The folks at Mocking the Draft put together their latest 2014 NFL mock draft, breaking down two rounds with some trades mixed in. They had the Falcons and Rams, Bills and Browns, and Chiefs and Ravens all swapping picks in the first round. It's hard to simulate trades in mock drafts, so I generally take them with a grain of salt. It can make for entertaining work, but the realism is guess-work much of the time.
The 49ers did not make any moves in the mock, but did address some positions of need with their three picks. Here are the three picks, along with Matthew Fairburn's breakdown of each pick:
30. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The 49ers desperately need speed at wide receiver. Marqise Lee has been knocked for his hands and inability to beat press coverage, but his speed is not an issue. Lee would have a ton of potential in San Francisco's offense.
56. Marcus Martin, C, USC
Marcus Martin was a bit of a surprise entrant into the 2014 NFL Draft, but his addition bolsters the center class. The 49ers could look for a center early on in the draft to push Daniel Kilgore.
61. Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
With a wide receiver and a center added with the first two picks, the 49ers turn to the secondary. Antone Exum dealt with tons of injuries during his college career, but the talent is there for him to be an NFL starter.
I do see how the team could look for interior line help, but does it necessarily happen in the first two or three rounds? It all really comes down to how the team views Daniel Kilgore, Mike Iupati, Alex Boone and Joe Looney. Kilgore just signed a contract extension, and has generally appeared to be the center of the future. It is worth noting his extension is 3-years, $4.5 million. Given how inexpensive it is, this would seem to leave the door open for the team to consider other options.
Iupati is signed through 2014, and Boone is signed through 2015. I don't see both getting contract extensions, and really I view Boone as the more likely to stick around long-term. As for Looney? Well, he got some time in at right guard when Boone had to fill in at left tackle. His best shot is to climb past Adam Snyder as the primary backup on the interior of the line.
I look at any potential center draft pick as a likely C/G option. I realize it's not so simple as moving in and out on the line, but I suspect any player drafted as a center will end up getting work initially at all three interior line positions.
It's interesting this comes up because a lot of you all are recognizing the overall need along the interior line. We've been running a poll since yesterday to figure out team needs for our NN Big Board. Right now, center is fourth and tackle is fifth in the voting. If you haven't voted yet, make sure and go vote.