As we move further into March and Pro Days get busier and busier, 2011 NFL Mock Drafts will be coming along more frequently. Today noted ESPN analyst Mel Kiper released the third version of his 2011 NFL Mock Draft. Kiper has his hits and misses year in and year out but is generally considered the godfather of draft analysis. That doesn’t make him any more correct than the crazy person I see near the Powell Street cable car turnaround, but he certainly does his homework (Mel, not the homeless guy).
In his latest mock draft, Kiper has the 49ers selecting Patrick Peterson. Mel has Peterson as the number one player on his big board, which would seem to raise questions as to why he’d fall to the seventh pick. Well, Mel explains:
There were a lot of comments questioning why I could see my No. 1 overall Big Board player dropping this far on draft day. But consider the history: in 1987, I had Rod Woodson rated similarly, and he fell to No. 10 overall. In 1989, Deion Sanders was far and away the best athlete on the board — he fell to No. 5. Champ Bailey was my best athlete and the top corner available in the 1999 draft, and he fell to No. 7. At this position, it simply happens and San Francisco should be happy if it does. Peterson is an immense talent. He checked in at 219 pounds and ran a 4.34 40-time in Indy. Enough said.
That does make sense. Teams at the top of the draft seem hesitant to invest a top three or four pick in cornerbacks, even though a great one can shut down a huge chunk of the field. Most 49ers fans would be ecstatic to see Peterson there at number seven. I think he goes before then, but if Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton go in the top six as Mel projects, a quality player will end up in the 49ers lap.