Across the Internet, 2011 NFL Mock Drafts are being posted at a dizzying rate. The folks at SB Nation have joined the fray and released their inaugural 2011 NFL Mock Draft. The draft shows the 49ers picking sixth and grabbing defensive tackle Nick Fairley of Auburn. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they traded away their first round pick in the deal that brought them defensive tackle Richard Seymour.
Mock drafts are always entertaining to read over but obviously must be taken with huge grains of salt. After all, the 49ers have begun playing a bit bater lately and could see their draft positioning take a beating (which is a good thing) in the coming weeks. Additionally, mock drafts are created by individuals and these individuals aren't always as knowledgeable about the 49ers as others might be. Nonetheless they're fun to at least discuss.
If the 49ers were in the position SB Nation's mock draft puts them in, Nick Fairley would be an intriguing pick, but one that I don't see as likely to happen. Fairley is a defensive tackle but FF Toolbox indicates he could potentially swing outside in a 3-4 defense, which is the 49ers defense of choice right now. The 49ers currently run with Isaac Sopoaga at defensive end opposite Justin Smith, with Aubrayo Franklin manning the nose tackle position.
The 49ers nose tackle position remains in flux as Aubrayo Franklin has become a year to year players under the franchise tag. Ricky Jean-Francois showed great skill at the position during training camp, which would seem to present a viable alternative to Franklin if the 49ers ever let him walk. Sopoaga has been solid at the defensive end position but the team is certainly looking to upgrade there at some point. So, it's certainly a possible selection, but I'm not exactly holding my breath.
The mock draft mentions the team might be looking for a QB or might go with wide receiver A.J. Green. At this point the 49ers find themselves in QB turmoil but might very well have an answer in Troy Smith. That's one reason a 49ers mock is up in the air because the 49ers are trying to figure out what they have in Troy Smith. I see them drafting a QB this year, but if Troy is looking respectable maybe they wait until the later rounds.
As for A.J. Green, the team sounds committed to Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan filling the top two receiver spots with Vernon Davis acting as an excellent receiver in his own right. While QB will remain a possibility for now, I don't see any other skill positions being selected at this point.