I pored over every NFL mock draft I could find, and I learned something. There are a ridiculous amount of mock drafts out there. So for the purposes of checking who people think the San Francisco 49ers are going to take with pick No. 30, I limited my findings to mocks that were updated since Saturday (April 7), along with a few of the more notable ones (read: ESPN, SB Nation, SI, National Football Post, and 49ers Web Zone) that haven’t been updated quite as recently.
I checked out 58 Mock Drafts in total, not including a Bleacher Report mock draft where the guy graded each team’s choice — choices the B/R writer predicted. I’m at a loss, too.
Like before, Coby Fleener is the mockers’ top choice. But Stephen Hill is gaining ground. Here are the drafts I found that had both players going to the 49ers, along with a description if applicable.
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (16 out of 56 Mocks)
Fanspeak (Steve Shoup): The 49ers don’t have a lot of weaknesses, but they could look to bring in a former Stanford player of Coach Harbaugh. While TE isn’t a huge, the 49ers could look to create some mismatches with this pick. With the signing of Randy Moss I believe now more than ever that Fleener could be the pick here.
NFL Draft Geek: In all honesty, I don’t fully understand this pick, and to me, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it really seems to be the likely selection here. Coby Fleener is an overrated prospect in our opinion. He isn’t as athletic as people think, and he doesn’t have the ability to make an impact like Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham. He’s definitely a solid player, but more of a Owen Daniels, Brent Celek type, not worth a 1st round selection in our opinion. San Francisco already has a great Tight End in Vernon Davis anyway, so I think they could find a better use for this pick. However, I know that Fleener is very highly thought of, really impressing people with his Pro-Day workout, and the Harbaugh connection makes sense. Also, San Fran doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses, so taking a luxury pick in Fleener, is not the worst thing in the world.
Pro Draft Guide: The 49ers need to surround Alex Smith with more weapons in the passing game. They brought back Ted Ginn and signed free agents Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. Fleener was coached by Jim Harbaugh at Stanford from 2008-2010.
Draft Debacled (rbsmith): The 9ers don’t have any glaring weaknesses after free agency so they’re in a position to take the best player available or a luxury pick like Fleener.
NE Patriots Draft: Forget the Harbaugh connection. Teams with two talented tight ends are becoming en vogue in the NFL – Fleener and Vernon Davis would be quite the duo. Fellow tight end Dwayne Allen could also be the pick here, as well as a multitude of talented defensive backs and wide receivers.
Draft Debacled (BucNasty46): I originally had Doug Martin here, but after the signing of Brandon Jacobs, that pick just didn’t make sense. Instead, I’m going to stick with conventional wisdom and go with Coby Fleener. With Stephen Hill gone, I’m being told that there’s no way Coby Fleener gets past the Niners. I won’t argue.
Real Sports Hype: The 49ers don’t have many needs, and I can see them selecting Coby Fleener here. Jim Harbaugh loved using multiple tight ends at Stanford, and would love to draft the top tight end in the draft whom he coached.
Those Football Guys: San Francisco has made their intentions clear. They will surround Alex Smith with as much talent as possible and hope he can get the job done for them and win the city a Super Bowl. I’d really like to mock an offensive tackle here, but the top talents at that position are already off the board. While the 49ers already have Vernon Davis, Fleener gives them the greatest value here and allows coach Jim Harbaugh to bring in a player who was able to study under him. Harbaugh will know how to best utilize Fleener over anyone and could now package him and Davis together to mirror what the Patriots have done with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. If for whatever reason Mike Adams can fall this far, San Fran could get a right tackle to help better protect Smith. You can see my thoughts on how fortunate Alex Smith has been this offseason in the article I wrote here.
Walter Football: Umm… did I forget about Vernon Davis? No. Jim Harbaugh loves utilizing multiple tight ends in his offense. If you don’t think this can work, let me refer you to the Patriots. I’d say Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez complement each other rather well.
Harbaugh needs to acquire an offensive playmaker for Alex Smith even after the Mario Manningham signing, and Coby Fleener happens to be the best one available, especially after his brilliant Pro Day. Whereas this may have been considered a slight reach a few weeks ago, I think we can now agree that this is somewhat of a steal for San Francisco. Fleener could go as high as the late teens because of his Gronkowski-level upside.
Sports Illustrated (Banks): Just playing a bit of a hunch here, but why not give Jim Harbaugh his old Cardinal tight end? With Vernon Davis and Fleener, San Francisco could be fully engaged in the NFL’s two-tight end craze, and Alex Smith’s receiving weapons will have gotten a major upgrade this offseason.
National Football Post: The 49ers need to add talent to the passing game, but if there isn’t a receiver on the board worthy of the pick, don’t be shocked to see them look at Fleener. Head coach Jim Harbaugh loves to run multiple tight end packages and Fleener has the ability to create a ton of mismatches in the pass game on all levels of the field.
Draft Calc: No comment.
New NFL Draft (Santos): No comment.
Better Than The Experts: No comment.
NBA Draft Guru: No comment.
Guy’s NFL Draft Locker Room: No comment.
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech (9 out of 56 Mocks)
Mocking the Draft (SB Nation): David Fucillo explains: The San Francisco 49ers have put themselves in a position where they can with the long-term future in mind, as opposed to getting immediate big production. The 49ers added Mario Manninghamand Randy Moss this offseason, but even if they both play well this year, the only receiver signed beyond 2013 is Michael Crabtree. Stephen Hill is a very raw prospect, but the 49ers are in a position where they can develop him without rushing him. At the same time, his performance at the Combine and his YAC this past season show a guy who can make significant contributions at the next level. The 49ers are looking for Moss to stretch the field, but if the veteran receiver shows his age, Hill could be the guy who can stretch things out. Other possibilities at this spot include Coby Fleener, offensive line help, or trading down.
Dan Kadar responds: If this were the pick for the 49ers, it would be wide receiver overload and the big losers are Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams. But regardless, I still like the pick. I wouldn’t if Manningham and Moss weren’t added. Hill needs to go to a team where he can be eased into the offense while he learns a full route tree. With Manningham and Moss there, Hill could be used in a similar fashion to how the Ravens used Torrey Smith. Guard Kevin Zeitler would have been the ideal choice for San Francisco, but he went one pick before this one.
Walter Football (Charlie Campbell): One of the 49ers’ few needs is at wide receiver. They can take their time and develop Hill. They took a similar superb athlete last year in Aldon Smith. Hill can learn behind Randy Moss for a season and eventually replace the future Hall of Famer.
In the weeks leading up to the Combine, I started off my paragraphs on Hill by writing this: “[he] has big-time potential, and could develop into a steal. After Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas, Hill is the latest in a line of Yellow Jackets receivers who are big, fast playmakers who were underutilized at Georgia Tech.”
Then the Scouting Combine happened, and now, Hill is a sensation after being a workout warrior in Indianapolis. He blazed a 40-yard dash time of 4.36 with a staggering time of 1.20 in the first 10 yards. Hill’s vertical jump and broad jump were excellent as well. He used the Combine to skyrocket his draft stock.
Going back to his game performance, the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder made big catches downfield, averaging 29.3 yards per catch in 2011. The Yellow Jackets’ offense didn’t throw the ball often, but when it did, Hill was typically wide open as defenses were so focused on stopping the option running attack that he would burn right by the soft coverage. Hill caught 28 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns this season. In 2010, as a sophomore, he had 15 receptions for 291 yards with three scores.
Draft Debacled (jellis121): Best case you get two years out of Moss. Manningham should continue the UM tradition of producing 3rd recievers. They need a long term player with upside. Hill is raw, he played in a system that did not use him. SF could afford to take the risk on his size and speed combo, and hope that by next year he is ready to start.
Football Fan Spot (Should): Hill fits much better here. Neither Mario Manningham nor Michael Crabtree are #1 receivers in my book, though Crabtree can pass as one. Meanwhile, Randy Moss doesn’t have much left in the tank, iuf he has anything. Hill can be their #1 receiver of the future and, at worst, he could be a nice 3rd receiver after Moss is done.
49ers Web Zone (Not April Fool’s — I think): The 49ers seem to love guys that they believe have the upside to be superstars. Hill never had a chance to shine numbers-wise in Georgia Tech’s run-heavy, triple-option system, but his raw talent displayed and off-the-charts measurables would make it really hard to see Trent Baalke passing on a player like Hill.
ESPN (Mel Kiper): Hill is the biggest home run threat in the draft when you combine his speed and size, and it’s no secret the 49ers need some help at wide receiver, even with the additions of Randy Moss andMario Manningham. He’ll need an adjustment period as he gets used to doing more in terms of scheme than he was asked at Georgia Tech, but he’s the kind of weapon this offense needs to expand.
ESPN (Todd McShay): Hill is as raw as they come for a prospect from a BCS conference, but his size (6-4, 215) and big-play ability (29.3-yard average on 28 receptions) make him hard to ignore, especially after he turned in one of the most impressive combine workouts I’ve seen from a receiver.
The NFL Blitz (Eric): No comment.
The NFL Blitz (Todd): No comment.
After Fleener and Hill, almost every other mock (at least the ones I looked at that’ve been updated recently) had the 49ers going with someone on the offensive or defensive lines.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: 4
Peter Konz, C/G, Wisconsin: 3
Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame: 2
Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia: 2
Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin: 2
Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State: 2
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: 2
Kelechi Osemala, G/T, Iowa: 2
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: 2
Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State: 2
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers: 2
Nick Perry, DE, USC: 1
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida: 1
Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss: 1
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina: 1
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: 1
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: 1