|San Francisco 49ers 2011 NFL Draft Review|
|By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor|
1 - Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri (6-4, 263);
2 - Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada (6-5, 233);
3 - Chris Culliver, CB, South Carolina (6-0, 199);
4 - Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State (5-7, 199);
5 - Daniel Kilgore, OG, Appalachian State (6-3, 308);
6 - Ronald Johnson, WR, USC (5-11, 199);
6 - Colin Jones, S, TCU (5-11, 201);
7 - Bruce Miller, OLB, Central Florida (6-1, 254);
7 - Michael Person, OT, Montana State (6-5, 299);
7 - Curtis Holcomb, CB, Florida A&M (5-10, 192)
Top Pick Analysis: After preferred target Patrick Peterson failed to fall to the No. 7 overall pick, the 49ers pulled off a mild surprise by taking the raw but gifted Smith at that spot. A draft-eligible sophomore who played defensive end at Missouri, he possesses tantalizing pass-rush skills and an ideal build for a 3-4 linebacker, though scouts have questioned whether he can be can effective in space and his college experience was limited. San Francisco also made a splash in the second round, trading up nine spots to snare Kaepernick and give new head coach Jim Harbaugh a quarterback to mold. The two-time WAC Player of the Year's athletic gifts rival that of No. 1 overall choice Cam Newton and gets high marks for his leadership abilities as well, and finds himself in a good landing spot playing for a coach with a track record of developing signal-callers. Culliver has intriguing size and was one of the fastest defensive backs at the combine, but had more success as a safety at South Carolina than the cornerback position the Niners envision him playing.
Best Value Pick: Hunter is an elusive open-field runner and good receiver who could find a niche in the offense as a third-down specialist.
We Question Why: The 49ers would take a chance on Smith, a player who could struggle making the transition to linebacker and was slowed by injuries during his brief college career, with several safer and sensible alternatives at No. 7. It may have been the riskiest move of the entire first round.
Summary: Acquiring Kaepernick, who's every bit the prospect as several other quarterbacks who went much earlier in the draft, helps take the sting out of a class with a number of curious selections, highlighted by that of Smith. There isn't a player out of this group that you can say for certain will be a dependable starter at the next level.
FINAL GRADE: C+