I've written it before and I'll write it again: The Internet is full of two things - pornography and mock drafts. Every offseason, the guys at Niners Nation scour the Web for the latter (and we suspect the former, but we can't prove that) and then compile a list of presumed 49ers selections. We're still three months away, but as of now most draft gurus seem to think the 49ers will take a quarterback with pick no. 7, and that that quarterback will be Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.
Indeed, most of the scouts, gurus, etc. I spoke with at last week's Senior Bowl thought that Gabbert would be the first quarterback taken. Gabbert is an underclassman and thus wasn't at the Senior Bowl. We'll learn a lot more about him at the combine later this month.
The next most frequent pick for the 49ers was a cornerback. LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara each got five votes. Cornerback is a natural choice because A.) The 49ers pass defense has been porous in recent years, B.) The team's top corner, Nate Clements, is in line for a huge $15 million contract in 2011 and C.) Finding cornerbacks on the free-agent market is difficult and expensive (See: Clements).
Still, Matt Maiocco reported last month that the 49ers will attempt to renegotiate a contract with Clements before the league year ends on March 3. Peterson, meanwhile, was in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl and met with the 49ers as well as other teams. However, he did not take part in practices or the game.
The third-most popular mock position was DE/OLB with UNC's Robert Quinn getting the most votes. Quinn missed the entire 2010 because of NCAA violations at UNC, and because of that is a bit of a mystery. Scouts are very eager to see how Quinn looks at the combine. What I found interesting is that none of the mock drafts had Texas A&M's Von Miller going to the 49ers. Miller, the nation's sack leader in 2009, seems to hit every criterion for the 49ers. He's a senior, has never been in trouble, can make plays all over the field and, best of all, is adept at rushing the passer.
-- Matt Barrows