If the San Francisco 49ers want to get the best value out of the NFL Draft, it will come from not drafting at their current first round position of 10th overall. Whether the 49ers move down in the first round in order to garner more picks in the second and third rounds, or move up into the top eight overall picks, a move needs to be made.
Currently, all NFL mock drafts from analysts of all different networks and websites have former Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo being drafted anywhere from pick No. 5 to pick No. 9. Not a single mock draft has him slipping to San Francisco at No. 10.
Meanwhile, the 49ers at No. 10 are slated to pick the second highest rated defensive end in the draft, Penn State's Aaron Maybin.
However, Orakpo is the impact player that the 49ers are looking for to bolster their pass rush and if they can't move up to draft him, San Francisco ought to look to trade down in this year's NFL draft.
First off, Orakpo is rated as the best defensive end coming out of the draft and for good reason.
The former Longhorn had 11.5 sacks his senior season to go along with 42 total tackles and is an absolute freak athletically, has a similar build to 49ers TE Vernon Davis, and similar raw talent that can be put to tremendous use with the tough, in-you-face caliber coach in Mike Singletary.
At the combine, Orakpo ran a 4.63 40-yard dash which is excellent speed for a defensive-end, 39 1/2 inch vertical leap and put up 31 bench-reps at 225 lbs. At 6' 3" and 263 lbs, Orakpo is the real deal. Strength, speed, agility, and pure pass-rushing ability is all there with this guy.
Aaron Maybin on the other hand is a little lighter and quicker than Orakpo at 6' 4" and 246 pounds but his strength as a pass rusher is a big question. The 49ers already have a similar type of pass rushing olb in Manny Lawson, so drafting Maybin doesn't quite make as much sense as Orakpo.
In Maybin's combine workout, the former lion only ran a 4.8 40-yard dash, 38 inch vertical leap and just 22 bench-reps at 225 lbs.
Although he had a better statistical year than Orakpo in this past year's college football season, posting seven more tackles and .5 more sacks, his ability to translate into an NFL pass-rusher is in question due to his smaller frame.
Reports have the 49ers drafting Maybin as an olb, but the 49ers have a solid group of linebackers already including former defensive rookie of the year Patrick Willis, veteran Takeo Spikes, the aforementioned Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson.
If San Francisco can move up to take Orakpo as a defensive-end they should do exactly that. Orakpo on the opposite side of the line as Justin Smith will cause major havoc for opposing offensive-lines.
However, if that's not possible, the 49ers should trade down, rather than take Maybin at No. 10. Drafting down to bolster their secondary and or drafting a spell-back for Frank Gore would be more beneficial in the long run than taking a chance on Maybin.
49ers' Walt Harris is still a solid cornerback but is getting up there in age, and San Francisco drastically needs to improve their free-safety position where there most recent starter Mark Roman has gone two seasons without an interception.
His poor coverage abilities has made hard-hitting strong-safety Michael Lewis unable to play his style of punishing the run and hunting wide-receivers who dare run across the middle.
Also, moving down to draft a running-back, possibly Knowshon Moreno out of Georgia or Chris "Beanie" Wells out of Ohio state to create a one-two punch at running-back. The 49ers will be a power running team and bolstering their back-field to take some of the pressure of Frank Gore will only help their offense play up to their potential.
It is quite simple really, the 49ers' most pressing need is a pass rushing defensive-end. If they cannot move up to snatch Brian Orakpo, the next best move would be to move down in the first round or even garner a few more picks in later rounds to draft more depth in the secondary or a change-up third down back to compliment Frank Gore.