The San Francisco 49ers had a big season in 2011 and used a strong showing from the NFL Draft to propel themselves to the NFC Championship Game. The team is as hungry as ever to get back to the playoffs and they will need yet another quality showing in April if they hope to duplicate their success. There are not too many question marks with the team as of now, but there is always room to improve.
Most mock drafts have the 49ers taking a wide receiver to bolster the passing game or a cornerback to improve the secondary, but the latest update from SB Nation has them going with a player similar to Aldon Smith.
30. San Francisco 49ers, Nick Perry, OLB, USC
Everything about this pick says it should be a cornerback or an offensive lineman. The 49ers need both, but they could also find help on the free agent market. The Giants reminded the 49ers that you can never have enough pass rushers. That will be especially true if they lose Ahmad Brooks in free agency this year. Perry would probably not be ready for a three-down role, which would still leave the 49ers with questions to answer.
This seems like a questionable pick to me, but I guess there is always a need for capable front-seven players. With players like Smith and Patrick Willis already in place, Perry would have plenty of time to develop, but the 49ers seem like a franchise set on winning right now.
There is the chance the 49ers are willing to let go of OLB Ahmad Brooks, but that would require San Francisco to take a considerable risk handing the job over to a rookie. And with their system already in place, it may take some time for Perry to pick it up. Does Jim Harbaugh and Co. feel like taking a big risk at linebacker after such a strong season in 2011?
For more on the 49ers and their draft plans, head on over to Niners Nation.