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Monday, April 19, 2010
49ers and the bloggers' mock draft

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Financial Web sites often carry disclaimers.

"It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable or that they will not result in losses," the typical disclaimer reads. "You should use the information only as a starting point for doing additional independent research in order to allow you to form your own opinion."

Sounds like something we could have applied to the second annual ESPN.com bloggers' mock draft. Coming up with my own mock was challenging enough. Putting together one with seven other people also making choices? Almost as tough as projecting what the teams might do.

Predicting the first 32 choices correctly would require knowing how all 30 teams with first-round choices rank each player, and how those teams view their own needs, and how those teams might balance value against need against what might be available by trading out of a spot. The teams themselves can only hope to have a general idea.

The bloggers' mock draft took place before the 49ers acquired Ted Ginn Jr. from the Dolphins. The choice I made for the 49ers -- Clemson running back C.J. Spiller -- reflected perceived values for the players available to that point. It's fair and logical to suggest the 49ers would have less interest in Spiller after acquiring Ginn because Spiller's ability as a returner was part of his appeal. It might even be fair to suggest the 49ers wouldn't draft Spiller after acquiring Ginn. They might not draft him anyway, for other reasons.

But let's approach this from another angle. Which player among those available would the rest of the NFC West want the 49ers to choose under the circumstances? I think those teams would rather see a cornerback or tackle in red and gold than a running back with breakaway ability. That's just my opinion. I'm pretty sure the rest of the NFC West was happy to see Brandon Marshall land in Miami, not Seattle.

Dynamic playmakers are hard to find. The 49ers already have one of them in tight end Vernon Davis. Running back Frank Gore and receiver Michael Crabtree also bring talent to the skill positions. Ginn is a wild card. The 49ers' upcoming season is largely about setting up Alex Smith for success. If the 49ers could add Spiller and still get a tackle and cornerback with their other early choices, that might set them up nicely -- for 2010 and beyond.