San Francisco 49ers: A Different Draft Strategy

The San Francisco 49ers are a team that has the luxury of having a stacked roster and an abundance of draft picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. This is similar to last year when they packaged picks to move up and grab some players that they targeted. Another thing that the San Francisco 49ers did was utilize a different draft strategy that I can the draft and stash strategy. This involves using a few extra picks to select players that where considered to be first round talent prior to their injury. Those players, Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore are set to have an impact this year after sitting out all of the 2013 season. There are some players that the 49ers can do the same with in this draft. Here are four options that would be ideal draft and stash players:

1. Aaron Colvin Cornerback Oklahoma

Colvin enjoyed a successful 2013 season. He is an in your face corner that excels in press coverage. His long arms allow him to undercut the ball well. The 49ers like intelligent football players and Colvin has a high football IQ. He is also a very passionate player. He spent a season playing safety before switching back to corner so his versatility is another thing that is attractive. I watched Colvin at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. Some actually said that before his injury, he was the best corner there. Many had a second round grade on Colvin before he tore his ACL during one of the Senior Bowl practices. Colvin is set to sprint at a workout on April 23rd which is remarkable considering that the injury was a mere three months ago. He has said that he expects to play next season, however it may benefit him best if he can take more time to rehab the knee. Either way, he provides a great value pick at some point in this draft. Colvin is well aware of how the 49ers executed the draft and stash strategy with Lattimore. He feels that despite his injury, he’s a first round draft pick. “That’s a great move by the 49ers to just give a guy like Marcus Lattimore a chance,” Colvin said. “Any team that does that, it’s a blessing for the player. It gives me great confidence as well that they’ll do that for. Whatever happens, happens but regardless when I come back, I’ll be ready. I felt I was a first-round corner before the injury and I still feel I’m a first-round corner.””

2. Dominique Easley Defensive Lineman Florida

Easley is a top notch prospect at defensive tackle. He suffered a torn ACL in 2010 and came back the following year. He’s a versatile player that can play defensive end and tackle. Easley is known for his explosiveness off the ball and was a disruptive force against some pretty good competition in the SEC. At 290 pounds, he could step in if the 49ers decided to move on from another former Florida Gator, Ray McDonald in 2015. Easley is the ideal draft and stash player because he was considered to be a borderline first round but sure fire second round selection before he suffered his most recent ACL in 2013. Easley says that any doubts about his health should be minimized because of his previous experience with getting over the same inury. “I tore my ACL in 2011, and I got faster in 2013,” he said. “So when I get back from this ACL, it’s going to make me nothing but faster… it’s a blessing for me because I know what I went through, how much I improved after the first ACL.”

3. Dexter McDougle Cornerback Maryland

McDougle is a cornerback that many people aren’t really talking about. Prior to his injury, he was one of those corners that can move inside to cover the slot receiver and bring it on a blitz from the nickel spot. He had his pro day on Tuesday and that was his first time back in action since September when he had a season ending injury against Connecticut. McDougle showed that his explosiveness is back by posting 37-inch vertical and a long jump of 10-feet, two inches. He also ran an unofficial 40-yard dash time of between 4.43 and 4.48. McDougle has been working out in Boca Raton with trainer Tony Villani who has also been working with 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin. He trained to get back in gear before his pro day which was a culmination of his hard work. “I’ve been looking forward to this day, I finally get to show the scouts that I’m finally moving again, show them a little of what I can do at my position, to show them I haven’t lost a step. Today was definitely a big day.” McDougle had three interceptions in three games before his injury. One of this interceptions was returned for a touchdown. This is a player that is a perfect match for what the 49ers need to do on defense. They are thin at the nickel spot and McDougle could fill that void next season.

4. Brandon Thomas Offensive Lineman Clemson

Thomas was considered to be a player that worked his way up into the second round. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL while working out for the New Orleans Saints. Thomas was looked upon as a late riser and got a lot of recognition for his matchup against Jadaveon Clowney. Thomas can play both guard and tackle so here again lies the versatility advantage. He had a very strong showing at the Senior Bowl as well. At 6-3 317 pounds with long arms, Thomas has protypical size for an interior linemen. His ideal spot would be at guard despite his playing mostly at left tackle. That is a key factor in his value because Mike Iupati is one of four big time contracts that will be coming up for the 49ers. There is a chance that the Colin Kaepernick contract will force the team to not be able to invest a large amount of money in a guard. Insert Thomas who before injury was one of the top rated interior lineman.

These are four players that could be selected this year yet not have an impact until 2015. All are possibilities for the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and would not count against the 53 man roster. The 49ers did this same thing last year and with the extra picks once again wouldn’t be opposed to utilizing the draft and stash strategy a second time.