With the seventh pick of the 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft, the San Francisco 49ers (represented by who dat patate) select...
Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Last preseason, the 49ers looked to be in prime condition to make a return to their glory days of old. They looked great on paper with loads of young talent, a legend of a player as a coach, and all in all looked ready to take the title of the weak NFC West and make a considerable playoff run. Well, they didn't; the SeaChickens were division champs, and we all know how that sad story ends...
My point is not to bring up that heart-wrenching moment of the Saints recent history again, but to point out that the San Francisco 49ers unraveled at the seams quickly last year when they seemed to be a talented team, safely playoff bound. So what does that say of them this pre-season?
They still have quite a lot of talent, but the question marks and weaknesses are more obvious this time around. A lot more obvious. In fact, this team is so desperately seeking an identity that they could go in all sorts of directions this draft to address their laundry list of problems. The defense wasn't nearly as dominant as it was supposed to be, and the offense had the three-and-out down to perfection. When I watched San Francisco last year, they had moments where they really flashed and showed potential, but more often than not, I found myself remarking about how good their punter was, which is never a good sign for any football team (for the record Andy Lee is one helluva punter). This is a team in desperate need of a turn around.
The first and obvious question clouding Candlestick Park is the quarterback. Alex Smith has been given too many chances to prove himself, and I think he may miraculously be given one more. To give Smith some credit, his offensive line left him little room or time to work with, and hopefully the two offensive lineman drafted in the first round last year improve after their rookie baptisms by fire. While Ryan Mallet could strike Jim Harbaugh's fancy, I think he will look elsewhere for a quarterback. Although he has penchant for quarterbacks, a rookie coach walking into an organization with this many problems won't have the time or energy to also teach a rookie quarterback the ropes. Look for a possible trade to happen for Kevin Kolb. If not, unfortunately, I think the 49ers will, yet again, stick with Smith.
Secondly, their offense needs playmakers. Specifically, they need receivers. Michael Crabtree may be talented, but he is more often than not on the wrong page. Several of Smith's interceptions last year were the result of receiver and quarterback miscues; I blame Crabtree. At times, he seemed to be running around making cuts at random trying to get open like I used to do in the schoolyard. Harbaugh has stated that he is bringing the West Coast offense back to its roots, and a Bill Walsh devotee probably won't be letting anyone run routes like a drunk. Julio Jones would be an interesting pick to add to the much needed arsenal, but ultimately the 49ers won't go offensively.
Von Miller is too good of a pick to pass and will be a major asset to their team. Not only does Takeo Spikes' questionable return make a linebacker necessary, but the new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, normally employs a 3-4 defense that relies on hybrid joker linebackers (think Clay Matthews) that can pass rush explosively and run down backs before they make it to the line of scrimmage. Texas A&M's Von Miller is just that.
In the combine, he proved himself as the most explosive linebacker/defensive end in this draft class. He was in the top three of all defensive lineman and linebackers in the categories of broad jump, 3 cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and the 60-yard shuttle. That screams lower body strength. When he wasn't setting a few records, he shows smart decisions and good hands. Miller is a safe open field tackler who smells out plays quickly. He is quick to the ball, moves laterally with ease, and breaks up plays intelligently... I really can't say enough about this kid. Watch some tape, he looks to be the real deal.
Everyone seems to be knocking the former Aggie for his size. Granted, he probably will have some trouble shedding bigger blockers and could get stuck in traffic in the interior, but he has already started packing on the pounds. He weighed 246 lbs. at his Pro Day, and to be honest, as long as he can disrupt a play long enough by slowing down a player, Pro-Bowl Patrick Willis shouldn't be too long behind the play to come clean up. Give him a year or two to add bulk and learn under the four-year All-Pro Patrick Willis, and Von Miller will be one of the better outside linebackers in the league.
Miller is an athletic specimen and a half whose unique burst abilities often lead to turnovers that could give the 49er's struggling offense some easy field positioning. This team needs a lot of help to right itself, but there is no way they can pass up on this player. He will help mend their defense and give their stumbling offense a chance to compete until they figure out just what is wrong with this organization. I don't know, maybe, if possible, they should draft a new president to replace the 30 something year-old Jed York. If they can't pick a new head of the organization, than they will go with linebacker Von Miller.
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this years community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft Section.
|Pick||Team||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
|1||Carolina Panthers||QB Cam Newton - Auburn||DatFan||35%|
|2||Denver Broncos||DT Marcell Dareus - Alabama||Jeff.l.b||71%|
|3||Buffalo Bills||QB Blaine Gabbert - Missouri||SpreeGoogs||52%|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals||DE Da'Quan Bowers - Clemson||coldpizza||73%|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||CB Patrick Peterson - LSU||GRIZZ||61%|
|6||Cameron Jordan||DE Cameron Jordan - Cal||theprogrammerman||11%|
|7||Von Miller||LB Von Miller - Texas A&M||who dat patate|