It’s that time of year again boys and girls. A time to put an absurd amount of pressure on young football players to become stars before playing a single down in the NFL. A time where football fans all over the country anoint draft picks as missing pieces to a championship dream. And a time where it’s okay to boo the selection of a rugged offensive lineman over a flashy wideout.
It’s the NFL draft and the San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to make the 30th pick in the first round and have a total of 11 picks in the entire draft. Here is my mock draft in the 2014 draft for the 49ers.
Round 1: No. 30, Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
I fully expect the 49ers to trade up and grab a wide receiver or a cornerback but they would be thrilled if Verrett fell in their lap at number 30. He is only 5-9 but is a very good playmaker at the corner position and has the ability to cover the slot in a nickle package. Verrett is one of the faster corners which allows him to cover a lot of ground and San Francisco can easily put him on the field especially with the departures of Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers.
Round 2: No. 56, Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
The 49ers need to upgrade their receiving corps and if they don’t end up grabbing a Beckham or Evans in the first round then Latimer becomes a great pick in round number two. Latimer is a physically gifted player who has played a little basketball and shows those basketball instincts on the field. He is a very strong guy who used that strength to create separation and extend plays with YAC yardage. His strength also enables him to be a force in the running game.
Round 2: No. 61, Marcus Martin, C, USC
Drafting Martin in the third round makes a lot of sense especially with the 49ers’ decision not to bring longtime center Jonathan Goodwin back. Not only does Martin have the ability to play a little big of guard, but with a lot of the top tier talent now gone for San Francisco’s position needs, the Martin pick comes at a great value.
Round 3: No. 77, Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia
There is no doubt that the 49ers would much rather have Aldon Smith playing early and often but with his current slew of questionable behavior the organization now has to think about adding depth to their pass rush in case something else happens. So why not add depth in the form of a 6-foot-6, 271-pound pass rusher. Clarke doesn’t have a grasp on his technique just yet but his long arms and size allow him to get past offensive lineman and create at least a distraction to opposing quarterbacks. He is also very effective against the run which fits in with what the 49ers are all about.
Round 3: No.94, Jordan Zumwalt, OLB, UCLA
Just as Aldon Smith was a factor in the previous pick, the injury to Novorro Bowman is a factor to this one. Bowman’s knee injury will likely keep him out until the second half of the season and with this pick, the 49ers will have one of the most versatile linebackers left on the board. Zumwalt ability to both blitz and cover effectively make him ideal for a 3-4 defense.
Round 3: No. 100, Dion Bailey, FS, USC
The 49ers will go defense once again with their sixth pick. Bailey is though to be undersized at six feet, but he is a hard worker who always seems to be in the middle of the action. He has good instincts and his speed allows him to be in good position and will occasionally intercept a pass or two.
Round 4: No. 129, Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
Coming into the draft, the cornerback position was a weak point within the 49ers, which is why selecting another tough physical corner with his mind set on making plays. Mitchell has the ability to read and react in the passing game and will often times jump routes. He may be a liability on run defense which is why he would still be on the board but the upside he posesses instantly adds depth.
Round 5: No. 170, Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
We all know how Jim Harbaugh likes quarterbacks, especially those that he can develop. Logan Thomas is a physical specimen that can play potentially play other positions. He has a cannon for an arm and can extend plays with his legs but has yet to develop the accuracy to be successful in the NFL. With his selection the 49ers would immediately put him up against Blaine Gabbert for the backup role and could develop him into something special in the future.
Round 7: No. 242, Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Last year, the 49ers chose two talented players that suffered terrible injuries in Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore. After a year, they are now both ready to contribute to the team. This same tactic can be used to select another talented player in Colvin who tore his ACL in January. Before the injury he was a solid 3rd-4th round pick but will no doubt drop. San Francisco would do well to take a flyer on Colvin and see if they can find a diamond in the rough.
Round 7: No.243, Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama
The 49ers are built on controlling both lines of scrimmage so this selection is to add depth and beef up front. Steen is a bit undersized but was a three year starter at Alabama, a program which has had its fair shareof big games.
Round 7: No. 245, Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford
And so, this year’s draft ends with the selection of a defensive end that has played for Harbaugh before. Mauro is a project at best and it will be surprising if he makes any significant impact but the familiarity between he and coach Harbaugh should bode well for him.