Blogger mock: Robert Quinn to the 49ers

April, 25, 2011
4/25/11
3:15
PM ET
Von Miller, Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram landed in the NFC West thanks to my shrewd maneuvering in ESPN.com's Blog Network mock draft for 2011.

I'm breaking out my selections on a team-by-team basis, with explanations that hopefully will invite your points and counterpoints. Running back Mark Ingram unexpectedly landed with Seattle at No. 25, while I somewhat sheepishly sent J.J. Watt to St. Louis at No. 14.

Let's continue in reverse order, with the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7.

The selection: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina

Off the board: Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert; defensive lineman Marcell Dareus; cornerbacks Patrick Peterson; outside linebacker Von Miller; and receiver A.J. Green.

The thinking: This was one of those high-risk, high-reward selections easier to make in a mock draft than when your career as general manager is riding on the outcome. Quinn would give 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio a pass-rushing prospect to build around. Fangio sought a similar building block in Houston when the Texans used the 27th choice of the 2004 draft for Jason Babin, a player Fangio hoped would project in the Kevin Greene mold. Babin didn't do much before earning Pro Bowl status with Tennessee last season. As for Quinn, he qualifies as a potentially one-dimensional player with medical concerns stemming from the benign brain tumor doctors discovered in 2007. But his raw pass-rush potential appeals. There were other legitimate options and safer ones available when I made this selection. Cornerback Prince Amukamara was one, but teams tend to value pass-rush production over coverage skills in the secondary. Some 49ers fans have worried their team won't feel great about any of the prospects available at No. 7. I had that feeling to an extent while making this selection, but only because scouting reports on Miller and Peterson made them sound like superior options, if available. Check back in three years to see if those reports were accurate.

Odds of this happening: Decent shot. This one feels better than the previous NFC West selections, but it should. There were only six players off the board this time.

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