wisconsin
One would assume that pass rush isn't the Chargers biggest need here because they did compile 47 sacks last season. However, they are going to go with the BPA at #18. San Diego has two 2nd round picks and can address need positions while getting better value there. Watt will give them another standout pass rusher opposite Shaun Phillips along their front seven.
NFL Comparison: Marcus Spears, Dallas Cowboys
19. New York Giants CB Brandon Harris Miami (F)
New York addressed the safety last off-season in Antrell Rolle, now they look to solidify what appears to be a weak CB position. Harris is a top the list of second tier corners behind Peterson and Amukamara that is not too shabby. This is an extremely strong CB draft class and the Giants take full advantage near the middle of the 1st round.
NFL Comparison: Quinton Jammer, San Diego Chargers
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Cameron Jordan California
Last season the Buccaneers went with two interior defensive linemen in the first two rounds with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price; that really didn't work out too well. McCoy only compiled 21 tackles and Brian Price saw limited action. This year they are going to go for that traditional pass rushing threat. I really like how Jordan's game translates to the NFL and can easily see him getting 10+ sacks on a consistent basis for Tampa Bay. They get both value and BPA here.
NFL Comparison: Andre Carter, Washington Redskins
21. Kansas City Chiefs OT Gabe Carimi Wisconsin
Wide Receiver is the Chiefs greatest need, but they are not going to reach for 2nd round talent with the 21st pick. Also, they need to do a better job protecting Matt Cassel. Carimi can come in and start from day one.
NFL Comparison: Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers
22. Indianapolis Colts OT Derek Sherrod Mississippi St.
Sherrod is extremely raw, but that a great amount of upside. For the first time in many years I saw Peyton Manning laying flat on his back a lot last season. They desperately need to protect the future Hall of Fame QB.
NFL Comparison: Eugene Monroe, Jacksonville Jaguars
23. Philadelphia Eagles OT Nate Solder Colorado
It doesn't matter if it is Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb behind center, the Eagles need to do a better job protecting their signal caller. They were absolutely horrible in this regard last season and must make upgrading the line a major focus during the draft. Solder is unheralded but extremely athletic with good balance. In the end of the day he could be the best OT prospect in the draft.
NFL Comparison: Michael Oher, Baltimore Ravens
24. New Orleans Saints DT Stephen Paea Oregon State
The Saints running game was their Achilles heel last season, but they have no reason to reach for a RB here. Instead, New Orleans goes after someone to stop the opposing teams running game. They don't have stout interior linemen, and Paea would give them that immediately.
NFL Comparison: Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots
25. Seattle Seahawks QB Jake Locker Washington
At first I had the Seahawks going DT here, but for some reason I am leaning towards Locker. Whether or not Matt Hasselbeck returns next season, the Seahawks need to look to the future. Locker was a victim of being on some bad teams with Washington, but he did appear to regress as a player throughout his WU career. That said, he does have the athleticism and talent to succeed at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers
26. Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith Colorado
The likes of Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are just not going to get it done for Baltimore. None of them are #1 corner material, in fact, I would have to say they are nickel type corners. This means that the Ravens are going to have to focus on the corner position here. Jimmy Smith is an extremely interesting talent. He could go one of two ways; all-pro performer or bust. I think the former is more realistic. Smith has great coverage ability and is extremely strong when it comes to the fundamentals. You are not going to see him turned around a lot in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Jonathan Joseph, Cincinnati Bengals
27. Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Rudolph Notre Dame
They have Tony Gonzalez, so why go TE here? Simple, Gonzalez is towards the end of his career and Matt Ryan needs a capable TE in order to succeed; he really enjoys the safety valve. Despite injury concerns, Kyle Rudolph slips into the 1st round. Take my word for it, Atlanta will not be disappointed with this pick.
NFL Comparison: Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders
28. New England Patriots DT Marvin Austin North Carolina
We all know how much the Patriots love their 3-4 scheme, and Austin fits perfectly into that rotation. He can play end on obvious passing downs and move inside on all other downs. I really like his ability to transition from one position to the other.
NFL Comparison: Jay Ratliff, Dallas Cowboys
29. Chicago Bears OT Benjamin Ijalana Villanova
Surprisingly, I have 6 offensive tackles going in the 1st round, mostly due to need. Jay Cutler was thrown around like a rag doll by opposing defenses last season and the Bears have to protect their investment. Ijalana comes from a small school, Villanova, but it is apparent that he has all the skills needed to succeed in the NFL. This could be a steal for Chicago late in the 1st.
NFL Comparison: Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay Packers
30. New York Jets DT Muhammed Wilkerson Temple
The Jets released Kris Jenkins earlier this off-season and need to find his replacement. I remember watching Wilkerson play a couple times last season and saw him throw around opposing offensive linemen to the ground on a regular basis, he really is a beast.
NFL Comparison: Pat Williams, Minnesota Vikings
31. Pittsburgh Steelers DT Phil Taylor Baylor
Taylor is a perfect fit for the Steelers 3-4 scheme, he will help open up lanes for the likes of James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. If Taylor is here it 31, I would say it is a lock that the Steelers nab him. The fact that none of the top offensive tackle prospects are available here also leads me to believe that the Steelers are going to go in this direction. That said, if one of the top tackle prospects is available, they will have to take a look see.
NFL Comparison: Shaun Rogers, Cleveland Browns
32. Green Bay Packers G Danny Watkins Baylor
A reach? Yes! But, you really need to protect Aaron Rodgers at all cost. Watkins isn't extremely athletic but works real well in between the lines. Bryan Bulaga and Danny Watkins could anchor the Packers offensive line for the next decade.
NFL Comparison: Robert Gallery, Oakland Raiders
33. New England Patriots RB Ryan Williams Virginia Tech
34. Buffalo Bills QB Christian Ponder Florida State
35. Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton TCU
36. Denver Broncos LB Justin Houston Georgia
37. Cleveland Browns DL Corey Liuget Illinois
38. Arizona Cardinals LB Brooks Read Arizona
39. Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Mallett Arkansas
40. Dallas Cowboys CB Aaron Williams Texas
41. Washington Redskins WR Torrey Smith Maryland
42. Houston Texans DE Adrian Clayborn Iowa
43. Minnesota Vikings WR Leonard Hankerson Miami (F)
44. Detroit Lions CB Ras-I Dawling Virginia
45. San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick Nevada
46. Denver Broncos DE Cameron Heyward Ohio State
47. St. Louis Rams RB Mikel Leshoure Illinois
48. Oakland Raiders CB Brandon Burton Utah
49. Jacksonville Jaguars LB Akeem Ayers UCLA
50. San Diego Chargers WR Titus Young Boise State
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers S DeAndre McDaniel Clemson
52. New York Giants OT Marcus Cannon TCU
53. Indianapolis Colts DE Christian Ballard Iowa
54. Philadelphia Eagles G Rodney Hudson Florida State
55. Kansas City Chiefs WR Jonathan Baldwin Pittsburgh
56. New Orleans Saints RB Daniel Thomas Kansas State
57. Seattle Seahawks DE Allen Bailey Miami (F)
58. Baltimore Ravens S Quinton Carter Oklahoma
59. Atlanta Falcons CB Curtis Brown Texas
60. New England Patriots LB Dontay Moch Nevada
61. San Diego Chargers LB Bruce Carter North Carolina
62. Chicago Bears CB Devon House New Mexico St.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers OT Orlando Franklin Miami (F)
64. Green Bay Packers CB Johnny Patrick Louisville
65. Carolina Panthers WR Greg Little North Carolina
66. Cincinnati Bengals RB Shane Vereen California
67. Denver Broncos TE Jordan Cameron USC
68. Buffalo Bills WR Jerrel Jernigan Troy
69. Arizona Cardinals OT James Brewer Indiana
70. Cleveland Browns DT Jurrell Casey USC
71. Dallas Cowboys S Tyler Sash Iowa
72. New Orleans Saints LB Chris Carter Fresno State
73. Houston Texans WR Randall Cobb Kentucky
74. New England Patriots WR Austin Pettis Boise State
75. Detroit Lions OT James Carpenter Alabama
76. San Francisco 49ers LB Jabaal Sheard Pittsburgh
77. Tennessee Titans C Stefen Wisniewski Penn State
78. St. Louis Rams WR Tandon Doss Indiana
79. Miami Dolphins RB DeMarco Murray Oklahoma
80. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Ricky Stanzi Iowa
81. Oakland Raiders TE D.J. Williams Arkansas
82. San Diego Chargers LB K.J. Wright Miss State
83. NY Giants DL Drake Nevis LSU
84. Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Kendall Hunter Oklahoma St.
85. Philadelphia Eagles OT Jah Reid South Florida
86. Kansas City Chiefs CB Marcus Gilchrist Clemson
87. Indianapolis Colts CB Rashad Carmichael Virginia Tech
88. New Orleans Saints LB Greg Jones Michigan St.
89. San Diego Chargers S Chris Conte California
90. Baltimore Ravens WR Greg Salas Hawaii
91. Atlanta Falcons DE Sam Acho Texas
92. New England Patriots DL Terrell McClain South Florida
93. Chicago Bears DT Jarvis Jenkins Clemson
94. New York Jets S Ahmad Black Florida
95. Pittsburgh Steelers CB Josh Thomas Buffalo
96. Green Bay Packers WR Edmund Gates Abilene Christ.
97. Carolina Panthers G Clint Boling Georgia
Entire San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft
1. CB Patrick Peterson Louisiana State
The #1 overall prospect as rated by most NFL draft scouts falls to the 49ers at 7. Is it a dream scenario? Yes! But, it is also extremely realistic. We have talked a great deal about the prospect of Peterson falling to 7, now it becomes a reality. He would transform the 49ers secondary just by his mere presence. Above I compare PP to Champ Bailey and I am not going to shy away from that here. He is a true shut down corner, holds ridiculous amounts of talent and has a great character.
CBS Sports Line Rank: #1
2. QB Colin Kaepernick Nevada
Originally I wasn't sold on Kapernick but Drew K helped me change my mind. I think he would be a near perfect fit for that Harbaugh is attempting to build on offense. The ideal scenario would be for him to sit behind Alex Smith or some other veteran for a couple of seasons and then take the helm. His athletic ability, accuracy and arm strength are all positive attributes, but as with most NFL QB prospects he does need to re-define his pocket presence and work on a few different things.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 63
3. LB Jabaal Sheard Pittsburgh
Even if Manny Lawson returns the 49ers need to find more pass rushers. I am not sure if you would consider Sheard lasting to the 3rd round as a dramatic fall, but he is extremely dominating. Sheard is an intelligent player that understands how to read pre-snap offensive formations. He could be the signal caller in the 49ers front seven moving forward. He has a non-stop motor and has the ability to puss rush opposing tackles. Naturally a 4-3 DE, the 49ers would move Sheard to the 3-4 OLB post. I see him having a smooth transition to the new position.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 34
4. DT Kendrick Ellis Hampton
334 pounds, should I say more? Ellis is a beast of a man that could anchor the NT position if the 49ers decide not to re-sign Aubrayo Franklin. In fact, this selection enabled the 49ers to look in another direction when/if free agency starts. With Ellis and Ricky-Jean Francois the 49ers would be in position to spend the 21+ million that they would spend on Franklin on another position.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 62
4. RB Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon State
I really have a hard time believing that Rodgers will fall to the 4th round, but that is where I see him consistently on people's draft boards. Well, that isn't a problem for the 49ers. Rodgers is an absolute game-breaker who can take it the distance every time he touches the ball.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 108
5. WR Jeremy Kerley Texas Christian
Not the most athletically gifted receiver, Kerley makes up for it by being consistently solid in his route running. Sometimes you just have to look at the intangibles, and Kerley has those. He will never be a #1 receiver, but will contribute a great deal in the slot; if asked to.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 162
6. FB Owen Marecic Stanford
Probably the best FB prospect in over a decade, Marecic is simply that good. He is one of those throw back players that gets dirty on every play and makes the opposing defense think twice about taking him on. There is a reason that Jim Harbaugh called him "the best player he has ever coached". No reason to believe the 49ers would pass up on him here, let's just hope he is available.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 163
6. DE Pernell McPhee Mississippi State
McPhee doesn't have the quickness to burst off of the line and beat the o-line with his speed. But, what McPhee does is create mismatches with his strength and non-stop motor. He would fit perfectly into the 49ers 3-4 DE rotation.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 98
7. G Zach Hurd Connecticut
Well, all heard did is block for former 1st round pick Donald Brown and current prospect Jordan Todman at UCONN. He is really solid in the running game and has the athleticism to make the adjustment to the NFL. The reason why Hurd has dropped to the 7th round is because he has had trouble picking up the nuances of opposing defensive schemes. Sometimes Hurd is unsure of who to block and misses assignments. Hopefully that is something he can fix in the near future.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 154
7. C Jake Kirkpatrick TCU
David Bass is set to become a free agent and Eric Heitmann isn't getting any younger. It makes perfect sense for the 49ers to take a flier on a center in the 7th round. My choices were between Jason Kirkpatrick and Chase Beeler. Both have their limitations and some real strong assets. The problem with Beeler is that the 49ers could pick him up as an undrafted free agent. It appears to me that Kirkpatrick has a much higher ceiling.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 228
7. CB Justin Rogers Richmond
Despite playing at a small school, Rogers can make the transition to the NFL rather quickly. He was a shutdown corner for the Spiders throughout his entire career. Rogers intercepted 7 passes in 2008, after that QBs avoided him like the plague. Playing at a small school obviously hurt his draft stock and the NFL is going to represent a major difference between quality of play. However, can easily imagine him taking that step and becoming a solid NFL corner. Either way, the 49ers are going to draft two corners next week; it just depends on how they are going to go about doing it. I seriously considered Stanford start, Richard Sherman, in the 5th round; but, decided to pass.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 220
7. LB Mario Harvey Marshall
Despite not being invited to the NFL combined, Harvey extremely impresses scouts during Marshall's pro day. He is a strong and athletic MLB that can come in and contribute on special teams right away. Harvey earned first team all-conference honors in 2009 compiling 117 tackles and 7 sacks. And in 2010, he shattered those numbers with over 140 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
CBS Sports Line Rank: 247
Overview: The 49ers have 12 draft picks in the upcoming draft, so they are going to have the ability to fill many holes. I used NFL Draft Site and CBS Sports Line as reference points for this mock. Accordingly, I only selected players that were either on the board when the 49ers picked, or just went off the board prior to their pick. Many people would call this mock a dream scenario, or homerism at its worse. However, I didn't reach by having the 49ers select a player that was not going to be available with their pick.
Also, keep in mind that I am not factoring in trades in regards to this mock. I do believe that the 49ers are going to be extremely active on the phones on draft day. There is a real possibility that they trade down from #7, even if Patrick Peterson is available, in order to pick up another 2nd round pick. That pick would be used to get a Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick or Ryan Mallet. This would allow San Francisco to go BPA with their other 2nd round pick or trade back into the 1st round and pick up a cornerback or pass rusher.