San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft: Evaluating Matt Miller's First-Round Pick

Joe LevittContributor IIIMarch 21, 2012

Kelechi Osemele.
Kelechi Osemele.

The San Francisco 49ers may have been left by the wayside in the Peyton Manning extravaganza. However, Trent Baalke has also acquired and re-signed quality players during the 2012 free-agency period.

Re-signing Alex Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers, along with bringing in Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Perrish Cox shored up the 49ers’ top-three needs at quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback, and solidified the return of all 11 starters on defense.

While it can be argued that right guard is an even greater need, this position undoubtedly remains as the most significant deficiency. WR depth is still a prevailing issue, but not one to be addressed with a first-round selection.

Adam Snyder left for divisional foe Arizona Cardinals, while Chilo Rachal is expected to leave as well.

Snyder was incredibly versatile with his ability to fill in at all positions along the offensive line. However, as purely a RG, he occupied the unfortunate 75th slot according to ProFootballFocus. 

PFF ranked 77 players at the position. Not good for Mr. Snyder.

His inability to play one position at a high level superseded his versatility and value as a depth provider.

Projected starter Daniel Kilgore, who did not register a start during the regular season in his rookie year, will need competition.

Bleacher Report’s Senior NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller’s latest first-round mock surely reflects this current situation with the 49ers with regards to their most pressing need.

At the 30th pick overall, Miller projects the Niners will select Kelechi Osemele, guard out of Iowa State. 

Osemele is a fantastic pick. He rates as a top-five draft prospect at the position.

As Miller alluded, David DeCasto and Cordy Glenn—the clearly superior guard prospects—will be off the board by the time the 49ers select at the end of the first-round.

If Baalke and Co. refrain from moving up to grab one of those players (DeCastro especially) then Osemele is the astute selection.

New Era Scouting (Matt Miler) and KFFL draft scouts have him as the No. 3 guard emerging from the NCAA ranks, while The Sports Xchange and project him as the fourth-best.

So, however way you slice it, Osemele is worthy of a late first-round selection according to these reputable draft pundits.

Mel Kiper, his infamous mane and a couple other analysts might argue that he rates as more of a second-round selection, but I’ll side with Miller and the others previously mentioned.

At 6’5’’, 333 pounds, Osemele is a massive human, but possesses the athleticism that enhances his NFL-quality frame. He’s an extremely durable mauler (43 straight starts) that will fit in seamlessly in the 49ers excellent run-blocking group.

He is a strong, powerful and hardworking man—qualities that should resonate well with Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff.

His pass blocking needs coaching, but his quickness and explosion should render him a capable blocker in passing downs.

The 2011 First Team All-Big 12 Conference honoree also earned academic honor role three times, accomplishments that lend credence to his acumen to learn complicated blocking schemes at the NFL level. Recognizing blitzes and playing in multiple positions support that assertion as well.

Overall, this superior run blocker will serve as an upgrade over Adam Snyder. If not deemed quite ready for NFL action by the 49ers’ coaching staff, Osemele will at the very least provide adequate competition and depth behind Daniel Kilgore.

But according to CBS Sports, “his rare combination of size, strength, and absolute aggression,” attributes that “make him an NFL offensive line coach’s dream,” should erase any doubts about his future performance against pass-rushers.

Combined with a hard-work ethic, Osemele seems well suited to hold down a spot on the 49ers O-line.