By Paul M. Banks
San Francisco’s draft strategy is simple: always take the best available player right? Their front office stresses value over need. Perhaps even more than the GMs of the New York Giants (Jerry Reese) and Green Bay Packers (Ted Thompson). But they have plenty of needs to fill too. And as one of the two NFL teams with 2 picks in the 1st round, (Seattle is the other, but they’re kind of a hot mess right now) they could easily find themselves back in the playoffs next year should they make the right moves.
So what are they looking for? Quality pass-rushers, a true right tackle, DBs, safeties, guards, and linebackers that can play in the 3-4. And of course, Mike Singletary wants winners. You know the infamous quote. “Cannot win with them, cannot coach with them, cannot play with them! Can’t do it!”
The Niners lost a few games down the stretch because they couldn’t score. They could have a vastly better time in 2010 should they find a home run threat at tailback to complement Frank Gore.
So perhaps they’ll take Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, widely regarded to be the best running back available, in the first round with one of their picks?
13. San Francisco 49ers Earl Thomas S Texas
Thomas is one of the hottest prospects that all the scouts are talking about a LOT these days. The man who wore Colt McCoy’s number on defense at Texas, is a phenomenal play-maker with hitting ability and closing speed. Frisco needs a DB and this pick certainly also conforms to the “value-based” strategy that S.F. management often employs. I believe Thomas has the skill set to play corner and free safety in this league.
Singletary is supposedly big on Taylor Mays, who could play strong safety. Mays doesn’t have as much of an accomplished pedigree or skill set as Thomas, but he’s a workout warrior and his measurables are off-the-charts. Frisco has to look at DBs, because some of their DBs have real issues: concussions, over-ratedness, general suckitude.
To read a profile/interview of Thomas click here
17. San Francisco (From Carolina) Anthony Davis OT Rutgers
Frisco needs a true right tackle and they’ll get one in Davis, one of the best OL prospects in this class, although he obviously saw his stock drop significantly at the combine. At 3 bills and a quarter he’s much bigger than your industry standard OT prospect. He’s also got a huge wingspan, and his ability to run block makes him special. His conditioning is a concern though, and if he could fall into the 2nd round or lower.
If not Davis, then perhaps Maryland’s Bruce Campbell could be an option. Some consider Davis to have red flags now. A better option might be Idaho’s Mike Iupati, a prospect who is climbing up everyone’s charts. Tony Pashos missed the whole season and his replacement, Adam Snyder, was essentially a de facto turnstile for opposing pass-rushers. So yeah, they might want to fix that.
49. San Francisco Ricky Sapp DE/OLB Clem
Sapp is so versatile, he may not fall this far, but if he does=perfect fit.
79. San Francisco Riley Cooper WR Florida
Could fill their need at the slot receiver position. Cooper is one of those Florida Gator teammates who helped build QB Tim Tebow into a media-produced Messiah in college.
To see the whole mock draft go here