Super Bowl XLVI barely eluded the San Francisco 49ers, leaving Jim Harbaugh's team with plenty of heartbreak but even more optimism for the future.
The 2012 NFL Draft is an opportunity for the Niners to grab talent that could make them an NFC powerhouse. Sure, the first few rounds will provide the vast majority of future NFL stars. But that doesn't mean GM Trent Baalke can't find any hidden gems late in the draft.
Take the 2011 NFL Draft for example. Kendall Hunter and Bruce Miller went from later round picks to big impact players.
Valuable late round draft picks run the gamut from immense talents with character troubles to lesser prospects with great football IQ.
With that in mind, let's take a look at potential steals the 49ers could select in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The reason Russell Wilson isn't a hot prospect is simple: his lack of size.
And while Wilson's 5'11" frame may prevent him from ever achieving NFL stardom, he does have a lot of great qualities for a signal caller.
He is an extremely accurate, strong armed passer who is also extraordinarily mobile. A superb athlete, Wilson also played minor league ball for the Colorado Rockies organization.
If drafted by the 49ers, Wilson would likely battle another former badger, Scott Tolzien, for the third string position in 2012. From there, he would be given time to develop under Harbaugh's tutelage.
Like Wilson, Moore's draft standing is hurt by his lack of height. Scouts are also concerned about his his questionable throwing arm.
But Moore is dime a dozen prospect with a once in a generation work ethic. Doubted his whole life, the Boise State product has proved critics wrong by tirelessly working on improving his game.
Since he was a child, Moore has been known as a connoisseur on X's and O's and game film. It may be a football cliché, but the quarterback, who recorded an NCAA record 50 victories, is the definition of a winner.
I'd imagine Jim Harbaugh would love to have a player like Moore on his roster.
Hopefully the 49ers will have started addressing their anemic wide receiver core before the later portion of the 2012 NFL Draft. But they'll need more than one wideout to solve their most glaring need.
Joe Adams is an undersized speed demon who could give San Francisco some much needed explosiveness. He projects as a potential slot receiver in the NFL.
Adams is also an electrifying punt returner. Ted Ginn Jr. is a free agent and even if he's back in 2012, we all know the 49ers could add depth to the return game.
In all, Adams is a great talent for a later round pick.
Chris Owusu may be a reach in any round, but he makes some sense for the 49ers.
As mentioned before, the Niners could use all the help they could get at wideout. Perhaps more important, Owusu was coached by Jim Harbaugh for three years at Stanford.
Owusu's concussion history is troubling, but he's a resilient player who would definitely know the system well. He could also contribute to special teams for the club.
Cliff Harris was projected as a first round pick before the 2011 college football season. That was before legal issues led to his suspension and later dismissal from the Oregon Ducks.
Clearly, the character issues hovering over Harris have significantly lowered his draft stock. However, he's talent is undeniable.
Harris is a ball hawk whose stellar play as a corner is nearly matched by his sensational return abilities. The 49ers will be looking for cornerback help in the draft, especially with Carlos Rogers' future with the club being uncertain.
Harris' personal troubles may prevent him from realizing his true potential, but his athleticism at least warrants a late round flier.