In trying to reconstruct the 49ers’ draft board that I saw in a dream last night, the first 10 names came off relatively easy.
This is where it gets difficult . . . just as the 49ers are ready to make a selection with the No. 13 overall pick.
(Just a reminder: I am not reporting that this is the actual order of the 49ers’ preferences. This is my attempt to try to get inside the minds of the 49ers’ decision-makers and figure out how they are prioritizing players that could be selected with their first-round draft selections.)
In play at 13
7, Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: It’s only been in the past 15 hours that I’ve considered the possibility that Bulaga would not be taken in the first dozen picks. The reason he might still be on the board when the 49ers select is because teams seem to think he is going to be a right tackle for his entire NFL career. That could work to the 49ers’ advantage. Joe Staley is under contract to the 49ers for a long time. The 49ers need immediate help at right tackle.
8, Joe Haden, CB, Florida: I’m having a difficult time separating Haden, Anthony Davis and Earl Thomas. Haden is considered the top cornerback in the draft. But critics wonder if he changes direction smoothly enough to play in “off” coverage.
9, Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: There are legitimate concerns about his commitment. However, there are no concerns about his size and physical skills. He would be expected to step in and start immediately at right tackle. If the 49ers passed up the fourth offensive tackle, they might be backed into a corner where they have to trade back at 17 in order to get their tackle later in the first round.
10, Earl Thomas, S, Texas: He is a very good safety with cover skills. But how would he team up with Dashon Goldson? Thomas is physical and aggressive, but he does not have the size to play in the box. He can move into the slot on nickel downs, which makes him more valuable than the prototypical safety.
11, Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: This might be the beginning of trade-down mode for the 49ers. After the first 10, it gets difficult. Morgan is not a player generally associated with a 3-4 scheme, but he is the best pass-rusher of the group. There’s no harm in using a mid-first-round pick on a player whose job description is to rush the passer on third downs. The 49ers go with a four-man line in their nickel and dime packages. Morgan would have that role from Day 1 while playing nearly 50 percent of the snaps.
12, C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Hey, I’ll admit that I don’t have a good feel here. Word is that there are differing opinions of him. Spiller is a dynamic, versatile player who can create problems for any defense. But he’s not an every-down back. And if he’s used on third downs, he’s taking time away from Frank Gore, a very good third-down back.
13, Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: A value pick that’s not at a position of need. He’s considered a top-five talent. The 49ers could use interest in him to promote a trade – possibly with the Cowboys.
14, Maurkice Pouncey, G/C, Florida: While a lot of the focus has been on the 49ers’ much-needed improvement at right tackle, the club could use some help inside, too. Eric Heitmann is fine, but he might be around only another two seasons (he’s signed through 2011). Pouncey might be able to start at guard, and then slide into take Heitmann’s spot. It’s very, very close, but I give Pouncey the slight edge over Mike Iupati (look for him in the next post). Iupati is a guard, and I’m thinking that he will not be able to eventually bump out to right tackle. Therefore, Pouncey has more value because of his versatility and the fact he proved himself against much-stiffer competition in the SEC.
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