The guys over at Niners Nation every year do something that is a lot of fun. They surf the Internet for every mock draft they can find and make note of who the experts have the 49ers selecting. And we use the term "experts" lightly. Two of the picks in the latest roundup, USC safety Taylor Mays and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, aren't even in the draft. As expected, there is a wide range of opinions, but the three players getting the most votes are:
USC QB Mark Sanchez: 8 votes
Florida State OLB Everette Brown: 7 votes
Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin: 3 votes
(note: EXPN's Todd McShay recently "updated" his mock, changing his pick from Sanchez to Maclin)
I don't see Sanchez landing in San Francisco for several reasons, one is that the 49ers are still fond of another
Top 10 Top1 quarterback, Alex Smith. If Smith, as expected, returns to the 49ers, it's hard to see the 49ers going out on a limb for another junior QB.
Brown, meanwhile, is interesting because he looks like he'd be a nice fit at OLB in the 49ers' scheme. Everybody looks good on a highlight tape, but Brown's (see, below) is eye-popping (Now that's how you perform a spin move). He'll be one of the guys who receives a ton of attention later this month in Indianapolis. If teams think he's another DeMarcus Ware, he'll be gone by pick No. 10.
Maclin, meanwhile, would give the 49ers two excellent and fast young wideouts. (Josh Morgan being the other). The 49ers know that if they want to run the ball, they have to be able to make teams fear the deep pass, something they failed - miserably - to do in 2007. (See: Jackson, Darrell). Having someone with Maclin's speed also would open up the middle of the field for the tight end. Keep an eye on his 40-time in Indy.
One draft service that Niners Nation does not list is NFL Draft Scout, which is one of the very best out there. In his latest mock, NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang has Alabama OT Andre Smith falling to the 49ers at No. 10. The thinking is that Smith might not have the quick feet to be a left tackle but would be an ideal bruiser on the right side.
-- Matt Barrows