NFL Mock Draft 2011: 49ers New Offense Changes Everything

The San Francisco 49ers have a lot going on right now with their coaching staff. They've only retained a handful of positional coaches, and sport new faces at both coordinator positions and a new guy controlling them both in Jim Harbaugh. Had things stayed the same for them and Mike Singletary was still in town, folks would be approaching the draft almost entirely differently than they are now. Singletary wanted the 49ers to be a power running team, and they had a guy in Frank Gore to execute that kind of attack. The draft would be approached in such a way as to strengthen the team around him.

Now though, now there are questions at almost every position on the team. Frank Gore is still the centerpiece of the offense, but he will be utilized a little bit differently. Coming into the offseason, people assumed that Anthony Dixon was a guy the 49ers liked and could groom coming out of the sixth round and playing well - maybe that's not the case now with the change to the west coast offense. They might go for someone more protypically set up for the job.

Many questioned Michael Crabtree's ability to be a number one receiver after disappointing in Jimmy Raye's offense, but that might be different under Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh. He's jut the type of wide receiver who can shine in the West Coast Offense, and if the team gets a new quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft, he could be more than just good. That's just one of many positions that will need to be evaluated differently now.

Fullback is another one to be critical of. Moran Norris gets his share of flack, but there are worse players than him to have blocking in front of Frank Gore. He could conceivably have been a player the 49ers use moving forward, but that's changed now that they are going to the WCO. How far up their list has a fullback gone now? Is our mystery new player someone they grab in free agency, or someone they aggressively pursue early in the draft?

Not everything is changing that drastically, Frank Gore will still run and run hard. Harbaugh had a very strong rushing attack at Stanford, and utilized the tight ends a lot in the passing game, and those two things are set in stone in San Francisco, but his hiring changes everything about the way the 49ers will approach this offseason and the 2011 NFL Draft.

Mocking this is more dizzying than having a battle of wits against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

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