The final day of the draft started on a really good note for the San Francisco 49ers. They were able to get a few pretty good players and fill some more needs within their roster. Quinton Patton at pick #128 was the one that started it all. He is a tremendous value pick and will compete for extensive playing time right away.
Patton is a prospect that drew a lot of interest from the San Francisco 49ers. He has been compared to Reggie Wayne because he is a pure hands catcher and a route technician. Patton does not possess elite top end speed but he has the ability to go up and get the ball aggressively. He will be able to be a threat on the back shoulder fades due to his ability to adjust to the ball in the air along with his ability to keep two feet in bounds on the sideline.
Patton is a complete receiver. The 49ers can expect a contribution from him in the running game as he has the feisty attitude needed to mix it up as a blocker. His production was definitely there in 2012. The premier game for Patton came when he lit up Texas A&M for 21 catches 233 yards and four touchdowns. For the year he had 104 receptions 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Patton does have the ability to get a clean release off the line against press coverage and can get to full speed with a few steps which is needed to play X as well. Jonathan Banks, the cornerback from Mississippi State said that Patton was the best receiver that he faced after they played last year. A lot of scouts really liked how he did at the Senior Bowl practices as well. If you watch some of his games you will see that he is able to make the tough catch frequently. The 49ers will get a guy that can actually play any of the receiver spots X, Z or even the slot.
The next pick #131, was used to select Marcus Lattimore. I actually projected this player to be selected at this slot in my mock draft a few weeks ago. Lattimore was easily the best running back in this draft prior to the gruesome injury. Charlie Casserly, the former general manager of the Houstan Texans and Washington Redskins said that Lattimore is still the best back in this draft. His one cut and go style of running reminds many of Arian Foster. It is unlikely that he will play next year. Jim Harbaugh has said that he will slow down the process despite being impressed with Lattimore’s progress during the months before the draft. This pick was made with the future in mind.
Quinton Dial was the fifth round pick (#157). He will add depth to the defensive line. His size (6’5″ 318 lbs) and skill set make him a good option to play inside in the 49ers sub packages and still be a very good three technique in their 3-4 defensive looks.
Nick Moody, the sixth round pick (#180) will be relied upon to become a core special teams player. He is projected to be a backup to Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Moody will fill the void left by free agent linebacker Larry Grant. He was mostly a safety or rover at Florida State but he converted to a linebacker prior to his last season. Hopefully it was his nerves rather than a lack of ball skills or clumsiness that caused him to drop a few balls and fall twice during drills at the combine.
A total of three picks where made in the seventh round. First off the board at #237 was B.J. Daniels. He is a quarterback from South Florida. Daniels is six feet, 217 pounds. The 49ers may switch him to a hybrid type fullback similar to Michael Robinson. He has also worked out as a defensive back.
Carter Bykowski was the second pick in the seventh round (#246). Bykowski is a very big man at 6’6″ 318 pounds. He was coached by one of the best offensive line coaches in football, Iowa University Head Coach Kirk Ferentz. He is an option at left tackle if an injury occurs.
The final pick for the 49ers was Marcus Cooper at #252. Cooper is a tall and lean corner back that is 6’2″. He blocked a kick at Rutgers and could become a special teams contributor for the 49ers. Cooper fits the mold of tall corner that 49ers seem to be moving towards.
Trent Baalke navigated this draft masterfully. He moved up to get players that he targeted without giving up a lot. He was able to address different areas of need. The picks that were made will create a lot of competition at most positions. Coach Harbaugh wouldn’t want it any other way. Additionally, he was able to acquire a high pick next year.