Looking back, the 49ers had a pretty good draft last year. Nate Davis shows potential. Glenn Coffee is adequate and should get better. And Crabtree - well, we know he knows he's good.
But looking forward, it's time to start playing the Scot McCloughan game, and pretend we have the power to decide what happens in April with the 49ers 2 first-round picks.
First round picks have no room for sleepers (they make first-round money after all) and address team needs. Accomplished teams with late first-rounders often bank on a 'best athlete available' strategy.
So here's a little chunk of fantasy to chew on: If the season ended today, SF would have their 11th pick and Carolina's 12th pick. Realistically, SF beats Detroit and St. Louis - and Carolina loses out to the Giants and Saints. Lets call it the 11th and 15th overall picks.
The first overall pick goes to Tampa, who take Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska.
The Rams Draft A QB, like Colt McCoy or Jimmy Claussen, second.
The Browns grab free safety Taylor Mays or Eric Berry to help against the pass and Detroit takes (Texas OT) Russell Okung.
The Chiefs take (Clemson RB) C.J. Spiller followed by the Skins picking up (OSU WR) Dez Bryant at the six-spot.
Seattle then grabs Bryan Bulaga (OT-Iowa) at pick 10.
At this point, premium tackles are a little exhausted compared to other positions, so SF, I think, should take the best pass rusher available. The Internet tells me this would be Derrick Morgan from Georgia Tech, but I also like Sergio Kindle (OLB/DE, Texas) Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, South Florida) Corey Wooton (DE, Northwestern) Greg Hardy (DE, Ole' Miss) and Terrence Cody (NT.) How does the big run stuffer Cody fit in on pass defense? Well, he's BIG! He take up monster real estate - 360-380 lbs and he can dunk a basketball - and while Aubrayo Franklin, Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois, and Justin Smith anchor a very talented middle d-line, a Fridge-type boulder like Cody could very well make the surrounding line-backers better players against the run - and the pass. Goal line and short yardage situations? The door is closed! I'm just saying it's an option.
Now assume the next 3 picks go to Jacksonville, Miami and the Jets. The Jags shock everybody who hasn't been paying attention and take Tebow (which I predict pays off big over the franchises next 5 years.) The Jets snag Jared Odrick, Terrence Cody or Dan Williams to solidify their middle defense, and Miami picks up Joe Haden at corner.
Which brings us right back to the 49ers. Fresh off the pass-rusher take, they go O-line now. The big prospects left are Trent Williams (Texas) Anthony Davis (Rutgers) Charles Brown(USC) Jason Fox (Miami) Mike Iupeti (Idaho) and Selvish Capers (West Virginia.) And thats the order I have them in so far as talent is concerned.
Obviously I've mentioned a few second-rounders in a first-round discussion. This is because we also have a pick in rounds two, and three, and so on. Should some of these players fall below their predicted value, they could be sleepers and steals.
A few other note worthy players I think have great potential that I would not be disappointed if they were taken in the later first or early second round (via trades or the like) are Jahvid Best (RB, CAL) Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma) Patrick Robinson (CB FSU) Matt Tennant (G, BC) T.J. Ford (SS, Oregon) Greg Hardy (DE Ole' Miss) and Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford.)
So there's my A-list. Sure things. Players who will probably make an immediate impact on just about any team. If you've made it this far through my ranting and raving, then you're surely a die-hard fan. So feel free to chime in with comments and opinions because its still a good four-plus months until the draft; plenty of time to speculate.
I know the season isn't officially over, and teams are still playing with pride and all that, but really - it's over.
As is this article.