With the San Francisco 49ers season is pretty much done as any hope of the playoffs was quickly faded when the 49ers lost to the Carolina Panthers 23-20. So, the question for the 49ers is what positions will be looked at in the 2011 NFL Draft?
That doesn't truly look like an option for the team as offensive linemen Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati were both taken in the first round in the 2010 draft and in 2011 with their experience as a rookie should benefit them greatly. If a quarterback is taken with the first selection it means that the 49ers still need to go after a veteran quarterback who would be willing to start for a couple of seasons and turnover the reigns to the young quarterback.
Then if a quarterback and offensive linemen aren't going to be taken in the first round then it comes down to the defensive side of the ball. Where there will be plenty of holes to fill as Dashon Goldson won't likely be resigned,Aubrayo Franklin more than likely will be gone, Manny Lawson could be resigned, and Nate Clements is getting older.
So, that means a safety, a cornerback, defensive tackle, or outside linebacker the 49ers are going to need from the draft. After that first pick then the 49ers should look at the best players available regardless of what side of the ball the players is on.
Here's a look at the most likely first round picks for the 49ers:
Patrick Peterson CB LSU career stats 113 tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble, and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska career stats 123 tackles, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and three sacks.
Andrew Luck QB Stanford career stats 4,303 yards, 32 touchdowns to nine interceptions, 607 yards rushing and four touchdowns rushing.
Jake Locker QB Washington career stats 6,988 yards, 50 touchdowns to 37 interceptions, 1,806 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns rushing.
Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas career stats 6,559 yards, and 52 touchdowns to 19 interceptions.
Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State University career stats 139 tackles, 12 sacks and one interception returned for a touchdown.
Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa career stats 165 tackles, 18 sacks and one forced fumble.
Allen Bailey DE Miami 88 tackles and 18 sacks.
Bruce Carter OLB North Carolina 193 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions and two of the interceptions returned for a touchdown.
There's truly four players that the 49ers should look at in the first round and that is Mallett, Peterson, Clayborn, and Davis. The debate would be between drafting Peterson or Davis as the 49ers need help at the cornerback position, but also at outside linebacker position as well especially if Lawson is not resigned.
In my opinion the 49ers will take Peterson with their pick in the first round.
For the second round selection again it will be on the defensive side of the football with a defensive tackle, defensive end, or outside linebacker.
A look at the options in the second round:
Drake Nevis, LSU DT career 122 tackles, nine sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception.
Jerrell Powe, Mississippi DT career 52 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble and one interception.
Cameron Jordan, California DE career 139 tackles, 14 sacks and an interception.
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue DE career 185 tackles, 27 sacks, four fumbles forced and an interception.
Christian Ballard, Iowa DE career 124 tackles, nine sacks and a forced fumble.
Von Miller Texas A&M OLB career 134 tackles and 24 sacks.
Mark Herzlich Boston College OLB 270 tackles, three sacks, nine interceptions, five forced fumbles, and two of the interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
The pick for round two for the 49ers will come down to two players Herzlich and Kerrigan, with Herzlich being selected as he may not be used much for a pass rush but he is a tremendous play maker as the nine interceptions prove this and the five fumbles that were forced.
For the third round pick the 49ers should be looking at a defensive tackle,defensive end, or cornerback and those would be:
Kendrick Ellis DT Hampton Big 6'5 340 would take up a lot of space on the line. Played his first two years of college at South Carolina. Only question mark were his off field transgressions which forced him to transfer to Hampton.
Sione Fua DT Stanford career 71 tackles, seven sacks and one forced fumble.
Jarvis Jenkins DTClemson career 95 tackles and four sacks.
Sam AchoDE Texas career 109 tackles, 17 sacks and three fumbles forced.
Pernel McPhee DE careerMississippi State 80 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble.
Pierre Allen DE Nebraska career 145 tackles, 12 sacks and a forced fumble.
Shareece Wright CB Southern Cal career 89 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, and one sack.
Chris L. Rucker CB Michigan State career 159 tackles, five interceptions, four fumbles forced and two sacks.
Marcus Gilchrist CB Clemson 162 tackles, two fumbles forced, one interception and one sack.
This one is tough as most of them would be good picks even though two have question marks in their character. Rucker was suspended from Michigan State and Ellis transferred to Hampton because of his mistakes. Rucker would be an excellent pick though because for a corner he would be one of the taller corners in the league at 6'2. Ellis is an interesting choice because of his massive size.
Overall though because of the question marks in their character the 49ers go the safe route and select Acho out of Texas.
In the fourth round that's where it gets interesting the 49ers have two selections in the round. This is where the 49ers most likely would select an offensive player such as a wide receiver, quarterback, offensive tackle, fullback, or even a free safety. Here's a look at the likely selections in the fourth round:
Stanley Havili FB Southern Cal career 61 carries, 434 yards, three touchdowns, 84 receptions, 894 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Colin Kaepernick QB Nevada career 8,556 yards, 71 touchdowns to 21 interceptions, 3,575 yards rushing and 51 touchdowns rushing.
Austin Pettis WR Boise State career 183 receptions, 2,274 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Greg Little WR North Carolina career 86 receptions, 969 yards and six touchdowns, 805 yards rushing and six touchdowns rushing.
Terrence Toliver WR LSU career 110 receptions, 1,552 yards, and nine touchdowns.
Jermale Hines FS Ohio State 130 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks, and an interception returned for a touchdown.
James Carpenter OT Alabama at 6'5" 300 part of Alabama's strong running game.
The two selections in the fourth round will be Kapernick and Pettis.
In the fifth round it's back to defense for the 49ers this time looking at middle linebackers, outside linebackers cornerbacks, free or strong safety, and possibly a fullback.
Mike Mohamed MLB California career 283 tackles, seven interceptions, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions returned for a touchdown.
Casey Matthews MLB Oregon career 191 tackles, eight sacks and four interceptions.
Chykie Brown CB Texas 95 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and two fumbles forced.
Chris Carter OLB Fresno State 188 tackles, 16 sacks and two fumbles forced.
Tejay Johnson FS TCU six interceptions and one returned for a touchdown.
Nate Williams SS Washington 190 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception.
Owen Maercic FB Stanford 26 carries 52 yards and six touchdowns.
Selection for the fifth round Johnson from TCU he's a playmaker and defends the pass well. Had at least 83 tackles in the last year plus.
The sixth round selection for the 49ers could be any position.
Ricky Elmore DE Arizona career 109 tackles, 21 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception.
Brooks Reed DE Arizona career 81 tackles and 15 sacks.
Kenny Rowe OLB Oregon 81 tackles, 20 sacks and five forced fumbles
Quentin Davie OLB Northwestern 293 tackles, 15 sacks, five interceptions, five forced fumbles, and one interception returned for a touchdown.
Sixth round selection Davie who can tackle, work well in coverage, and can be used as a pass rusher as well.
Like the sixth round the 49ers could chose from any position.
James Dockery CB Oregon State career 77 tackles and five interceptions
Jason Teague CB TCU career 43 tackles, two interceptions, one fumble forced, and one interception returned for a touchdown.
Jock Sanders WR career West Virginia 176 receptions, 1,622 yards, 12 touchdowns, 582 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns.
Aldrick Robinson WR career Southern Methodist 152 receptions, 2,694 yards, and 24 touchdowns.
Selection Robinson as he would give the 49ers another option with his speed, could be used as a punt returner and as a kick returner. Averaged 17.7 yards per catch for his career.
For the 49ers here's how the draft could look like:
First Round: Patrick Peterson CB
Second Round: Mark Herzlich OLB
Third Round: Sam Acho DE
Fourth Round: Colin Kaepernick QB and Austin Pettis WR
Fifth Round: Tejay Johnson FS
Sixth Round: Quentin Davie OLB
Seventh Round: Aldrick Robinson WR
With these selections the 49ers will be able to improve on both sides of the ball.