CBS Sports’ Rob Rang isn’t the only draft guru who can envision LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, arguably the best player in the draft, slipping to the 49ers at the No. 7 overall pick.
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay has San Francisco selecting Peterson, the winner of the Bednarik (top defensive player) and Thorpe (top defensive back) awards this past season.
McShay: “San Francisco can’t afford to take another risk on a quarterback in the top 10. The 49ers are better served to draft the best available player in Peterson, who could help a defense that ranked 24th in the NFL and could contribute in the return game.”
McShay’s mock (here) is for ESPN subscribers only.
• So how, exactly, would the dominoes have to fall in order for Peterson to fall to the Niners?
Here’s how McShay sees it: 1. Carolina: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson; 2. Denver: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn; 3. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M; 4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia; 5. Arizona: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri; 6. Cleveland: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama.
Other picks of note: No. 10 Washington: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn (a Mike Shanahan development project); No. 11. Houston: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado (his stock is evidently soaring); No. 25 Seattle: Jake Locker, QB, Washington (more than one draftnik has the Seahawks selecting the local star).
• Today is the first day of a two-week period in which NFL teams can use the franchise tag to sign one of their free agents. The franchise tag is a one-year contract that guarantees a player the average of the top-five salaries at his position from the previous year (Worth noting: The players’ union has insisted the tags are worthless until there is a new CBA).
The chances of the Niners using the franchise tag on one of their six starters appear remote given the price-to-production ratio. Here’s a look (estimated tag figures are from NFL blogger Brian McIntyre): QB Alex Smith (17.09 million); NT Aubrayo Franklin ($12.38 million); LB Manny Lawson ($10.19 million); LB Takeo Spikes ($10.19 million); C David Baas ($10.41 million); S Dashon Goldson ($9.63 million).
• This doesn’t sound good: After NFL owners walked away from the negotiating table prematurely Wednesday, a bargaining session between the owners and the players’ union scheduled for today in the Washington D.C. area has been canceled (ESPN story here).
On Wednesday, the owners balked at the union’s proposal to have a 50-50 split of the league’s total revenue, estimated at $9 billion annually. I recognize this is simplifying matters, but can’t both sides survive on $4.5 billion?
Twenty-two days until the current CBA expires.
• Two months after leaving the 49ers for what were described as “personal reasons,” Johnnie Lynn was hired as the Eagles’ cornerbacks coach this week. Lynn, 54, was the assistant secondary coach/special assistant to the head coach this past in San Francisco, where he’d been since 2006.
Lynn and Juan Castillo, Philadelphia’s new defensive coordinator, have known each for nearly 20 years. Castillo was an intern with the Buccaneers in 1994 when Lynn was the secondary coach.