By Chris Ross @DraftScout_NFL on March 26, 2014
Since Jim Harbaugh took over the San Francisco 49ers prior to the 2011 NFL season, the team has thrived, mainly due to superior drafting skills. That said, the 2014 NFL Draft is even more important because of the challenges within the division, and it's crucial to the 49ers' success that the team nails this draft.
Ladies and gentlemen, a full seven round, post free agency 49ers mock draft.
The 49ers currently have two fantastic possession receivers in Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, but what they lack is truly elite speed at the position. Brandin Cooks has exactly the type of speed the team needs, and he could take the 49ers' offense to another level.
The division rival Seattle Seahawks have formed a feared secondary by using oversized corners, and perhaps the 49ers will follow suit with the selection of Pierre Desir. Desir, who stand at 6-foot-1, has great size, speed and coverage ability, and could fill a hole in the San Francisco secondary.
Daniel Kilgore certainly isn't the answer at the center position, however, with Travis Swanson available here, the 49ers would be foolish not to make the selection. Swanson is the best center in the draft, and is as pro-ready as they come.
Although the 49ers selected Deir just one round earlier in this mock, the fact is, even with Desir, the 49ers still have some question marks in the secondary. E.J. Gaines isn't exactly the most pro-ready player, however, he has the potential to shine in a few years.
Ahmad Brooks isn't getting any younger, and at age 30, it's time the 49ers started looking for his replacement. Although Adrian Hubbard didn't quite live up to expectations while playing for Alabama, there's no denying his potential.
Although the 49ers lost safety Donte Whitner to the Cleveland Browns in free agency, the team was able to go out and bring in former Indianapolis Colts' safety Antoine Bethea. That said, Ahmad Dixon is a guy who can sit and learn, all while providing solid depth until his time comes.
Frank Gore is another year older, and while the 49ers have a slew of young backs, none of them quite have the talent that Tyler Gaffney possesses. Gaffney could learn behind Gore for a few years, and when it's time for him to take over, take the league by storm.
Glenn Dorsey is coming off a surprisingly effective season, however, for a guy that is more well-known for how badly he busted out of Kansas City than he is for his production last season, the 49ers would be wise to proceed with caution when it comes to him. That's why, with their fifth round pick, the 49ers should select Justin Ellis. Ellis has the skills to become a very effective nose tackle, and could make the 49ers' defense even more stout.
Perhaps the one team in the NFL that can afford to take developmental prospects regularly, the 49ers would be ecstatic to see Logan Thomas available with this pick. Although the team has Colin Kaepernick firmly entrenched as the starter, with some season, Thomas could become very valuable trade bait to a quarterback-needy team.
There's no doubt, the 49ers are set at the inside linebacker position with Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis. That said, the depth behind those two is suspect, and as we saw during the playoffs with Bowman's gruesome leg injury, depth would be very beneficial to San Francisco's defense.
Another developmental pick, L'Damian Washington has all the talent in the world. However, Washington still has a long ways to go before his is ready to produce much of anything at the NFL level. That said, in San Francisco, Washington wouldn't have to play immediately, and would be able to develop smoothly by learning behind some of the more experienced guys on the roster.
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