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NFL Mock Drafts 2012: Mel Kiper Projects Alshon Jeffery To 49ers

We've got plenty of NFC Championship Game coverage this week, but I thought I'd briefly interrupt the coverage with some NFL Draft content. If you want to get back into the NFC title game coverage, there are plenty of opportunities all around the site. However, with Mel Kiper, Jr. releasing his latest mock draft,

The 49ers will be picking with one of the final four picks in the first round and as I have begun poking around the Internet checking out mock drafts, wide receiver has become the 49ers position of choice for most of them. Once the 49ers season ends I'll put together our annual mock draft database, but for now we'll just take some time to check out a few mocks here and there.

Mel Kiper released his latest mock and he has the 49ers selecting South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. He had this to say about Jeffery and the 49ers:

The 49ers got much better production out of the offense this season, but I still see a need for a big target on the outside, something Braylon Edwards wasn't able to provide. Jeffery is an absolute beast, a guy who plays at more than 230 pounds and easily could top 6-foot-4 when he measures out. He goes up over corners and attacks the ball, catching it away from his body like a rebounder. The Niners struggled mightily in the red zone all season, and Jeffery might not be a burner but is the kind of player you can post up in the end zone to help solve that problem.

I do think the 49ers could use some wide receiver help, but I just don't know where they would go for that. Saints struggles aside, Michael Crabtree is developing into a very solid receiver, albeit not quite the explosive number one receiver that could really boost this offense to a new level.

There are some very intriguing wide receiver options in the free agency market as well, so that naturally will impact how the 49ers utilize that first round pick. Of course, as James tweeted, all this discussion about wide receivers means the 49ers will draft something completely random.

As the 49ers prepare for the 2012 NFL Draft, it is also worth noting the team's struggles with late round picks. Hopefully the new regime will be able to do some good things with a late round pick, but the 49ers have not exactly had great success with those picks. Some of the recent late round picks of note: Kentwan Balmer (2008 - #29), Rashaun Woods (2004 - #31), Kwame Harris (2003 - #26), Mike Rumph (2002 - #27), Reggie McGrew (1999 - #24), R.W. McQuarters (1998 - #28), Jim Druckenmiller (1997 - #26). That is not a pretty picture.