Draft-day guide for 49ers to consider

If the 49ers must consider trading up in the draft, as was suggested in this space yesterday, then the opposite might also be true.

 

As many pointed out, this is a very deep draft. If the 49ers believe they are one very good rookie offensive tackle away from going where they want to go this season, then they should make that trade to get one of the top linemen.

 

But if the 49ers believe they need help at a number of spots, then they should hold onto their picks – or acquire more.

Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of MoveTheSticks.com says there are five or six players who would normally be first-round selections who will slide into the second round because of the talent at the top of the draft. The 49ers might have an opportunity to take advantage of that depth . . . if they receive calls on draft day from teams willing to trade up to nab a player.

 

Here’s a guide for the 49ers for when it’s their turn to make their picks on Thursday, April 22, during the first round of the NFL draft. This is a combination of what I think the 49ers are thinking and what I think they should be thinking:

 

Pick the player, don’t trade back

–OT Russell Okung – gives 49ers option of moving Joe Staley to right side.

–OT Trent Williams – immediate starter at right tackle with chance to switch to left side.

–OT Bryan Bulaga – long-term starter at right tackle.

–S Eric Berry – outstanding playmaker in secondary.

–CB Joe Haden – alleviated any concerns about speed with strong pro day.

–DE Derrick Morgan – considered by many best pass-rusher in draft.

–OLB Sergio Kindle – he might have a better pre-draft grade than former Texas teammate Brian Orakpo, and we know how that turned out for Washington.

(Of course, this assumes QB Sam Bradford, DT Ndamukong Suh and DT Gerald McCoy have no chance of lasting until the No. 13 pick.)

 

Draft-room debate

–OT Anthony Davis – depends on how comfortable 49ers are with his level of commitment.

–S Earl Thomas – Berry is the only safety that the 49ers pick with no questions asked. But there’s value with Thomas because of his ability to play corner.

–RB C.J. Spiller – might not be an every-down back, so is it money well-spent with Frank Gore as the workhorse?

–OT Charles Brown – better suited to playing left side. So if team believes Staley is better, they should pass and shift focus to landing a right tackle in second round.

–RB Ryan Mathews – definitely an every-down back, and no question RBs coach Tom Rathman would love to have him. But with Gore and Glen Coffee already on the team, is it necessary to invest heavily in this position?

–LB Rolando McClain – the 49ers have shown a willingness in the past to spend money on someone to play next to Patrick Willis (remember Lance Briggs?). But can they justify a top-20 pick on a two-down player?

–CB Patrick Robinson – very underrated, as some consider him the clear second-best cornerback.

–G Mike Iupati – not sure the 49ers believe he can transition to right tackle, and this is typically considered too high for a guard. But if he is a future Pro Bowl player, it makes sense.

–G/C Maurkrice Pouncey – remember those two days of OTA practices? If new O-line coach Mike Solari wants an upgrade at a guard spot, Pouncey could be chosen to start at guard and eventually transition to center.

–CB Kyle Wilson – they’d pick him for his cover skills. He has added return skills – until he takes over as a starter. And he’d have to be slotted to start if he’s chosen in the first round.

–DT Dan Williams – with Aubrayo Franklin tendered as a franchise player, it might be wise to look for an eventual replacement.

–QB Jimmy Clausen – Alex Smith is signed for one year. David Carr is signed for two years. And Nate Davis still has a long road to get on the field. If the 49ers envision Clausen as a future star (and are skeptical about the guys currently on the roster), then it’s wise to make this call.

 

Take the trade (if it presents itself), not the player

–S Taylor Mays – in college, he was a linebacker playing safety. If a safety can’t make plays on the ball, he should not be a first-round NFL pick.

–DE Jason Pierre-Paul – if this were a back-flip competition, he’d be the first overall pick. But his performance hasn’t matched his “potential.”

–LB Brandon Graham – a very nice player who probably could be selected if team trades back a few spots.

–WR Dez Bryant – he’s done just about everything wrong. After spending the 10th pick last season on Michael Crabtree, the 49ers should not invest heavily in another receiver. (Plus, expect a camp holdout. He’s represented by agent Eugene Parker.)

 

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The 49ers signed outside linebacker/defensive end Ahmad Brooks last week to a two-year, $4.225 million contract that includes a $1.85 million signing bonus, according to a league source. Brooks received a $1.759 tender from the 49ers as a restricted free agent. So this deal represents possibly $2.446 million more for Brooks with one year added to his contract. If Brooks had played out the one-year tender, he would’ve been eligible for unrestricted free agency next year. If Brooks has a strong season, he might regret signing this contract because he’ll have to wait another year to hit the open market. But, clearly, it was too difficult for him to pass up a contract offer that pays him $2.75 million – or $1 million more than he would’ve made – in 2010.

 

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