Mock-mock! Who's there? Seven rounds of time-wasting, headache-inducing, nearly laughable speculation. That's who!
It's mock-draft season, and since there's only still another whole month until the draft, I guess it's time to get on it!
The 49ers needs are glaring, but Jim Harbaugh's poker face leaves most of us Stonewalled as to who he's targeting, and the fact remains that Trent Baalke is the general manager.
Truth be told, the 49ers decision makers probably don't even know exactly who they're targeting yet. Come draft day however, Baalke, Harbaugh, Fangio, and a small army of scouts will have worked closely together to determine their strategy for acquiring their favorite rookies entering the NFL this year.
The 49ers' needs seem quite transparent, but with an eventual free agency period and a currently enforced restraining order to keep coaches away from players throughout the lockout and CBA, this off-season figures to be especially hecticwell beyond the draft.
And because going out on a thorny limb is just so much fun, readers will even be subjected to pick-trade-strategy speculation, and possible contingency-plan players.
Full disclosure: I'd be smitten if Amukamara turns out to be the 49ers best option at the seventh pick.
Explosiveness is the name of Prince's game, and like Revis, he could soon have his own "Amukamara Island" where receivers get stranded and forgotten about.
A solid combine put fears about his top-end speed to rest, and his little yellow button was said to have measured the most G's of any athlete tested in that way.
There is simply no shortage of contingency for the seventh pick, with at least ten athletes worth considering there. If Patrick Peterson is available, he's ours. I could also live with SF selecting Marcel Darius, Von Miller, Da'Quan Bowers, A.J. Green, Blaine Gabbert, or Julio Jones; all of whom are legitimate considerations. Trading down in the order isn't a terrible idea either—for the right price.
Pondering a trade up for this one (slap me) possibly as high the Patriots second first-round pick, or as low as Washington's second-rounder, which might also leave the door open for a McNabb trade down the line.
I'm supposing SF trades their second-round, their fifth-round, and one seventh-round pick to move up to one of these spots. They invest in a potential QB of the future, but don't quite bet the farm.
In Ponder they get a very nicely rounded passer. He didn't tower above the rest of the quarterback field in any of the combine events, but he was in the thick of it for each test and drill he participated in. From his 40 time to his Wonderlic score, Ponder would be a fantastic short-term project for Jim Harbaugh, and could fit the new system quite nicely.
Contingency: Ryan Mallett. Although his combine numbers totally suck, he's not a gymnast; he's a quarterback, and he actually could (should?) be available at the 49ers original second pick.
Moch said he was fast, and nobody quite believed him. That was until he set a record 40 time for linebackers at the combine.
This mock assumes the Raiders were gonna take him, but Baalke beats them to it. They get an outside linebacker with tremendous speed.
Only dropping because of Nevada's sub-par WAC division and "stiff hips" doesn't deter Baalke and company in this scenario, and the 49ers from grab an explosive pass rusher Fangio can move around creatively.
Moch is actually a hair more explosive than Von Miller, who will most likely be gone by their first pick. But being real with it, Miller is much more agile.
Contingency: Sam Acho, Texas. The 49ers defense simply needs a better pass rush, and they have for years.
The smart, tough, versatile student of the game is one serious athlete. There's not much to say about this dude that hans't already been said. He'll do whatever you ask him to, whether it's special teams or even linebacker on a passing down. But best of all he's a throw-back fullback. Like a Tom Rathman type, he'll block ferociously, run the ball ferociously, and even catch the short screen pass...Ferociously! And gee whiz, I wonder who will be the 49ers running backs coach next year? Oh yeah, Rathman!
Contingency: Virgil Green, TE, Nevada.
Harbaugh's offense at Stanford utilized tight ends extremely well to camouflage running and passing plays. The thought of how he'll use Vernon Davis is drool-inducing, but throw Green's athleticism giftedness into the equation and we could be talking about a completely unsolvable problem for some opposing defense.
Kendrick Ellis is the giant in the background here. Although his off-field issues lead to his dismissal from SC State, his size and athleticism make him a monster worth considering. Those same unspecified off-field issues could be the reason he falls to the 49ers in the fourth.
Contingency: Sione Fua, NT, Stanford.
Fua is Fangio's line anchor from last year. Many suspect he'll be a 49er as well.
We traded it to get Ponder. Remember?
Sherman isn't an athletic freak; his combine numbers are actually quite standard. What Sherman brings to the table though, is a mentality and awareness that has got to be attractive to Harbaugh and Fangio. Heck, they should really know all about him.
Contingency: Henry Hynoski, FB, Pitt
From running, to blocking to even snaring the occasional pass, Hynoski's athleticism is NFL material with the size to match.
Maehl may not be the jump-ball pass catcher you want, but he's the clutch-play-making receiver you need. Great acceleration piloted by outstanding situational awareness makes Mahel a tremendous asset for the passing game.
Contingency: Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford
"Smart, athletic players who love and respect the game" are said to be who Harbaugh likes. Whalen must fit this rubric as well, I mean, he did play four years for the coach.
The 49ers selected Taylor Mays last year, and he figures to be much improved in 2011. But the secondary has been a burning issue for them since Jim Mora Jr left.
In 1981, Bill Walsh, George Seifert and Ray Rhodes took the defense from rags to riches in one fell swoop. Of course it all started with Ronnie Lott, but in the end the 49ers drafted a gang of defensive backs that year. A second defensive back in this scenario could be very helpful. Phillip Adams, taken late last year, shows some promise. Why not try it in a late round again?
Shilo Keo, SS, Idaho.
Keo's a flying brick who could be nice to have at strong safety on certain downs. Effort and passion highlight his style of play.
Contingencies: DeJon Gomes and/or Eric Hagg, SS/FS, Nebraska.
DeJon Gomes, FS, Nebraska, is another good contingency DB. He's a play-making ball hawk.
Eric Hagg isn't necessarily a beast either, but between Amukamara, and these two fellas, San Francisco would essentially have the Blackshirts secondary that's been terrorizing the Big 12 North for the last couple years.
Good job team! Way to speculate! Click that mouse!
Harbaugh and Baalke aren't tipping their hands much, and he only thing we should expect come draft day, is to be surprised.