It’s now 20 hours before the draft. No more stalling. Time to face the music. Here are the 10 players I predict the 49ers will snag in tomorrow’s draft.
Before I begin, a little prefacing. I think that with 10 picks, the 49ers will try to trade up at least once. They feel there are 20 true first-round picks in the draft, and if they feel they will not get one of their remaining “first rounders” with the No. 42 pick, they’ll try to move up to get him.
Also before I begin, a little plugging. I’ll be blogging after every selection tomorrow - commenting on the selections and relaying Mike Nolan’s thoughts. There is also talk that the 49ers’ position coaches will show us video clips of each draft selection, so I’ll forward any observations from those sessions. In other words, I’ll be crippled by carpal tunnel by Sunday afternoon.
So without further ado, the 49ers 2007 draft class: (error margin +/- 100 percent)
No. 11. Adam Carriker, defensive end, Nebraska. The 49ers also would be happy with linebacker Patrick Willis, but another team sneaks ahead of them to grab the Ole Miss product. Carriker isn’t flashy. But he’s strong, durable and trouble free, and he ought to free up playmakers like Manny Lawson and Tully Banta Cain for years to come.
No. 42. Jason Hill, wide receiver, Washington State. The 49ers need a receiver and this San Francisco product is the best of those still on the board. Hill has great hands and showed better-than-expected speed in the months leading up to the draft.
No. 76. Mansfield Wrotto, guard, Georgia Tech. Wrotto’s backside can block out the sun and that’s just the type of guy Nolan wants on the interior of his offensive line. Wrotto started at Georgia Tech as a defensive lineman and still is learning how to play offensive line. Seems like an ideal replacement for Larry Allen, who is entering the final year of his contract.
No. 97. Kenneth Darby, running back, Alabama. The 49ers want to give Frank Gore more rest this season and Darby certainly could handle part of the load. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore and junior before before struggling - along with the rest of the ‘Bama offense - last season. A very capable back who’s also good at catching the ball out of the backfield.
No.104. Paul Soliai, nose tackle, Utah. One of only three true nose tackles in the draft, Soliai will be the only one remaining at this point in the draft. The 49ers need depth at this position if they are to run a 3-4 this season.
No. 110. Brian Robison, linebacker, Texas. Robison played defensive end for the Longhorns, but is athletic enough to play outside linebacker in San Francisco. At the very least, he’ll be a standout special teams player.
No. 124. Courtney Brown, cornerback, Cal Poly. Just the type of big defensive back - 6-1, 205 lbs. - Nolan likes.
No. 135. Justin Durant, linebacker, Hampton. A poor man’s Patrick Willis. The 49ers target small-school products on the second day.
No. 147. Jermon Bushrod, offensive tackle, Towson. A massive offensive lineman who shows good quickness for his size.
No. 186. James Jones, wide receiver, San Jose State. Really came on as a senior. Just the type of strong, physical wideout the 49ers like.
- Matt Barrows.