The 2011 NFL Draft starts tonight at 5:00 p.m. pacific, and the San Francisco 49ers will be picking shortly after that, barring some kind of trade. Currently, they hold the seventh overall pick in the first round and stand a chance to land an elite talent in this draft. Day one includes the first round, day two (Friday) includes rounds two and three, while day three will house the latter rounds four, five, six and seven. There's still an air of uncertainty hanging over all of this in regards to the lockout and the non-CBA, but the draft will go on as planned and we can only hope that it will, you know, stick at this point.
San Francisco has a league-high twelve picks in the draft, including picks in each round, with multiples in rounds four, six and seven. They'll be looking to push themselves over the edge in the NFC West and take control over a division that has no clear favorite, in Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke in their first season as head coach and general manager, respectively. Their picks are below:
1. First round, No. 7 (7th overall)
2. Second round, No. 13 (45th overall)
3. Third round, No. 12 (76th overall)
4. Fourth round, No. 11 (108th overall)
5. Fourth round, No. 18 (115th overall)
6. Fifth round, No. 10 (141st overall)
7. Sixth round, No. 9 (174th overall)
8. Sixth round, No. 25 (190th overall)
9. Seventh round, No. 8 (210th overall)
10. Seventh round, No. 30 (230th overall)
11. Seventh round, No. 38 (238th overall, compensatory)
12. Seventh round, No. 49 (249th overall, compensatory)
They're in a position to fill most of their needs, or at least appear to at face value. Conventional wisdom leads one to believe that the seventh overall pick is early enough for the team to draft one of the top players at a position of need. Their significant needs are at the quarterback, cornerback and outside linebacker positions - and it stands to reason that one of those positions will feature an elite talent at seven.
There's talk that the 49ers might be interested in trading down if there's not one of the top guys there (essentially Von Miller, Patrick Peterson and Marcell Dareus) and maybe one of the quarterbacks being available. The consensus seems to be that the 49ers would rather trade back with a team like the Washington Redskins who would want one of those quarterbacks, which would give them ammunition to move back into the first round to get another player, like one of the quarterbacks they like, but don't want to draft at seven.
It will be interesting to see what happens, smart money is on the 49ers having a good draft, at least on the top end, but they can go so many ways. With Baalke and Harbaugh handling this draft, nobody knows just how it will go, or how they have evaluated the talent on the roster to this point. Maybe there's guys they don't like that we are missing? That's the fun in it!
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft