2011 NFL Draft: Top 10 Options for the San Francisco 49ers

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2011 NFL Draft: Top 10 Options for the San Francisco 49ers
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The 2011 NFL Draft Is Critically Important for Jim Harbaugh

I wonder if new San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had any idea what he was getting himself into when he left Stanford.  He could have stayed at Stanford and had a top 10 team with Andrew Luck, the top QB in the nation.

Instead, Harbaugh chose to come to the 49ers and he is looking forward to installing his complex offensive system and getting the 49ers back on track.  Unfortunately, the labor strife and resultant lockout has thrown a wrench in Harbaugh's plans. 

The only personnel business the 49ers coach has been able to focus on is the upcoming NFL Draft.  It is imperative for Harbaugh that he and the 49ers hit it big with the draft this year.

The 49ers need help in several areas, but their top three concerns are pass rusher, cornerback and quarterback. 

There is the potential for several quarterbacks in this draft to develop into top players. The top quarterbacks are Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick.

However, none of these players are ready to step right in and there is a big risk taking a quarterback with your first-round pick.  If the Niners can select one of these signal callers with their third-round pick, I'm fine with that, but the team needs to address other weaknesses before speculating on a quarterback.

The 49ers need to make it a top priority to strengthen their defense with their first selection.  Let's take a look at 10 very solid options.  In addition, the more offensive players selected in the top six, the better it is for the 49ers.

Normally, I would leave the best player for last on the list, but in this instance, it makes more sense to list the top options first and check them off if they are selected before the 49ers' pick.

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