Poking around the internet through the various mock drafts, it appears the consensus first round pick the 49ers are expected to make is FS Eric Reid. Or Alabama DT Jesse Williams. Or LSU SS Matt Elam, or S Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International, or TE Zach Ertz of Stanford, or TE Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame, or North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams, or SMU DE Margus Hunt, or UCLA DE Datone Jones.
How helpful. It appears the Mocksperts are aware that the 49ers have lost TE Delanie Walker, FS Dashon Goldson, and DTs Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois. Knowing Trent Baalke like we do, however, it’s an even better bet you can cross all the above specimens off your list of guys we’ll draft at number one.
Picking next to last in the first round is probably as much about seeing who falls in your lap as it is about targeting a particular player. Baalke said last year he knew he would draft AJ Jenkins the night before the draft. He claimed to have written it down on a piece of paper. I don’t recall this paper ever being trotted forth in evidence, duly notarized, however. We can take him at his word. Or not.
Donte Whitner says the 49ers have the NFL’s best defense. This must be a quote from Whitner’s doctoral thesis in Jim Harbaugh’s School of Hyperbole. Still, this is not a good time to be telling 49er fans how good their team’s defense is and Whitner is the last guy on said defense that should be mouthing off about its excellence.
It’s widely assumed the 49ers will draft a Free Safety to eventually replace the departed Goldson, but the team already has a young guy who can move to FS. Harbaugh has said there are no plans at present to move Chris Culliver to this spot, but three factors mitigate this sentiment. One, Harbaugh is a known dissembler. Two, “at present” was during the offseason, not Training Camp. And three, Craig Dahl’s a mentor, not a solution. If we wanted a FS who could actually play, we’d have signed Charles Woodson. You could throw in four, the signing of CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who would bump Culliver down the DB chart if he makes the team and why would we want to stall a young guy’s career in favor of an old guy filling in for a year or two?
Of course, Trent Baalke has no qualms about other teams thinking he’ll be drafting a FS. Cultivating wrong information in opponent draft rooms is a GM’s bread and butter.
At any rate, I’ve convinced myself of this theory, if not any of you. No FS on our draft board. Unless you’re Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, free safeties spend their rookie year getting burnt. The 49ers don’t have time for that crap. We already got enough toast in the secondary — are you getting my drift Whitner? As a matter of fact, I’m putting Strong Safety on our draft board. You’re on the clock, Donte.