This weekend I participated in a blogger mock draft for DraftSeason.com. Each pick was made by a blogger for that respective team. It was only round one but there were certainly some interesting picks. We were not allowed to make trades so I couldn't work out a fantasy deal and package some picks together to move into the top ten.
At pick No. 31 I was faced with a rather interesting decision. Here's my pick and a bit of justification:
31. 49ers (NinersNation.com)
Pick: Datone Jones DE, UCLA
Analysis: While the Niners are likely to be looking to fill only one starting spot through the draft with the likely departure of FS Dashon Goldson, the value with Jones here was too much to pass up. The defense took a major step back once DE Justin Smith sustained a shoulder injury. Jones has prototypical size and strength to provide depth to a line that rarely took a rest in 2012 and be the the heir apparent once the aging Smith retires. Others considered: CB Xavier Rhodes, FSU; S Jonathan Cyprien, FIU; DT Jesse Williams, Alabama.
As you can see, there was a lot of value still on the board. Deciding between Jones, potential lock down corner Xavier Rhoades (from my alma mater), fan favorite Jesse Williams, and late riser Jonathan Cyprien made for a few stressful minutes. In the end I decided I couldn't pass up on Jones.
While Jones has really only had one strong season at UCLA, it didn't scare me away because it was his first season in an aggressive 3-4 style scheme. He'd fit into nicely in San Francisco's scheme and add immediate depth where it may be lacking most. Jones wouldn't have the pressure of starting right away and could learn from one of the best in Justin Smith. Should Jones prove his ability early on, there is little doubt that Vic Fangio would find a way to utilize him in multiple fronts.
So there ya have it, Niners Nation. I hope I represented you all well. Let me know what you think about the pick below or hit me up on Twitter @BigSwinginNick.
Special thanks to Matt Falk @Matt_Falk from Draft Season for asking Niners Nation to participate.