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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 5, 2014
Crystal ball: seven-round stab at 49ers' draft

Ok, ok. The 49ers will not end the draft with the same amount of picks - 11 - with which they begin it. They will move up and down the draft board in a number of rounds, perhaps starting with the first. They'll turn a pick or two into additions selections next year. I understand that. But predicting when those myriad trades will occur is a fool's errand. Instead I'll whet your drafpetite with the types of players the team could select if it hung onto all of its picks.

You'll notice that this is a no-lineman draft. On the defensive line, the team's backups include Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Ian Williams, Demarcus Dobbs, Will Tukuafu and Lawrence Okoye. Offensive line depth isn't quite as vast, but it still includes Jonathan Martin, Adam Snyder, Joe Looney, Al Netter, Carter Bykowski and Luke Marquardt. That is, there doesn't seem to be room for additions at either spot.

1st; 30th overall: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
He's big, fast, tough and is an excellent leaper. Latimer could serve as the heir to either Michael Crabtree's or Anquan Boldin's starting role. Like A.J. Jenkins, he's an underclassman receiver from a Big 10 school (that starts with 'I'). Unlike Jenkins, Latimer's physique is NFL-ready, and at the bare-bones minimum he could serve as special teams coverage player during his rookie season.

2nd, 56th overall: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Desir is tall, long-limbed and physical, and he could be the press cornerback Trent Baalke has been looking for in recent years. If Desir is unavailable, there are a slew of others will similar physical skills - Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Keith McGill, Bashaud Breeland to name a few - who likely will be around in the second round.

2nd, 61st overall: Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville
Smith may not be as powerful as the two players, Aldon Smith and Corey Lemonier, Baalke has drafted at the position in the past. But he is very athletic and still is learning his position. Smith was brought to Louisville to play quarterback, which hints at his intelligence and leadership ability.

3rd, 77th overall: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
The 49ers could stand to add a short-yardage runner, and the 235-pound Hill fits the description. The 49ers had issues last season when fullback Bruce Miller was lost to injury. Hill has the size and attitude to be a lead blocker, and he has soft hands (18 catches for 181 yards in 2013) as well. He has character concerns that must be checked out.

3rd, 94th overall: Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
The 49ers seemingly would have no use for another receiver this year and someone like Ellington might have a hard time seeing the field. But this is The Year of the Receiver when it comes to the draft, and a wise team - especially one that has zero receivers signed long term - would be wise to stock up during times of abundance. Ellington is yet another basketball star turned receiver in this draft, and like Latimer, he has NFC West-caliber toughness. He also ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and was one of the top testers when it came to short-area speed. That is, he could be an excellent slot receiver.

3rd, 100th overall: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Baalke has drafted talented, but injured, players the last two seasons, and Colvin seems ripe for the plucking with the final pick in the third round. He suffered an ACL tear in January and rehabilitated alongside NaVorro Bowman in Florida. Like Bowman, he likely would be unavailable for the first half of the season. Still, the 49ers could be getting a first- or second-round talent at a bargain draft price.

4th , 129th overall:Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
There's been no link between the 49ers and Boyd, and the team may be more interested in San Jose State's David Fales or in Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, both of whom Jim Harbaugh has watched in person. The fourth round, however, seems like the spot to take a developmental quarterback. Boyd, meanwhile, has a lot of the same attributes as Colin Kaepernick - he was a respected leader in college, he has a strong arm, he can run and he often operated out of the pistol formation.

5th, 170th overall: Antone Exum, CB-S, Virginia Tech
Exum tore his ACL in January 2013, then after returning midway through the season, he suffered a bad ankle injury. That is, his final season was nearly a washout, and his draft stock likely will sink because of that. Still, he's a big-bodied defensive back - 213 pounds - who has played multiple positions. The 49ers could eye him as either a cornerback or safety. Or perhaps they'll split the difference and give him a look at slot cornerback.

7th, 242nd overall: Albert Wilson, WR, Georgia State
The 49ers could use a return man, especially if LaMichael James is not on the roster in September. Wilson handled both punt and kick returns and ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine. At 5-9, he's small for the position. But at 202 pounds, he has some heft.

7th, 243rd overall: Nic Jacobs, TE, McNeese State
Jacobs needs to learn technique and he must get stronger. But his 6-5, 270-pound frame - as well as his 34 1/8-inch arms - are hard to ignore. Jacobs began his college career at LSU before transferring prior to the 2013 season. He could be too raw to get on the field this year but may be a project worth exploring for new tight ends coach Eric Mangini.

7th, 245th overall: Vinnie Sunsieri, S, Alabama
This is typically the spot at which Baalke takes a flier on an overlooked cornerback. That certainly could be the team's inclination at the tail end of the draft. Sunsieri, however, is another value pick in that he, too, is coming off an ACL injury. He may be too stiff or slow to be a starting safety candidate, but he'd be a boon for a special teams coverage unit. That's something the 49ers must consider as C.J. Spillman, Bubba Ventrone, Kassim Osgood and Dan Skuta all are entering the final year of their respective contracts.

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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