With the 2011 NFL Draft right around the corner, mock drafts and big boards continue to shuffle and mutate down to the last minute before the teams start making picks. The San Francisco 49ers are no different as the look to improve their team the only way possible without free agency, by making the correct selections in the draft. ESPN's Todd McShay has come up with what he deems as his 'scenario-based mock draft' where for each team at each pick he creates three possible scenarios that could play out on draft day. Here's a look at his breakdown of the 49ers with the 7th overall pick:
Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Scenario 1: With Miller and the top two quarterbacks off the board, Peterson is a no-brainer for a team that finished 24th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (231).
McShay is going with Peterson with his first option, a very good choice. Some have likened him to Deion Sanders with his unique blend of size and speed, plus the Niners won a Super Bowl with that guy, always a plus. Really can't go wrong with picking Peterson here.
Scenario 2: Quinn would fit as an outside linebacker who can help beef up the 49ers' pass rush in their 3-4 scheme.
Now McShay is bringing in DE Robert Quinn out of North Carolina into the mix instead of Peterson. This is also a viable option for the Niners to choose as Quinn is also an elite talent in this year's draft. Personally, I'd rather see us pick up Peterson than Quinn on the simple fact that the 49ers secondary really needs help, but the addition of Quinn would help in both pass coverage and in the pressuring the quarterback.
Scenario 3: If Peterson is off the board and San Francisco isn't high on any available pass-rusher, Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara would offer help for the pass defense.
McShay's third option here sounds almost like an emergency plan to me. Prince Amukamara is another highly skilled CB that may not have the same physical attributes as Peterson, but will definitely become a shut-down corner in this league in my opinion. The Niners would be smart to pick him up here if Peterson is not available.
One option that McShay does not explore is the possibility of the Niners trading up or down with the 7th pick, an idea that GM Trent Baalke told the San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami yesterday is a definite possibility. The permutations of possible outcomes are outrageously enormous as all of the speculation will have to wait for draft day. But on thing is for sure, with the lockout in full effect and no free agency going on, this has to be one of the most scrutinized draft classes of all time in the NFL, hopefully the Niners don't over-analyze the situation.