Draft: 49ers have some choices to make

Picking No. 7 in the first round may leave the 49ers in a tough spot. If Von Miller is gone, do they pick Robert Quinn? Patrick Peterson? Maybe all three won't be around that long. Then what?

While we bide our time waiting for a new collective bargaining agreement, a thought hit us: If the San Francisco 49ers could pick any draft-eligible player today, whom would they choose? And if that player was gone, whom would they pick next?

So we compiled a list of five players we'd like to see the 49ers choose in the draft – and the order we'd like to see them picked. Compare it to yours.

Note: One player we left off this list is Da'Quann Bowers of Clemson. He's a pass-rushing defensive end who could go as high as No. 1 overall, but he probably wouldn't fit the 49ers' 3-4 defensive scheme. He's made for a 4-3.

Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M: If he's on the board at No. 7, we can't see the Niners passing on Miller, who has gained nine pounds but still had the second-fastest time among defensive linemen at the Scouting Combine.

If he's gone, then …

Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: He's got some character issues, but Quinn is regarded by some scouts as the best pass rusher in his class. He was suspended for the 2010 season after receiving illegal benefits from an agent, and his Combine performance wasn't scintillating, but he probably still warrants a top-10 pick.

If he's gone, then …

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: Although the 49ers will probably focus on a pass-rushing linebacker, they can't go wrong choosing Peterson if he's still available. Although a strong pass rush will make any secondary better, having a player like Peterson step in immediately would strengthen an area of concern. He's got excellent cover skills and led the SEC in kickoff and punt returns.

If he's gone, then …

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: As disappointing as it sounds, it's quite possible Miller, Quinn and Peterson will be taken in the first five picks. If that happens, what will the 49ers do? Assuming they don't find another outside linebacker to their liking (perhaps Akeem Ayers of UCLA), Amukamara might be their choice. He's not great in deep coverage, but he's solid enough.

If not him, then …

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: Frankly, we don't see the 49ers picking a quarterback at No. 7, although some analysts do -- and we have no idea what coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke are thinking. Gabbert comes from a spread offense (think Alex Smith), but he's the best QB in the draft, and the position is clearly one that needs to be filled. If the team can't find one in free agency or a trade, Gabbert might be their fallback option. Our best guess: The Niners will wait until the second or third round and grab QB Christian Ponder of Florida State if he's still there.


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