The world is still at a snails-pace in the recently actuated 2012 NFL season. The big doings coming is the NFL draft on April 26th. The mock draft shows are cranking up, and Mel Kiper Jr’s bulletproof hair will be seen all over the airwaves shortly.
It sure is a MUCH different feel drafting at #30 than it is at #7 for the 49ers and their fans. This team, in one short season, has gone from a desperate team with a bunch of needs to one that is looking to shore up a couple positions. Here are the the $9ers pick slots:
1st round – 30th pick
2nd round – 61st pick
3rd round – 92nd pick
4th round – 125th pick
5th round – 165th pick
6th round – 199th pick
7th round – 237th pick
No extras or even compensatory picks this year.
The defense amazingly returns all 11 starters from the 2011 season. The only need there would seem to be DB depth. The Niners did gain Perrish Cox, a CB/PR, but they lost Maidieu Williams, Reggie Smith, and Shawntae Spencer. None of them were high on the depth chart anyway, but they still need to get some warm bodies there as backups. It would not be too surprising to see the Niners use their #30 pick to grab a safety or CB. The elite guys will be gone (Kirkpatrick, Claiborne, Barron, etc.), so Harrison Smith (SS) from Notre Dame looks like a possible. He’s big (6’2″-213) and fast, and is great in run support and coverage. A top-talent guy who has taken a credibility hit is Janoris Jenkins, the CB from North Alabama. He’s a 1st round talent who has the dreaded ‘character issues.’ He’s a possible at 30.
Offensively, even the main weakness at the end of the season, WR, has been beefed up considerably with Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Gone are Braylon Edwards and Joshua Morgan (who amazingly cost more than Super Mario). Even Swett Brain re-upped here. Still, the Niners will likely draft a WR or 3 in the middle rounds. Or even 2 if they want some Randy Moss West-LA-Fadeaway insurance. The guys that could be available at WR in the 2 hole are Brian Quick, Appalachian St, a big target at 6’4″-220. He has what coaches like. Football speed. His 40 times are in the 4.5 range (not great), but he gets open downfield, has a definite size advantage over smaller CBs, and great leaping ability. Marvin McNutt is another big guy (6’3″-215) who isn’t a burner, but is an excellent route runner/possession-type WR who occasionally breaks big plays. On the flip side would be a guy like Chris Givens from Wake Forest. He’s a burner at 5″11-198 who runs 4.3 40’s. Great route-runner who has decent (not great) hands. Kind of a Brandon Lloyd type who makes great catches but drops some easy ones.
I won’t profess to even guess at who they are looking at in rounds 3-7, but it will likely be something like RB, OL, DL, DB, WR.
The wildcard in all this would be Coby Fleener. I think if the Niners can grab him at 30, they should. He’s a big target in the red zone, and of course is very familiar with Jim Harbaugh. Delanie Walker has been fair to good, but Fleener would vault him over the top, and the Niners would have an instant mismatch down close with 2 (or even 3) TE sets. Having VD and Fleener as targets would be a good thing to have.