The 49ers probably need a quarterback. The question is: Where do they take him? The answer to that, and more, comes from David Fucillo of Niners Nation:
1. Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton? Or neither?
At this point, I’m almost leaning towards a guy like Colin Kaepernick from Nevada. The problem with Gabbert and Newton is not that they aren’t talented, but rather the cost of that talent at the top of the draft. I’ve never been a Newton fan as I view him as the second coming of Vince Young and I was never sold on VY. My lack of interest in Gabbert isn’t so much about the spread because Kaepernick also runs a funky offense. However, Gabbert’s numbers did not wildly impress given his work in the spread. I just am not feeling it. The 49ers have various concerns they can address with that seventh overall pick, and this year’s quarterback class does not sufficiently excite me enough to spend that high of a pick.
2. If Patrick Peterson’s still on the board, he’s probably the guy. If he’s gone, is it all about improving the front seven?
Peterson would most likely be the pick if he’s on the board at seven. I suppose the 49ers might disagree and without specifics from coach Jim Harbaugh or general manager Trent Baalke, we don’t really know where he sits on the 49ers draft board. But for the sake of argument, let’s say he’s that guy. If he’s gone, the 49ers have several options available to them. I think the safest pick they could make would be Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara. There are questions as to whether he’s good enough for that pick, but Prince at least has the confidence (as seen by his Combine press conference) to be the No. 1 corner.
If it’s not Prince, the 49ers could grab a guy like Robert Quinn, or reach a bit for a defensive end (Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt). If Gabbert is still on the board, I actually think a trade would happen with that pick because it sounds like a team like Washington might be interested. While the 49ers do have specific needs, I also think they have the flexibility to move around. They’ve got 12 picks, more than anybody else in the draft, which puts them in a position to get creative.
3. Any under-the-radar positions of need?
There’s been a lot of talk amongst the fans about grabbing a running back as early as the third round. Frank Gore is the workhorse back, but it remains to be seen what Harbaugh thinks of Anthony Dixon. Gore is a punishing runner and had a slight fracture in his hip this past season. I think the 49ers very well could address running back in this draft.
The other really under-the-radar position would be kicker. Joe Nedney is getting up there and missed a sizable chunk of the season. I could see the 49ers snagging Nebraska’s Alex Henery or UCLA’s Kai Forbath late in the draft.
4. Is there a specific player you’re hoping they select in the first round?
I’d love to see the 49ers grab Patrick Peterson. A lot of people view PP as the No. 1 overall player on this draft board, which has me convinced he won’t be there at seven. If one of the current top six doesn’t grab him, what’s to stop another team from moving up to get the best corner in the draft? The 49ers need a lockdown corner and Peterson seems like he could be that guy. There’s obviously no guarantees but he’s a guy I would have no problem with rolling the dice on.
If Peterson isn’t there as I suspect, my quirky choice would be to move down and then select Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan. He’s an absolute monster and would be a great bookend to Justin Smith on the 49ers front line. That probably won’t be happening and I might just be biased as a Bay Area resident who enjoys Cal football. But a guy can wish!