I understand that we are in the midst of a frenzied free-agency period. I also understand that the Peyton Manning Watch is going to take up most of the media attention.
Of course it is going to take up most of your attention as well. It is kind of like sitting at Golden Gate Park watching all the crazies pass by. You are entertained for a while before it just becomes too much to handle.
So for those of you who are attempting to divert your attention from Manning, I have a pleasant surprise for you: That will be the last time in this article that you hear his name mentioned. Good for me, right?
This article is going to focus on a full seven-round San Francisco 49ers mock draft. The first slide will just be a quick breakdown of how I view the first round is going to play out. That will be followed by a pick-by-pick analysis of the 49ers selections.
In the words of Anthony "Boobie" Dixon, "LEGGO."
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
The entire Colts organization would have to be inebriated on draft day to pass on Luck. They go from one franchise quarterback to another. Not a bad prize for one year of horrible football.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
While the Redskins did give up a huge bounty to acquire this pick, they finally get a franchise quarterback. This is something that they have been missing for the better part of the last two decades.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, Southern California
The next possible step after drafting a franchise quarterback is getting him a blind-side protector. Charlie Johnson was among the worst offensive tackles in the NFL last season. This didn't do Christian Ponder any favors. Acquiring a player of Kalil's caliber will go a long with in making the Vikings offense respectable.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Let me preface this by saying that the Oklahoma State alum isn't my top wide receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft (more on that later). This mock is what I project each team will do. There is no doubt in my mind that the Browns need to get upgrades at the skill positions. In short, Blackmon quickly becomes their No. 1 threat on the outside.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, Louisiana State
The addition of Eric Wright in free agency really doesn't change the dynamics here. In my opinion, there are five standout players in the 2012 Draft; Claiborne is one. He has the technique and fluidity in the hips to be an immediate impact player. That is something you must get when selecting at this position in the top 10.
6. St. Louis Rams: Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
My No. 1 receiver int the draft, Floyd has the ability to be a dominating force on the outside. He gets off the line against press coverage, runs tight routes and has the build to dominate against smaller corners. The Rams are missing anything that resembles true talent at wide receiver; Floyd changes that immediately.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
While Reiff might not have the upside of some of the best linemen in the draft, he is already a damn good offensive tackle. This is a player that doesn't struggle with technique on the outside and can contribute right away. He doesn't play too high and won't get thrown off the line at initial contact.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
This is an incredible reach for the Dolphins, but one they might be forced to make. They are now out of the running for the "unmentionable" and are apparently low-balling Matt Flynn in contract negotiations. Much like I mentioned with the Skins above, Miami needs to get that quarterback of the future. Tannehill, despite his flaws, provides that.
9. Carolina Panthers: Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle, Memphis
The Panthers were horrible against the run last season. They need an immediate upgrade and Poe would provide that.
10. Buffalo Bills: Melvin Ingram, Defensive End/Linebacker, South Carolina
Despite acquiring Mario Williams, the Bills are still in need of help along their front seven. Ingram would provide a dynamic pass-rush duo with Super Mario.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
The best guard prospect to enter the draft in 20 years. Kansas City had Ryan Lilja starting here last season. You do the math.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama
A top-five player in my books, Seattle gets a great value here. Marshawn Lynch did sign an extension during the offseason, but they just can't pass up on this player at No. 12.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
The Cardinals offensive line gave up a league-high 54 sacks last season. To say that they need upgrades along this unit would be an understatement. No offense to Adam Snyder, but he isn't going to provide that upgrade alone.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
While Dallas did sign Brandon Carr to be their No. 1 corner, they still need help at corner. Mike Jenkins continues to struggle with injuries and consistency. At the very least, Kirkpatrick would be a nice free safety option if he doesn't cut it on the outside.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama
The Eagles were atrocious tackling last season and it cost them a couple games. When healthy, Hightower is an extraordinary inside linebacker going sideline to sideline and cutting off the edges. He is also a sure tackler.
16. New York Jets: Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech
A workout warrior at the combine, Hill has seen his stock jump extremely high over the course of the last two weeks. The Jets are lacking young talent at receiver for Mark Sanchez. This would solve that problem immediately.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, Running Back, Miami (Fla.)
Even if the Bengals are able to land Michael Bush, they are going to have to get another running back. Cedric Benson isn't going to return and they have no one to carry the load right now. Miller would be the No. 1 running back in most drafts.
18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker, Alabama
They did sign Jarret Johnson, but that was more as a complementary guy in the run game. The Chargers still need a consistent pass-rusher opposite Antwan Barnes and Upshaw provides that.
19. Chicago Bears: Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
Chicago doesn't need to reach for wide receiver here after acquiring Brandon Marshall in a trade last week. Instead, they look to address pass-protecting woes that have plagued this team since Cutler came to the Windy City.
20. Tennessee Titans: Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama
Even if the Titans were able to re-sign Cortland Finnegan, they needed to look at the future in regards to the corner position. Jenkins might have the highest upside of any defensive player in the draft. It is those character issues that continue to concern scouts.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
It doesn't look like Reggie Nelson is going to be returning to the Bengals. They simply cannot rely on Taylor Mays to get the job done here. So, Cincinnati goes for the consensus No. 1 safety in the draft.
22. Cleveland Browns: Doug Martin, Running Back, Boise State
One of my favorite players in the entire 2012 NFL Draft, Martin would provide the Browns with tremendous value at a need position.
23. Detroit Lions: Peter Konz, Center, Wisconsin
Simply put, the Lions need to shore up that offensive line in front of Matthew Stafford. Konz is going to be a perennial Pro Bowl performer—not bad for a pick in the 20s.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana State
The talented young defensive tackle has seen his draft stock drop since a pedestrian combine performance. With that said, the talent is still there. Pittsburgh could use some youth along their front four; Brockers provides that.
25. Denver Broncos: Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
I do not have Jeffery with a first-round grade, but that wont stop a team from drafting him for pure protection alone. He will struggle early gaining separation at the line and doesn't run precise routes yet. With that said, it is hard to deny the talent that he possesses.
26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
It isn't a secret that the Texans are looking for an upgrade at the wide receiver position opposite Andre Johnson. If they were able to land Wright here, it would go a long way in filling that need. He might not have the upside of other receivers in the draft, but the Baylor product can be a nice complementary guy.
27. New England Patriots: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
Their secondary cost the Patriots a chance at winning their fourth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady era. To say that they were horrible in pass coverage would be a gross understatement. Gilmore is the perfect pick here.
28. Green Bay Packers: Vinny Curry, Linebacker, Marshall
Your secondary is only as good as your pass rush. Obviously, 49ers fans know this all too well. The Packers just couldn't get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. Curry is a perfect fit in their 3-4 scheme.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Bobby Wagner, Linebacker, Utah State
Ray Lewis just cannot play at a high level forever, can he? If not, they are going to have to find a replacement sooner rather than later. Wagner is the biggest sleeper in the entire 2012 NFL Draft and that is saying something.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Cordy Glenn, Guard, Georgia
See next slide.
31. New England Patriots: Nick Perry, Defensive End, Southern California
Some people still have Perry as a top-10 pick, I just don't see that. He is a scheme-specific player and cannot drop back into coverage as an outside linebacker. Additionally, the former USC standout doesn't have a tremendously high ceiling. Still good for between seven and 10 sacks a season.
32. New York Giants: Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
The Giants need to get some more young talent at the linebacker position. Drafting Kuechly would also reunite him with former BC teammate Mark Herzlich.
You have to think that this is the direction the San Francisco 49ers will go in the first round if Cordy Glenn fell to them.
Teams that pick at the end of each round are usually among the best in the league. This means that they don't have to reach for a position, no matter the need.
This is one of the primary reasons I have the 49ers straying away from the wide receiver position in the first round.
The loss of Adam Snyder to the Arizona Cardinals in free agency wasn't a dramatic hit to the talent level of this team, but it hurt their depth along the offensive line a great deal.
Daniel Kilgore, who many believe is the future starter at guard, doesn't appear to be anywhere near ready to play at this point. Of course San Francisco could go with a stopgap measure, but that would just prolong the inevitable.
They would get a player in Cordy Glenn who performed exceptionally well at the scouting combine in terms of the skill-specific drills. He showed tremendous technique and even better quickness of the snap. These are two things that teams look for when drawing a conclusion about guard prospects.
He would be able to come in and start immediately. Another thing that teams look at when spending a first-round pick at the guard position.
Brian Quick is one of my favorite prospects in the entire draft. Don't be fooled by the fact that he played at Appalachian State—that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
He reminds me a great deal of Terrell Owens; just take a look at the embedded video.
I love how Quick gets off the line quick, doesn't struggle against press coverage and uses that tremendous build to the best of his ability.
This is what I am talking about in terms of getting value at a need position. Why spend a first-round pick on a marginal receiver prospect when you can pick up the talent a round later? I am pretty sure that is the way Trent Baalke and Co. are looking at it, too.
I also don't think that the learning curve for Quick will be as great as many people think. He can play at a high level right now.
Of course this is all contingent on Quick actually making it to the back end of the second round, which isn't a guarantee at this point.
Don't be fooled here. Just because the 49ers have two solid tight ends it doesn't mean that they are not going to look at another one. This position is a primary focus for a Jim Harbaugh-run offense and this isn't going to change no matter who the quarterback is.
Ladarius Green is as physically imposing a tight end as you will come across. He is dominating between the trenches, has the ability to stretch the field and actually possesses pretty darn good hands.
Green can be lined up on the outside as a receiver, which makes him that much more valuable to an offense like the one the 49ers run. This is pretty much in the mold of Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.
One huge downfall to Green's game is that he isn't a good blocker at all. Considering that Harbaugh values this aspect of the game in regards to the tight end position, there could be a hiccup with this selection.
This would be a pure projection pick. Somewhat like the selection that San Francisco made in 2010 when they got NaVorro Bowman in the third round.
I envision Josh Kaddu transitioning to the inside linebacker position in the 49ers' 3-4 defense. Of course this makes the Bowman comparisons all that more relevant.
The 49ers are probably going to lose Larry Grant in free agency as he looks for a starting job elsewhere. This means that they are lacking considerably in terms of depth at inside linebacker.
With all due respect to my good friend and B/R columnist Jesse Reed, I have to disagree with his opinion that Jonathan Goodwin as a weak link for the 49ers last season. He played extremely well after struggling early learning the new system.
The former Pro Bowl center is a bit long in the tooth, which means that San Francisco needs to find an eventual replacement.
This draft goes about seven deep in regards to starter-caliber centers. David Molk is entrenched right in the middle of that list. He consistently performed at a high level with Michigan and translates to be a very good player moving forward.
While Trenton Robinson did show some issues in regards to coverage at Michigan State, he has the athletic ability to be a pretty good player at the next level.
It is going to be a learning curve for the young safety and he won't be able to contribute immediately on defense. What Robinson does provide is some depth at safety and help on special teams.
It is funny how one year changes peoples' perspective of prospects. At this time last year Paige-Moss was considered a sure-fire first-round pick.
Issues on and off the field at North Carolina caused his stock to drop a great deal.
This is still a pick that gives San Francisco tremendous upside. He will transition to outside linebacker in their 3-4.