NFL Draft 2011: San Francisco 49ers Select Multitude of Talent on Both Sides of the Ball

The 2011 NFL Draft is in the books and the San Francisco 49ers were active in trades to ensure the players they targeted came to San Francisco. Aldon Smith out of Missouri was their first round pick, and they traded up for quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second. For more on the team's draft and the team in general, go to Niners Nation.

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NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Select Curtis Holcomb, DB, Florida A&M 250th overall

With their last pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected defensive back Curtis Holcomb out of Florida A&M with the 250th overall selection. Holcomb is a player who has little to no information about him out in the ether of the internet, but from what I can find, he is a 5’10" 190 pound Junior who has 7 carrer interceptions in his 3 years at Florida A&M, although didn’t accumulate much playing time in his tenure with the university.

I think the Niners probably took Holcomb because the DB position needs lots of help for San Francisco, and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and General Manager Trent Baalke are almost taking a shot in the dark, hoping that something produces. Holcomb could maybe be a backup if he puts in the work, but could likely be a scout team guy who could make his way on a NFL squad via injury or trade.


NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Select Mike Person, OT, Montana State 239th Overall

The San Francisco 49ers used their second pick in the seventh round to take offensive tackle Mike Person out of Montana State 239th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. At 6’4 299 pounds Person is an average sized offensive lineman who definitely needs to put on some pounds, but is a durable guy who could become a nice addition to San Francisco’s o-line core with Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis.

Person shows the ability to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ when it comes to facing up with defenders, and shows a certain amount of tenacity when it comes to keeping defenders away from the quarterback. He needs to do some work with his technique, especially his hand placements, but that can always be tweaked once in the NFL.

Person’s work ethic, determination, and inherent mean streak can make him a late round gem, but it really is up to him as to how much work he puts into his craft. He likely will be a backup with the 49ers.


NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Select Bruce Miller, DE, University of Central Florida with the 211th Pick

The San Francisco 49ers continue their busy third day at the 2011 NFL Draft by selecting defensive end Bruce Miller with the 211th overall pick. The UCF Junior comes in at 6’1" 254 pounds, he is a bit undersized at the position and doesn’t exactly have an NFL ready frame right now, but that can be worked on with the Niners strength and conditioning crew. He is an intelligent, driven athlete though, and seems to be the type of guy the 49ers are looking for.

Miller does posses some good speed, and gets off the line very well with his initial burst. He’s an instinctive guy who likely will be a situational or backup type player as the 49ers took Aldon Smith at the same position. Miller can definitely bring some competition to the DE postion in the first round, and could earn a spot on the roster with his hard working attitude and drive to get better.

Coming from a similar system to San Francisco’s 3-4 system, Miller will have a good understanding out of the gate. Now the question will be if he can do the work to make it in the NFL.

Here's Miller's NFL Prospect Video via YouTube, I apologize in advance for the music that goes with the video:

2011 NFL Prospect Highlights: Bruce Miller (via UCFVideos)


NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Add USC Receiver Ronald Johnson In Sixth Round

The San Francisco 49ers continue to add to their offense on day three by making Ronald Johnson out of USC the 182nd pick in the draft, which is in the sixth round. Currently, the 49ers have a decent crop of wide receivers in Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan, and even better receiving targets in tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, but could stand to get some more speed on the unit. Johnson is a smaller, fast guy who often comes through in the clutch. The speed he brings will be instrumental for the 49ers and their west coast offense.

You don't always expect much in the sixth round of the draft, but Johnson could see the field early on just due to the fact that he brings a different dynamic to the offense that the other receivers don't. His biggest flaw is his lack of physicality though, and that's why he's a spot treatment kind of guy who probably isn't going to be in on every play. He'll get abused by the bigger, stronger cornerbacks in the NFL.

The 49ers have another pick coming up at 190 overall.


NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Trade Up, Select Daniel Kilgore In Fifth Round

The San Francisco 49ers have showed a willingness to trade and get the guys they want, be it Colin Kaepernick in the second in a huge move, or late in the fifth round when they jumped up to grab Daniel Kilgore, the center from Appalachian State. Currently, their center position is a question mark, with Eric Heitmann coming off an injury and David Baas (who played the position well, despite playing his NFL career as a guard) a free agent. Kilgore is a guy who can play all line positions, but projects best on the interior in the NFL.

Kilgore fits in line with the value at the pick, and can end up developing into a starter with good work ethic and solid coaching. It makes sense to assume the team can envision him as the center for the future, but if Chilo Rachal continues to struggle at the right guard spot, he could definitely make the move over there with time. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and is a solid pick.

The 49ers sent a 6th rounder (174th overall) and a 7th rounder (231st overall) to Green Bay to move up to 163.    


2011 NFL Draft Results: 49ers Select Running Back Kendall Hunter In Fourth Round

The 49ers addressed what they feel is a moderate need in the fourth round when they selected Kendall Hunter, the running back out of Oklahoma State. Hunter was a very productive running back in college, and with Frank Gore being injured often and Brian Westbrook not returning in 2011, he can get on the field immediately. The 49ers also may not know what they have with Anthony Dixon, who was drafted in the sixth round in 2010.

Hunter is considered a better talent than a fourth round selection, but he's only 5'7'', and that's probably the main caveat to his draft status. He's a shifty runner and is mostly a different change of pace to Gore and Dixon, something the 49ers haven't gotten for themselves in a quite some time, it seems. Gore is nearing that age where you need to start looking for a replacement, and Hunter has enough upside to be considered more than just a change-of-pace - he could be the future at the position.

Our own Big Cat Country put together a scouting report on the guy:

PROS: Has good bulk for his frame despite being short. Eludes defenders well in the open field and is very shifty. Tough to bring down due to his natural leverage advantage. Shows good vision rushing with the football. Helped himself out at the Senior Bowl by showing excellent technique and work in blocking drills. Patient runner that lets his blocks set up, and when utilized can make plays out of the backfield as a receiver.

CONS: Will get knocked for his lack of height and classified as "small". While very productive, doesn't break a lot of long runs and isn't really a homerun threat. Likely limited to being a third down back and change of pace guy at the next level. Doesn't offer much on the goal line. Despite setting up his blocks, he tends to dance too often and will need to work on getting upfield.


2011 NFL Draft: 49ers Trade Down for South Carolina Cornerback Chris Culliver

The San Francisco 49ers have selected cornerback Chris Culliver out of South Carolina with the 80th overall pick. The Niners traded their 76th overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 80th and 182nd pick (6th round) in this years draft. With the trade the Niners now have 3 sixth round picks, and including their 7th round pick, have 7 picks in a 76 pick span. That should prove to be a good time to try and stock up on some of the more under the radar talent.

Culliver can hopefully help the Niners shore up their secondary, but he also can add value to San Francisco in the special teams department, especially in the return game. at a shade over 6 feet tall and a hair under 200 pounds, Culliver is a guy that did not record a single interception for the South Carolina Gamecocks last season, but still managed 34 tackles and a forced fumble.

Interesting pick for the Niners, who opted not to seek a cornerback until much later than many expected, but hopefully they know what they are doing and see some good value in this kid.


2011 NFL Draft: San Francisco 49ers Select Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick

The San Francisco 49ers saw an opportunity to jump on, and traded up to do so, taking quarterback Colin Kaepernick from the University of Nevada, Reno with the 36th pick overall. Announced by Niners legend Dwight Clark, the 249th selection in the 1979 draft out of Clemson, the Niners gave the Denver Broncos their 4th and 5th round picks for Kaepernick, likely to keep him away from NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers saw Andy Dalton go to the Bengals and felt it was time to make the necessary move of picking up a great quarterback. As a former Nevada student myself, I am a bit biased here because I love how this kid plays the game. at 6’4" 220 pounds, Kaepernick (affectionately called Kap) is a beast, although he looks a bit skinny. He has top end speed for a QB and has the special ability to extend plays with his legs (a la Mike Vick). He is one of the only players in NCAA history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 2,000 yards in a season, and was a large reason why the Wolf Pack had a successful 2010 season, capped by beating #3 Boise State.

Kap was drafted by the Chicago Cubs as a pitcher, but luckily for the Niners decided to go the football route. I’ve seen this kid with my own eyes and he has a straight up cannon and is very accurate with the football. He’s from Turlock, CA and has Northern California roots, and in my opinion was a perfect fit for Jim Harbaugh and the offensive system he wants to run.

This is the most exciting pick to me since the 49ers drafted Michael Crabtree in 2009, and should be a serious contender for the starting position with the 49ers, even if they bring back Alex Smith.

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 6 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 29th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it – NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. Lastly, for more San Francisco 49ers coverage, check out our team blog Niners Nation.


NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Surprise Folks Drafting OLB Aldon Smith From Missouri

While most 49ers fans were expecting a Missouri football player at the seven pick, very few were expecting it to be outside linebacker Aldon Smith. Most folks figured Blaine Gabbert would end up being the pick, in spite of thoughts that he was a bad choice. Well, the 49ers did not in fact like Gabbert enough to take him at seven.

The 49ers do need an upgrade in the pass rushing department, so Aldon Smith is not a terribly shocking pick. At the same time, one has to wonder if the team could have moved back to get him. Of course, a team needs a partner to move back and it is possible nobody wanted to move back with the 49ers.

The folks at Mocking The Draft are intrigued by his pass rushing skills. Although he seems to lack a defined position, he’ll get a crack at rushing the passer from the OLB in the 49ers 3-4, and also probably the DE spot when they mix in some 4-3.

Here is there “Final Word” on Smith:

Final word: Smith was a sensation as a freshman, but was slowed as a sophomore due to fractured right leg. That caused him to miss the first three weeks of the 2010 season. On the year, he had 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Still, Smith is ready for the NFL. He’s so intriguing because few possess his ability to get after the passer. In the 4-3, Missouri used him on the inside and outside with good results. If he develops more power, he should be a terror as a 4-3 defensive end. If not, he might work better as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

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