It’s almost that time of year, when owners, coaches, general managers, and the rest of the front office lock themselves in a room and heavily debate which players to draft to improve the team. This room is called the “War Room” for a reason. Everyone in this room is heavily opinionated and has become attached to a prospect that they don’t believe the team can do without.
In this segment, we will put ourselves in the war room and go over the picks we believe teams need to make when they’re on the clock. We’ll cover all 32 teams, but today’s segment is dedicated to the: San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco needs to add talent all over this team, so it’s a good thing that they have 12 draft picks. Half of those picks fall in the last two rounds, so it’s important for the 49ers to be sure to do deep scouting. They have to know what positions have the most talent and which sleepers players could slide to the 6th and 7th round. To get the most out of all of their picks, they’ll need to fill their biggest holes with the early picks and add depth and upgrades on positions like receiver and running backs, where there are still talented players to be found late.
Starting with the defense, the first year head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has a full plate of needs. They don’t have any real threats at defensive end that are still under currently under contract. I’m sure that one of the twelve picks will also go to upgrading the nose tackle position. The inside linebackers aren’t in dire need but could use some depth behind the starters but the 49ers haven’t had a consistent pass rusher on the outside, in quite some time. It’s the secondary that will need the most attention paid to it though. They’ll need to add at least one cornerback, a free safety, and a strong safety. As it stands right now, free safety is the biggest need in the secondary and strong safety should be the last to be addressed, unless a can’t miss talent slides to them early on.
On the offensive side of the ball, it’s the most important position on the field that needs to be upgraded. There are rumors that the 49ers genuinely like Alex Smith and that Harbaugh wants to work with him. I’m not sure how much I believe this but either way, I know that they’ll take a quarterback at some point in the draft. They’ve used some high picks on the offensive line last year. They’ll only use a pick on this position to add depth behind their starters. The receivers are still a weak group outside of Michael Crabtree, they’ll probably use a few of their late picks to find a possession receiver and a slot guy. Anthony Dixon and Frank Gore are a solid 1-2 punch, but Gore always seems to get injured. Harbaugh should add a speed back that can be a homerun threat, and also catch the ball out of the backfield.
San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft
Round 1 Pick #7: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal: Finding a key 3-4 defensive end, is a lot harder than what most people realize. Patrick Peterson should be gone by the time the 49ers draft, in that scenario they should pick up a player with NFL bloodlines that will be a huge contributor immediately. Jordan was born to be a NFL 3-4 defensive end.
Round 2 Pick #45: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia: San Fran could really use a pass rush. Houston is a better 4-3 defensive end, than a 3-4 outside linebacker. But getting him here in the second round, would be to great a value to pass on. Also, having him blitz the passer behind the beast known as Cam Jordan, will help his progression immensely. It also doesn’t hurt to have Patrick Willis next to you.
Round 3 Pick #76: Chris Culliver, CB, South Carolina: Some people seem to think that Culliver will be a free safety in the NFL. He’s got great speed and good hips. He’ll be a starting cornerback and a cheaper replacement for Nate Clements if the 49ers decide to release his huge contract. Playing in the SEC will help prepare him against some of the bumps he’ll receive in the NFL.
Round 4 Pick #108: Sione Fua, NT, Stanford: Okay, I waited to round 4 before I had Harbaugh go to his Stanford ties. Spoiler alert, it won’t be the last time in this draft. Harbaugh knows the type of player that Fua is and will look to him to upgrade the play at the nose tackle position. This defensive line has to improve drastically.
Round 4 Pick #115: Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State: The 49ers will look to make Crabtree one of the premier pass catchers in the NFL this year. To do that, they’ll need to draft a possession receiver, that the defense will respect. Pettis isn’t going to blaze by anyone but he’ll run crisp routes to get open and then catch anything in the proximity.
Round 5 Pick #141: TJ Yates, QB, North Carolina: If Harbaugh focuses on rebuilding the defense early and running the offense with Alex Smith in 2011, then he’ll look to day 3 to pick up a sleeper prospect at quarterback. TJ Yates has shown flashes of brilliance at UNC, under Butch Davis. Harbaugh will make a call to Davis and if there’s a recommendation from the other end of the phone, this could be the pick on April 30th.
Round 6 Pick #174: Richard Sherman, FS, Stanford: Here is where Harbaugh goes back to his Stanford players. Sherman uses his height well and his former coach will call on him to come in and play the free safety position for the 49ers. Reggie Smith is the only free safety under contract for the 49ers currently.
Round 6 Pick #190: Da’rel Scott, RB, Maryland: Scott provides that homerun threat and has great hands out of the backfield as well. He’ll be a fear when he enters the game and can be used heavily on 3rd down. Dixon and Gore will beat down defenses and they’ll be off balance when Scott gets his touches.
Round 7 Pick #211: Jermele Hines, SS, Ohio State: Even with them using the pick on Taylor Mays last year, you can expect that one of their picks towards the end of the draft will go to finding a better solution at strong safety. Hines played big time ball at Ohio State and could be the choice if still on the board in the 7th round.
Round 7 Pick #231: Josh Davis, OT, Georgia: It appears as if San Francisco has their bookends in Joe Staley and Anthony Davis but what happens if one gets injured, suspended, and so on. Davis is a big player that moves his 6’7 frame well. He could be the insurance that this offensive line needs.
Round 7 Pick #239: Lyle Leong, WR, Texas Tech: The 49ers need to find a player that can stretch the field. Ted Ginn has great straight line speed but he isn’t a slot receiver. Leong has the speed plus route combination that could make the jobs of Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Austin Pettis easier. It’ll also free up Ted Ginn to concentrate on just the return game.
Round 7 Pick #250: Kerry Taylor, WR, Arizona State: Yes, I have the 49ers going back to the receiver board again. It’s ideal for Alex Smith, the rookie quarterback, or whoever is taking the snaps from under center to have all the weapons to be successful. It doesn’t hurt for the 49ers to draft a player in Taylor, that I’ve been labeling as one of the biggest sleepers in this receiving class. Taylor is the nephew of former San Francisco 49ers great, John Taylor. After 249 players are taken, it’s definitely worth the risk, to see what he learned from his uncle.
That’s how it played out in our Mock of the San Francisco 49ers “War Room”
Please Note: We will be Hosting a LIVE CHAT during the 2011 NFL Draft. Please join us and take part in the discussion in the room. We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions as the 2011 NFL Draft progresses in real time.
Go inside the War Room of All 32 NFL Teams
- Carolina Panthers
- Denver Broncos
- Buffalo Bills
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Arizona Cardinals
- Cleveland Browns
- Tennessee Titans
- Dallas Cowboys
- Washington Redskins
- Houston Texans
- Minnesota Vikings
- Detroit Lions
- St. Louis Rams
- Miami Dolphins
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New England Patriots
- San Diego Chargers
- New York Giants
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Indianapolis Colts
- Philadelphia Eagles
- New Orleans Saints
- Seattle Seahawks
- Baltimore Ravens
- Atlanta Falcons
- New England Patriots
- Chicago Bears
- New York Jets
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Green Bay Packers
Oakland Raiders (no 1st Round Pick)
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock