Posted on: April 25, 2011 3:30 pm

IrishDawg's 2011 Collaborative Mock - 49ers

IrishDawg's 3rd Collaborative Mock Draft has just wrapped up for 2011. Special "Thanks" to Irishdawg for taking the time to put this together. Once again, I represented the 49ers. For the last 3 years, I have taken this opportunity as a role playing exercise to hypothesize who the 49ers will select in the upcoming drafts. Here was the strategy for this year's draft.

The 49ers primary needs are QB, Rush OLB, NT, CB, FB. Secondary needs were RB, G, WR, K.

QB - GM Trent Baalke already indicated that he wil lean heavily on HC Jim Harbaugh for QB guidance. It's hard to geta  read on a first year HC, but there was a lot of media making its way around locally which led me to believe that Harbaugh was going to apply some Bill Walsh principles to his draft selections. This impacted my decision to pass on Blaine Gabbert in round 1.

The rest of the draft is run by Baalke. There isn't much difference between what Baalke did last year and what he will do this year. He will draft physical players based on tape. Size does matter, but smaller players aren't entirely excluded.

The 49ers will be moving to a run heavy, WCO under Jim Harbaugh, a 3-4 ZBS under Vic Fangio.

1st rd, #7) Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina - 1st team all-ACC 2009, Quinn is a standout DE at North Carolina. The general consensus is that he may be the best "pure" pass rusher in the draft. Pass rush is one of the 49ers top needs. Quinn had one good year in college before he was suspended. I believe Quinn's character checks out. The bigger question is if he can make the transition to 3-4 OLB. Quinn has great measurables to go along with good tape. My feeling is that there will be a little bit of a learning curve, but he can ultimately make the transition. I feel the 49ers are high on him as well. Baalke admitted that many successful NFL 3-4 OLB's are converted college DE's. Quinn is no exception.

2nd rd, #45) Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada - WAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 & 2008, only player in college football to rush for 4,000+ yards and pass for 9,000+ yards in a career. Kaepernick's college resume is outstanding. However, as with any 2nd round QB, he has question marks. Some think that Kaepernick may be overdrafted here. I feel the QB is the most overdrafted position period. Based on what I've been reading about the 49ers, I feel that this pick could either be Kaepernick, Dalton, Stanzi or Ponder. All of these QB's have a degree of athleticism and intelligence that Harbaugh would favor. None of these QB's are wildly inaccurate either. Kaepernick's accuracy will be questioned, however I chose to look at his improvement between his Jr and Sr years.

3rd rd, #76) Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville - Big East 1st Team selection 2010. There is popular belief that Patrick Peterson will be the pick at #7. In this mock. Peterson is gone by then. And this could very well be the case on draft day as well. I chose Patrick, not necessarily for his upside in man coverage, but his ability in zone coverage which may suit the 49ers new ZBS better. I was also specifically looking at CB's who logged INT's last year.

4th rd, #108) Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma St - 2 time All American, runner up for Big 12 Offensive Player of the year award. Finished college with 4,181 yards and 37 rushing TD's. The 49ers are looking for a RB to spell Gore and provide a change of pace. Brian Westbrook was a solid back up last year. Hunter reminds me of Westbrook. I thought Hunter would've been drafted by this spot, so I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to make this pick. Hunter doesn't have size to his advantage, but he is a "special" player and that is the exception Baalke would be looking for.

4th rd, #115) Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa - 26-9 as starter, steps up in big games. OK...I doubt the 49ers would take a QB in the 2nd round and then another in the 4th. However, I do believe that it's possible they will take two QB's, just further apart. Stanzi was the best player here. I think he's capable of going in the 3rd round. So like Hunter, I was a little overzealous when making this pick. I see Stanzi as a similar prospect to Dalton. Neither has the booming arm. I do believe if the 49ers do not land a QB in the 2nd round, then Stanzi has a good shot of being drafted by the 49ers in the 3rd.

5th rd, #141) Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech - Here's another value pick that fits a need. Like Patrick, Rashad excels in zone coverage and may fit the scheme well. The knock on Carmichael is that he isn't very physical, but he's a ballhawks and one of my favorite players in this year's draft.

6th rd, #174) Andrew Jackson, G, Fresno St - 1st team all WAC in 2009. Hobbled by injuries in 2010. Jackson isn't a prototypical Guard by any means, but he does have some quickness which may translate well to a WCO-type zone-blocking scheme. He's a physical player that Harbaugh will like and can challenge Rachal with proper coaching.

6th rd, #190) Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut - There are more than a handful of quality FB's in the draft. However, there isn't a great necessity meaning that you could wait until the 6th or 7th round and grab a good FB. I chose to draft one here and come away with one of the better FB's in this year's draft. Sherman is a solid blocker, has decent receiving skills and is a special teams demon. He will fit the WCO quite nicely.

7th rd, #211) Marc Schiechl, OLB, Colorado School of Mines - There were two players I was looking at here, Schiechl...and Steven Friday. Like Quinn, both are college DE's who have to transition to OLB. Friday had a good year at VT, however I looked at what Schiechl did over his career (All time DII sacks leader with 46) and feel that there may be another James Harrison here.

7th rd, #233) Raymond Webber, WR, Arkansas Pinie-Bluff - Caught 101 balls as a SR for 1,429 yards. 49ers need more WR's with size and Webber gives them that (6'2", 218 lbs.).

7th rd, #241) Kris Durham, WR, Georgia - Durham has size (6'5", 214 lbs) and would make him the tallest WR on the 49ers' roster. Durham played second fiddle (understandably) to A.J. Green. Durham fits the mold of a tall, red zone-type possession receiver.

7th rd, #252) Kai Forbath, K, UCLA - Smi-finalist for Lou Groza award, 2nd team all-PAC 10, .842 career percentage. 49ers current K is Joe Nedney. Nedney has been a steady, reliable K over the the years, but it's time to search for his replacement. There are several teams that brought Forbath in for visits leading me to believe he will be drafted.

The 49ers had 12 picks total. 9 of these picks were in the back half of the draft (4th or later). It's difficult to imagine finding starters late in the draft so the focus was on project players who could play certain roles...Hunter - 3rd/passing downs, Carmichael - Nickel and Dime, Sherman - passing downs and ST, Durham - red zone/3rd and short. There was an emphasis on need, but I only took players which I valued at certain spots. With the exception of QB, I believe that none of the other picks were "reaches".

Hopefully, there is enough contributions at various levels from the top down. There were a couple of things that I didn't do because the opportunities didn't present themselves. First, I didn't engage in any trades. I did not feel that there was enough popularity on Kaepernick or Dalton to make a move. I was able to stand pat on my picks. Second, I wasn't able to come away from this draft with a NT. I firmly believe that the 49ers would value a 2 down, NT later in the draft. However, in this exercise NT's went early.

Category: NFL
Tags: 49ers, Draft
Posted on: January 11, 2009 3:00 am

Vernon Davis, The 6th Lineman

With the 6th pick in the 1st round of the 2006 draft, the San Francisco 49ers select...TE Vernon Davis. What?! NFL tight ends usually aren't drafted this early. So Davis better be damn good,Right? In 3 seasons, Davis has only averaged 34 catches, 377 yards and 3 TDs per year. For a guy that measures in at 6'3", 250 lbs and runs a 4.38 40 yard dash, this guy should be putting up Antonio Gates type numbers. So what gives?

For starters, Davis has been saddled by erratic play at QB. Alex Smith never turned into the franchise QB that could make all the necessary throws...including the ones that should go to his top receivers. Watching Smith play was agonizing for the most part. Outside of 2006 where Norv Turner was the offensive coordinator. Smith was mainly injured or flat out unproductive. Inconsistency at QB never allowed Davis to develop rapport with the person throwing him the ball.

Secondly, the 49ers offensive line never played well enough for downfield receiving option to develop forcing many underneath throws. Ironically, some of Davis' more impressive plays consisted of underneath crossing routes. But the idea of having an athlete like Davis is to stretch the field.

Thirdly, Davis has been plagued with the case of the dropsies. Now I don't know what the official statline is but I do know that Davis dropped balls in key situations more than once this year. Solid coaching can turn this around. But if Davis caught the balls he was supposed to catch, then I wouldn't be writing this article right now.

Now the fourth and main point of this article is that Davis has spent a great deal of time as a blocker. As mentioned above, the offensive line never played up to par. The line play steadily improved this season but early on, Davis was being utilized as an extra blocker for Mike Martz's high octane offense (an offense that never really took off). Also, Martz's offense was never known to utilize the TE.

Now this fourth and final point really stands out to me. It begs the question, "is Vernon Davis really a bust?" Singletary has tabbed Davis as one of the best blockers he has ever seen. It is under this capacity that I had to rethink what would justify Davis as a bust. Davis receives many compliments about his blocking. Davis himself admits that he is a capable blocker and once stated that if the coaches asked him to gain 50 lbs and play OT, then he would do it. So how is this different than an offensive lineman drafted 6th overall?

We draft offensive tackles in the top 10 to protect our QB. I have yet to see Davis miss a blocking assignment. He consistently shuts down the opposing teams' pass rushers. Back in week 15, Joey Porter didn't have one sack against Davis. Porter's lone sack came against RT Barry Sims when Davis was off the field. So if we view Davis as a blocker, then he's done well for himself. Everybody wants to tag Davis as a bust because his measurable stats don't add up. But Davis' greatest contributions is not listed on the stat sheet. Given Davis' skills as a blocker and his flexibility to run patterns and catch passes, I would say that Davis is quite an asset. He may very well be the most valuable 6th lineman on the team.

So there you have it. Vernon Davis...the 6th lineman.

Category: NFL
Posted on: January 8, 2009 11:53 am

49er Team Needs - 2009 Offseason

We talk a lot about this on the 49ers message board. We have different posts for draft and free agents so I thought I would kind of roll them into one. Much of my insight is based on what I've been hearing locally and then try to formulate an opinion based on that. I posted this to the group board as well. Feel free to comment and most importantly, have fun with this.

The obvious needs are RT and Safety. Singletary has mentioned that pass rush will be upgraded and that there will be competition at QB. Let's break this down further. The following is based on current knowledge of pending free agents. When free agency begins and teams make their cuts, there may be other prospects as well. Given Coach Sing's current push for physicality, you can probably expect to see physical prospects at RT and RB.

Needs - what the team is most likely to address

RT - Jonas Jennings can't stay healthy. He will be in the final year of his deal and I think the Niners will probably just cut him. Backup Barry Sims was a revolving door and most likely won't be back. Adam Snyder played well, but was not dominant. Snyder is most valuable as the swingman that can backup every postion on the line except center. Free agency will be deep with linemen. Jordan Gross, Stacy Andrews, Vernon Carey, Marvel Smith, Mark Tauscher are some of free agent Tackles that will be available. This is by far the deepest postion in free agency. There will most likely be a top 5 tackle available whne we draft too. But other team needs will be hard to address in free agency. So my hope is that the Niners take advantage of the availability of free agent tackles and use their 1st round pick to address another need. Depth could be addressed in later rounds.

S - Mark Roman is the weakest link in the secondary. I haven't heard Sing mention any upgrades here but it's clearly obvious that Roman did not play well. There will be no quality safeties in this year's crop of free agents. My suggestion would be to draft Taylor Mays with the 10th overall pick. At this time, he is slated to fall to 10. After the combine, that may change.

Pass rusher/OLB - This could be a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE. Singletary was very vocal about upgrading this area. He may actually perceive this as the team's greatest need. There are only a couple of big names out there but Terrell Suggs would be the best fit. Suggs plays in a similar read and react hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense in Baltimore. Sing's connections with the Ravens makes this a real possibility that we may make a hard run for Suggs. If we fail to connect with Suggs, Brian Orapko would be a possibility with the 10th pick too. But Orapko most likely will be drafted before then.

QB - This is really anyone's guess. Singletary went out of his way to say that Hill is NOT guaranteed the starting job. Sing wants competition at the QB position. We do not know if this means that competition will be brought in, or if Alex Smith is still in the picture. The team has not been very specific about this. IMO, Hill should be starter and make it his job to lose.

RB - Nobody has really talked about this. But last year's signing of DeShaun Foster was a sign that the team wants quality depth to share carries with Gore. Foster didn't play well, so he will most likely be gone. There will be some second tier free agents out there. This year's RB draft class will not be very deep. But it is a possibility that the Niners take someone in the 2nd or 3rd round. LaMont Jordan, Derrick Ward, Rudi Johnson are some of the "bigger" RBs in free agency.

Debunking the myths - what the team is least likely to pursue

ILB - There are rumors of Manuluaga, Laurinitis or even Ray Lewis. I am doubting these scenarios. Takeo Spikes has indicated that he wants to resign with the Niners and I think he will make it easy for the team to do so. Spikes is not the gamechanger he once was but still plays at an above average level. He showed this after Singletary became coach and I think Spikes enjoys playing for him.

NT - I personally think that this area should be upgraded. But I don't think the team feels the same way. Singletary did not address the D-line in any way. I think he is happy with Ray McDonald, Aubrayo Franklin, Justin Smith and rotating Isaac Sopoaga & Kentwan Balmer into the fold. Plus, the NT postion will be very weak in free agency and the draft. There are people out there that talk about Albert Haynesworth, but I don't think the Niners will go after him. I think the Niners will spend the money on Suggs. Supposedly, the Titans have currently resumed talks with Haynesworth about an extension.

WR - T.J. Houshmanzadeh is probably the biggest name out there. But the team feels that the combo of Bruce, Battle, Morgan and Hill will carry them through next season. So a top free agent or draftee is unlikely.

CB - There has been a lot of talk about finding Walt Harris' future replacement. Some are saying Malcolm Jenkins. It's not entirely out of the question. But Tarell Brown played well filling in for Nate Clements and the truth is, Walt Harris didn't play that bad. The Niners have done well targeting CBs in the middle rounds of the draft (Spencer and Brown). They also still have Reggie Smith from last year who could be converted to safety.

What I would like to see is the Niners target RT and Suggs in free agency. I hope they draft Taylor Mays in the draft. They also use the later rounds of the draft to address depth for O-line, RB, CB and/or even WR.

Cut/Sign - list of guys that probably will or will not be brought back. I excluded lesser known guys.

TE Billy Bajema - Valuable blocker. Provides depth. Veteran special teams player. Would not cost and arm and a leg to resign. I hope the team resigns him.

DL Ronald Fields - Didn't do anything to distinguish himself from Sopoaga, Franklin or even Balmer. Let him walk.

RB DeShaun Foster - Didn't do enough. He only rushed for 3 y/a. We need better production from someone who is going to split carries with Gore. Let him walk.

LB Roderick Green - Situational pass rusher. Not an every down player. Show up in a few games, disappeared in most for 2008. Sing wants an upgrade making Green expendable. Let him walk.

WR Bryant Johnson - Hobbled by injury. But one of the biggest receivers we have on the team. When healthy, he can be productive. May lack free agent draw after this year and could come back at a bargain. I hope the team resigns him.

QB - J.T. O'Sullivan - The JTO experiment is over. Martz is gone. Turnover prone. JTO never had the type of respect from his teammates as much as Shaun Hill did. Nevertheless, Sing wants competition so JTO is out. Let him walk.

RS Allen Rossum - Return extraordinaire. Missed a couple of games but when was the last time the Niners had such an explosive return game? I hope the team brings him back.

TE Sean Ryan - Like Bajema, more of a blocking specialist. Likely to be gone when Keasey returns. Let him walk.

LB Takeo Spikes - Picked up play after Sing took over as coach. I am buying more into his veteran leadership in the locker room. he wants to stay So he could come with good value. I hope the team resigns him.

CB Donald Strickland - I was never impressed with him. I think he was burned too many times. But he was not used correctly either. Sing likes him. He may get another shot with the Niners. I say let him walk.

List of free agents pulled from the Niners website.


Category: NFL
Posted on: August 17, 2008 1:43 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2008 2:27 pm

49ers Rookie WR Josh Morgan

WHO IS THIS GUY?! I mean, I know who he is and where he came from...but...WHO IS THIS GUY?!

I can't remember the last time I've seen a 49ers' WR get open or behind a defense since Terrell Owens. Morgan has been the 49ers' top receiver in the first 2 preseason games. He 's making the big plays. Alright, I must admit. It is STILL preseason. I must'nt get too excited here. BUT I CAN'T HELP IT! Us 49er fans haven't had much to get excited about the last few years. The signing of Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson has been the 49ers biggest news regarding the WR position *yawn*. Now this Morgan guy breaks out 2 games in a row. I mean is he that good? Only time will tell.

I recall in April, many of us 49er faithful were hoping to see the 49ers land on of the top WR in this year's NFL draft (Devin Thomas, Early Doucet, James Hardy, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, just to name a few). Many of us were disappointed when the 49ers passed on a receiver early. Maybe this was the plan all along.

I know Morgan had some off field issues at Virginia Tech, but is he that talented? I'm hoping that he provides us the kind of spark that we need for the regular season. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I've always said that a team should draft based on it's own thought processes and strategies and not what the general public thinks. Could Morgan be a 6th round gem? Maybe the 49ers knew something about Morgan that no one else did...

...again, only time willl tell and I can't help to be excited about that.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com