San Francisco 49ers 2012 NFL Draft: All Seven Rounds (Updated 11-15-11)
The San Francisco 49ers are 8-1 with a five-game lead in the NFC West.
They have the biggest divisional race lead and the best run defense in the NFL.
Necessary improvements are needed because the 49ers play four games against the AFC East and four games against the NFC North next year.
Add a couple of games against division winners in the NFC East and NFC South, and the 49ers are looking at a tough schedule.
Pass protection, the secondary, and the passing game will have to be improved in the April draft.
Here are seven rounds of improvement, provided with an updated "alternate strategy" at the bottom of each selection that the 49ers might follow.
49ers Offense: Who Might Be Gone in 2012?
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End-of-year free agency could impact the 49ers roster, especially when several high-performing Niners' contracts are up.
So who will be free agents in 2012 and who was hurt in 2011?
Offensive Players who are Only Signed Through 2011:
Starters: QB Alex Smith; RG Chilo Rachal; WR Josh Morgan
Offensive Players on Injured Reserve in 2011:
Starters: WR Josh Morgan
Backups: TE Nate Byham; WR Dontavia Bogan
Offensive Players Banged Up in 2011:
Starters: WR Michael Crabtree; C Jonathan Goodwin
Backups: FB Moran Norris; WR Braylon Edwards
49ers Defense: Who Might Be Gone in 2012?
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The 49ers had a few injuries at cornerback this year.
Carlos Rogers made a difference this year, but will he be back? Contractually, cornerback and free safety have to be a concern. These two positions were a concern in the 2010 draft as well.
Defensive Players who are Only Signed Through 2011:
Starters: CB Carlos Rogers; FS Dashon Goldson; OLB Ahmad Brooks
Backups: CB Tramaine Brock; FS Madieu Williams; SS Reggie Smith; SS C.J. Spillman; ILB Tavares Gooden; ILB Blake Costanzo
Defensive Players on Injured Reserve in 2011:
Backups: CB Curtis Holcomb; DE Will Tukuafu
Defensive Players Banged Up in 2011:
Backups: CB Chris Culliver; CB Tramaine Brock
Ranking 49ers Team Needs
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What are the team needs at this half-way point, based on performance, injuries and depth?
The 49ers lead the NFL in total defense (PPG), they are the best team at stopping the run but fall off to 21st at defending the pass.
The 49ers are ranked sixth in the NFL for total offense (PPG). They are also sixth in rushing. The stat that is questionable is passing offense: nearly last in the league.
Clearly, the top needs start with addressing the offensive challenges of improving receptions, better pass protection and better quarterback play. Future needs are addressed on previous results.
With a stout run defense, the secondary needs the most improvement as well.
The question is where to start? Take advantage of the highly valued skill positions of defensive back or wide receiver available in the first round? Reinforce the offensive line starting with left tackle in the first round, followed by a guard and a much-needed center? Trade the farm and family for a top-five pick to get a quarterback? These questions bring great debate among 49ers fans.
Center is another high need. Goodwin is an improvement over Baas; however, he is inconsistent at times and there is no depth.
Pass protection must improve. Right guard is a high need. Snyder is a good backup but Rachal is inconsistent. The team needs a competent starter at right guard.
Play at left tackle needs to improve and offensive tackle is still a position of medium need.
In the secondary, the aging Rogers plays great, but he's on a one-year contract (in negotiations). Brown and Culliver are only adequate. Depth is a concern, so cornerback is a high need.
Goldson and Williams have played well, but the free safety position is still a high need.
Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh will not be trading several first-round picks for Andrew Luck or Matt Barkley. A franchise QB acquisition would be nice, the available QBs in the late first round don't differ much from the fifth round. A quarterback remains a high need.
Wide receivers Edwards and Morgan are free agents after this year and, when both were injured this year, along with Crabtree, the vertical threat suffered. Until Crabtree plays like a No. 1 pick, we need to complement the position with a big, fast, threat. Wide receiver is a high need, especially if Morgan and Edwards leave.
49er's First Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
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First Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 29
Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, 5'10", 205, 4.49
Dennard will fall a bit in the next few months and will be available with pick 29.
What about a wide receiver? Blackmon, Jeffery, and Floyd will be gone by pick 17. Broyles will fall to the 2nd or 3rd round (ACL). Toon, Sanu, Jones and Criner don't justify a first-round WR pick.
How about a guard? DeCastro will already be gone, but Osemele, Zeitler, and Glenn will be there in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
There are no QBs are worth pick 29. Tannehill will not be the "49ers-Tebow-project."
Alternative Strategy: C/OG Peter Konz, Wisconsin, 6'5" 313, 49ers have one center (Goodwin) listed on the depth chart and Konz could even replace Rachal at guard - Niners are weak at that guard spot as well as center. This need is arguably higher than cornerback - which would have to be addressed in round 2, even with Carlos Rogers.
49er's Second Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
Second Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 61
Cordy Glenn, Georgia, 6'5", 330
Cordy Glenn could be the best guard on the board because DeCastro, Osemele and Zeitler might go first. All four are great guards.
Other superb guards available here include Potter, Kelemete, and Miller.
Centers Konz and Brewster might be taken in the first round. A alternate pick here could be center William Vlachos from Alabama.
A few wide receivers might will be available; but, if Morgan is back healthy, Crabtree playing better, and Edwards resigned, the receiving corps should be just fine along with Ginn, Williams, and company.
Alternative Strategy: CB Cliff Harris, Oregon, 5'11" 180, 4.49, Harris would compliment Carlos Rogers (if Rogers is resigned) and maybe allow Culliver to play as a backup. Harris was considered the #1 CB before his traffic ticket mess, and would be a better player than Banks/Judie/Fletcher who will still be on the board.
49ers Third Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
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Third Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 93
William Vlachos, Alabama, 6'1", 295
Rimington Trophy Watch List center William Vlachos would be a great pick here. The 49ers do not have any true depth at this position other than Goodwin.
Even though Konz, Brewster, and Jones are off the board, there are plenty of excellent centers available in the late fourth round, including: Ben Habern, Oklahoma, 6'2", 291; Garth Gerhart, Arizona State, 6'1", 305; and Grant Garner, Oklahoma State, 6'3", 292
Another thought in the third round would be free safety Aaron Henry, Wisconsin, or Eddie Whitley, Virginia Tech, but with Goldson's improved play, this might not be necessary until the sixth or seventh round.
Alternative Strategy: CB Omar Bolden, Arizona State, 5'10" 198, 4.49, Bolden was also considered a top CB draft pick before his torn ACL, but he has dropped significantly. Third round picks usually don't last long in the NFL but Bolden could fully recover and the 49er's secondary could potentially be the best in the NFL (adding to the D-Line and Linebackers). Even if Rogers resigns, it will be his 8th year in the NFL.
49ers Fourth Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
Fourth Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 126 (figuring compensatory picks)
Aaron Henry, Wisconsin, 6'0", 4.52
Henry was second-team All-Big Ten (coaches) and honorable mention All-Big Ten (media) in 2010. He transitioned from cornerback to safety and can play both positions. Last year he led Wisconsin in fumbles recovered, second in interceptions and passes defended and third in pass breakups.
Alternative Strategy: WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma, 5'11" 187, 4.52, Broyles was a first round pick earlier this month. Then a torn ACL. If he fully recovers, grabbing him in the fourth round would be a huge steal. His stats were actually as good as Blackmon's or Jeffery's before his injury. Morgan's eventual replacement? If he fully recovers - yes, and it is a safe bet.
49ers Fifth Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
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Fifth Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 160 (figuring compensatory picks)
Kellen Moore, Boise State, 6'0"
Yes, a second backup quarterback to augment Kaepernick and replace Tolzien.
Too short for the 49ers? Did you know Drew Brees was 6'0"? Doug Flutie was 5'10". Joe Theismann was 6'0". Sonny Jurgenson was 5'11". All excellent and a few Super Bowl winners too!
Kellen Moore, considered a fifth-or-sixth rounder, is definitely undervalued.
The 49ers could even pick up an additional starting quarterback in free agency along with a trade; but the plan now seems to play Smith conservatively, continue to develop Kaepernick, and augment this position slowly.
Other good quarterbacks, available in the late fifth round include Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, 6'4", who plays in a pro-style offense, and Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, 6'2". Case Keenum, Houston, 6'1", would even be worth a fifth round selection.
Moore, Lindley, Weeden, and Keenum will all be available with the 160th selection; however, free safety George Iloka, Boise State, 6'3", 4.50, or 34 DE Ryan Van Bergen, Michigan, 6'6", 285 might be sensible options with the fifth pick.
Alternative Strategy: QB Kellen Moore, Boise State, 6'0" 195; Moore or Lindley will both go in the sixth or seventh round for sure. Both played a pro style and would be an improvement over Tolzien. If Smith went down, and there was no help in the aging free agent QBs, Kaepernick needs a better back up than Scott Tolzien. Moore has enough potential to take a team to the Superbowl.
49ers Sixth Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
Sixth Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 194 (figuring compensatory picks)
DeVier Posey, Ohio State, 6'2" 4.51
There will be at least 18 good wide receivers available in the sixth round. This is probably because there were so many great ones in earlier rounds. Even the middle rounds had names like Jones, Criner, Broyles, Wright, Fuller, McNutt, Hilton, Jenkins, White, Wright and Streeter.
Remember when 34OLB Bruce Miller out of Central Florida was going to be a top draft pick? Then he got hurt and fell to about the 15th best 34OLB with an undrafted free agent prediction. Harbaugh liked him as a fullback and took a chance on him in the seventh-round in 2010.
Harbaugh will take a chance with Posey, a former first-round pick, in the sixth-round in 2012.
Although the 49ers will be healthy again at wide receiver next summer, a sixth rounder can only help the competition in camp, especially with some of these names:
Chris Owusu, Stanford, 6'2" 4.46; Marquis Maze, Alabama, 5'10" 4.42; Jermaine Kearse, Washington, 6'2" 4.50; Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech, 6'2" 4.55; DeVier Posey, Ohio State, 6'2" 4.51
Alternative Strategy: FS Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, 6'0" 195, 4.60, This position isn't a top need like it was in 2010 since Goldson's play has improved. Dashon still needs a better backup than Williams and Thomas would be an improvement as backup.
49er's Seventh Round Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
Seventh Round Pick
Approximately Pick No. 232 (figuring compensatory picks)
Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, 6'0", 195, 4.60
Tramain Thomas has been named to the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List. His stats are impressive. He could be available with this selection, and would be a great addition to Dashon Goldson, even with a FS pick in the fourth round.
Yes, that is two Free Safeties picked in this draft.
Another good free safety who may be available with the 232nd selection is Eddie Whitley from Virginia Tech. Whitley is 6'0", 200 lbs and runs a 4.65.
Right there with Thomas and Whitley is Tysyn Hartman from Kansas State. Hartman is 6'2" 206, and runs a 4.64
If these three are for some reason unavailable, then a 34 DE/DT might be the best selection with Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M or Patrick Butrym, Wisconsin.
Alternative Strategy: OG Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina, 6'4" 320, Watkins pick here would strengthen the offensive line and allow the pick of Konz to develop as the starting center. It is possible that Watkins could be the number two RG behind Snyder in 2012.
The 2012 NFL Draft Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think!
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In Two Short Months:
Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts, will serve as the home of Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, 2012. This will be the first Super Bowl held in Indianapolis.
In Three Short Months:
The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine will be held Feb 22-28. More than 300 top prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft will be invited to participate at the combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
In Five Short Months:
The 2012 NFL Draft begins the first round taking place Thursday, April 26.
The second and third rounds will be on Friday, April 27.
Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday, April 28.