Posted by Adam Kaplan on Wednesday, February 9, 2011
"With the number one overall pick in the 2005 draft, the San Fransisco 49ers select... Aaron Rodgers. Quarterback from University of California"
Oh how amazing would life be for the 49ers if they actually had a good organization and was able to draft well. The 2010 49ers offense had seven first round players on it: Alex Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati and two second round players in guard Chilo Rachal and center/guard David Baas.
Needless to say at least San Fran has the right approach considering four of their five starting offensive lineman are either a first or second round draft pick. But with that being said, last year the 49ers had the 13th best rushing offensive line but the 30th best passing offensive line. Albeit I've only seen two San Fransisco games in 2010, but I think the main reason for that extremely low pass blocking ranking is due more because of the quarterback than it was because of the line. In 2010, San Fran had the second best left guard blocker and the third best right guard blocker according to Football Outsiders. This offensive line is fairly young outside of 36 year old left tackle Barry Sims. For as bad of a team as the 49ers were last year, this is the first team in this 32 for 32 series that I can say with confidence that they don't really need to focus on offensive lineman for the 2011 draft. Sure, they need a left tackle and trying to bolster your offensive line is always encouraged, but San Fransisco has more pressing matters to take care of.
While I don't truly believe that San Fran will tank an entire season just so new head coach John Harbaugh can be reunited with his college protege Andrew Luck, I don't know what San Fran's plan is to fix their quarterback problems. It's nearly impossible for Blaine Gabbert to fall this far and it would be a huge reach for the 49ers to draft either Ryan Mallet or Cam Newton. They should take a stab at prying away Kevin Kolb from Philly, but it truly sounds like Minnesota is going to get him. Vince Young is out there and is an above average quarterback, but I don't see the huge upgrade from Young over currently rostered Troy Smith.
Here's a name from the dead that I think will be a great for the Niners: Matt Leinart. I'm sure it will cost San Francisco very little to pry away Leinart from the Houston Texans and if Harbaugh truly wants to wait a year to get Luck, Leinart would be a great short term fix. Hell, I think he would be a great long term fix as well.
Another name that has been brought up since I wrote this post: Kyle Orton. The Broncos organization seem to be focusing solely on Tim Tebow (and they probably should try to develop their future franchise player) and I've been a Orton fan since his rookie year in Chicago. I don't think it would be unreasonably or unrealistic for San Francisco to give up a third or second round pick to get Orton.
The point is, the 49ers needs a QB and I think it's best for them to get one via free agency and not via the draft.
Which now brings us back to the 2011 draft. Who should the 49ers take? I think for starters it has to be a defensive player because I think the only piece missing from that offense is a competent quarterback. San Fran currently has the best (or at least a top five) linebacker on their squad. A little guy by the name of Patrick Willis. (Hey, Willis, Jeremy Shockey said you suck. Hey, don't blame me, that's just what he told me). When Willis is not filming commercials with Kenny Powers he destroying opposing offenses. However, outside of Willis, the team is full of just complementary players such as Takeo Spikes and Nate Clemons.
I think realistically Von Miller could fall to San Fran and this is the earliest and best spot for him, but I just don't think it will happen. There are some great defensive lineman such as Illinois' DT Corey Luiget, North Carolina's Robert Quinn, and Alabama's DT Marcell Dareus. The 49ers run a 3-4 scheme and Scout's Inc says that Dareus "Has enough size to play DE is certain 3-4 schemes" but I don't know if he's big enough to play nose tackle at *only* 6'2" 303 pounds. According to the scouting report Quinn doesn't sound versatile enough to play on a 3-4 defensive line and Luiget is the same size as Dareus but not as talented. Therefore, I think the 49ers should go cornerback here.
Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay agree that Nebraska's Prince Amukamara is the second best corner (best currently on the board) and I think he'll be a great complement to Nate Clemons.
In the second round the Niners need a pass rushing linebacker. Georgia'a Justin Houston and UCLA's Akeem Ayers would be great fits but will most likely be drafted by the time the second round rolls around. However, if Nevada's Dontay Moch happens to fall to San Fran, he would be a perfect fit. He's an outside linebacker that's a converted defensive end and he's not projected to be a first round pick.
The 49ers had a top five defense in 2009 and if they draft the best defensive player on the board in the first round, Moch in the second round and is able to swipe a Kyle Orton or Kevin Kolb (or even Matt Leinart) they not only will win the crappy NFC West for sure, they could be Superbowl bound.
- Defensive Lineman
- Wide Receivers
- Pass Rushing Linebackers
- Left Guard