SB Nation has released its latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft and it's expanded the draft to include two rounds instead of its normal one. SB Nation projects the 49ers to select Texas A&M OLB Von Miller with their first-round pick and Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling with their second-round pick.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M. Pass rusher isn’t necessarily San Francisco’s biggest need, but Miller is a difference-maker and a leader; Jim Harbaugh would love him.
The first rounder is a change from the last three weeks in which SB Nation projected Prince Amukamara to the 49ers. The big difference-maker this week was the movement of Cam Newton into the top six picks. Previously Newton was not included in the first round (not sure why), but this week Brian Galliford projects him to the Arizona Cardinals who have plenty of QB issues.
While outside linebacker likely isn’t the 49ers No. 1 need at this point, Von Miller would likely qualify as best player available at the seven slot. The 49ers have a huge need for a quarterback, but this year’s class of QBs is fairly weak at the top. In fact, the 49ers might be hoping more QBs go ahead of them to drop some talent to the seven pick. One such QB would be Blaine Gabbert. While Gabbert is currently projected to the Vikings twelfth overall, a strong Combine and Pro Day workout could move him into the top six picks.
The 49ers second round selection of Ras-I Dowling would give them a guy who could compete for a starting defensive back spot in a secondary that has some serious question marks. Nate Clements may or may not be back in 2011 depending on whether he takes a pay cut, Shawntae Spencer has been a bit inconsistent year-to-year, and Tarell Brown continues to work to move beyond the nickel back role. Dowling would be a guy who could come right in and compete for playing time.