It’s finally here. The 2014 NFL Draft will start at 8 p.m. ET tonight, and finally, the months of draft speculation will come to an end.
For a team like the San Francisco 49ers, which has a lot of picks and not much need, a mock draft probably isn’t the best format for determining their pick. After all, there’s no guarantee that they’ll even pick at their slot, all the way down at No. 30. It’s far more likely they’ll move up and down the draft board, targeting players that they like with their massive stockpile of picks.
Because the 49ers are likely to be so mobile, I find it’s better to have a big board rather than a mock draft. The concept behind a big board is simple. Players are ranked by a combination of overall talent and team need. The team would take the top player on the board when they’re on the clock, no matter if that’s at No. 30, trading up to the top 10, or falling back into the second round.
I’ve done this exercise twice before, but a lot of things can change in a month and a half. With the draft upon us, it’s a good time take one final look at the 30 players the 49ers would be most likely to draft. I’ll compare their stock to where they were on the previous big boards, determine which players are just out of San Francisco’s reach and determine where they would have to trade to get some of the biggest names.