2012 NFL Draft - San Francisco 49ers

Posted Apr 28, 2012

San Francisco 49ers - NFC West, 2012 Draft Selections & Prospects

San Francisco 49ers

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay   

- 2011 San Francisco Draft Breakdown
- 2010 San Francisco Draft Breakdown

The Draft Was ... an attempt to find the final pieces of the puzzle. The Niners got little to no value with any pick and there weren't any sure-thing starters to rely on. Instead, they got a complementary deep threat in the first round in WR A.J. Jenkins and took a toy to play with in LaMichael James in the second. They addressed needs, but there was more tinkering than building.
Best Value Pick: DE Cam Johnson, Virginia, 7th round
Worst Value Pick: WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois, 1st round
They Should've ... done more for the defensive line. Depth up front was a problem that had to be addressed, and wasn't. The Niners took a big guard in Joe Looney in the third round in a bit of a reach considering Indianapolis was able to get Alabama DT Josh Chapman with the first pick in the fifth round
Division Draft Ranking: 3
Overall Draft Ranking: 17

First Round

WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois 6-0, 190
Overall Pick No. 30 CFN Overall Ranking: 109
CFN Analysis: How's that Michael Crabtree pick working out? The former sure-thing star prospect has been okay, not great, and the Niners need more firepower. There were inklings that Jenkins was rising up draft boards in a hurry, and now Alex Smith has another option to stretch the field and add more pop to an attack that couldn't match the production of its great defense. However, considering guard is a must, the Niners have to be ticked Minnesota moved up to grab Kevin Zeitler.

After falling off the radar a bit, like the rest of the Illini, he showed this offseason that he's worth a longer look after tearing off a blazing sub-4.4 40 and proving to be an elite athlete. He has the tools, the elite speed, and the smarts to be ready to handle being a No. 2 or 3 receiver in a good passing game. With nice hands to go along with the rest of his tools, he has the talent, but the production was inconsistent with two really, really good weeks; that was about it. The problem will be his size with no ability to get physical whatsoever, and he'll never block anyone, but that won't be his job.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Second Round

RB LaMichael James, Oregon (Jr.) 5-8, 194
Overall Pick No. 61 CFN Overall Ranking: 77
CFN Analysis: A fun pick for a rising team, the 49ers went with speed taking WR A.J. Jenkins in the first round, and now they have James to use as a speedster in a rotation with the plodding Frank Gore. James will be a terrific toy to play around with using him on special teams, third downs, and any other areas to get him on the move. For a team that needed to make more impact plays, it's making a statement with this pick. Jim Harbaugh will know how to use him.

A devastating producer, he tore off a sub-4.4 in offseason workouts to go along with all the elite quickness and athleticism expected. However, he's really, really small and won't come up with any power whatsoever. No one will expect him to blast through the line, though, and he could carve out a very nice career as a Darren Sproles type who can be a top third down playmaker and a change of pace back. No one will touch him in the open field and he'll hit enough home runs to get everyone out of their seats when he gets on the move. But is he a function of the Chip Kelly offense? Maybe, and he was erased by the good defenses that were able to key on him, but that doesn't take away from his raw skills. He might not be able to last a full 16-game season, and there will always be question marks about his character after a few big controversies, but some offensive coordinator is going to love the different ways to play around with the options.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Fourth Round

OG Joe Looney, Wake Forest 6-3, 309
Overall Pick No. 117 CFN Overall Ranking: 185
Versatile, his biggest worth is as a producer either at center or guard no matter what the system. Smart and a leader, he's a high-character guy with the right attitude and the right make-up to find a home somewhere on a line. While he's not a top athlete, he knows how to use his weight and his leverage to frustrate his man throughout a game. But can he get healthy? He suffered a broken foot this offseason and had to fight through a slew of bangs and bruises throughout his career. Hitting the weight room and redefining his body is a must, and he projects to be a good backup at a few positions rather than a top starter at any one spot, but he's the type of guy coaches want to have on their team.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round  

Sixth Round

C Jason Slowey, Western Oregon 6-2, 295
Overall Pick No. 199 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
While he's a feisty battler, he's undersized and under powered. He was great in offseason workouts and started to climb up the draft charts, but he's a swing blocker for the interior without the quickness and ability to be a top option in pass protection.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

Seventh Round

DE Cam Johnson, Virginia (OLB) 6-3, 268
Overall Pick No. 237 CFN Overall Ranking: 83
Versatile and tough, he's able to work as an outside linebacker and could become a pass rusher as either a 4-3 end or a 3-4 linebacker, he has the body and the athleticism to work in a variety of roles. He moves well and is an athletic marvel in space with smooth cutting ability to go along with surprising take-on strength when blocked. But can he jack up the intensity all the time? When he's on, he's great, but he seems to go unnoticed for long stretches. Everything is in place to be a terrific pro, but there's something missing – it seems like he's simply not able to find the consistent fire and isn't a killer. He's a much better prospect than a college football player, but there's a huge upside.
CFN Projection: Third Round