Following the rush of NFL free agency, the picture has become much clearer, as many observers can gauge the team's adjusted draft strategy. They were able to settle several positions of need, even though they didn't make any waves in the football community.
The 49ers also still have a surplus of draft picks (11, via Niners Nation), even after pushing through trades for Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. This knocked off needs for both a talented sixth offensive lineman and a backup QB.
Their addition of safety Antoine Bethea, as well as the re-signings of receiver Anquan Boldin and kicker Phil Dawson also provided a significant cushion by eliminating needs for three potential starters. Now they have no real positions to settle outside cornerback.
They can do anything they want.
We're talking about unbelievable draft flexibility; even more so than we witnessed in last year's draft. This year can be almost entirely value-based, while general manager Trent Baalke targets several A-plus and high-ceiling prospects.
In the two best drafts, in 2011 and 2013, the 49ers were active in the front half of the draft, emerging with their own “Big Four.”
This May, expect a similar strategy where four or five high-profile players land on this team, while the rest are developmental picks. There will be trades up (which are factored into this mock), largely because the 49ers need blue-chip players to compete with their Pro Bowl roster. And 11 draft picks is just far too many, especially for this club.
Without further ado, meet the 49ers' glamorous 2014 draft class...
Round projections and measurements courtesy of CBS Sports and NFL Draft Scout, unless specified otherwise.