Best pick: It has to be second-rounder Colin Kaepernick, because the 49ers had to find a legitimate prospect at quarterback in this draft, and Kaepernick certainly fits the description. Kaepernick was going to fall off the board at any minute before the 49ers swooped up to get him near the top of the second round, and they were able to get one of the draft's best QB prospects – and a guy with the tools to thrive in the West Coast offensive system – without having to use their prized No. 7 overall selection in the first round to get him.
Best manuever: That brings us to how the 49ers got Kaepernick, by jumping up nine spots to the No. 4 slot in the second round. Kaepernick wasn't going to last more than two picks after that, and you can bet there were other teams who also were looking to trade up into that spot with the Nevada quarterback still available. The Niners pulled the trigger and sent their second-, fourth- and fifth-round picks to Denver to get there, and sometimes those are things you have to do to get a player you need to get.
Worst reach: The 49ers made a few in this draft, but taking South Carolina product Chris Culliver with a mid third-round pick seems like the longest stretch. The 49ers were enamored with Culliver's physical tools and speed, but he's a tweener defensive back whom the team is drafting as a cornerback but is more likely to move to safety – the position he played most often in college – if he's to make it in the NFL. Culliver wasn't rated as anything better than a late-round pick by most draft observers, and the 49ers probably still could have nabbed him with their fourth-round pick if they wanted them that badly.
Best trading places: While the 49ers may have a difficult time finding the right place – or any place – for Culliver in their secondary, they could fare much better with their intended positional move of several other picks. That begins with first-rounder Aldon Smith, who will be trading in the defensive end position he played at Missouri to move to outside linebacker with the 49ers. Other draft picks that will be trading places: Fifth-rounder Daniel Kilgore and seventh-rounder Mike Person, who both played left tackle last year in college, will be moved inside to get trials at center and guard. The most intriguing switcheroo involves seventh-round pick Bruce Miller, who was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year last year as a defensive end, but will be moved to fullback with the 49ers.
Best fastball: Did you know Kaepernick was a two-time All-State baseball pitcher in high school who was drafted in 2009 by the Chicago Cubs and had his fastball timed at 94 mph? We hear he can bring some heat with a football in his hand, too.
Best value pick: The 49ers scored a steal in the fourth round when they grabbed Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter, a productive scatback who rushed for 4,181 yards during his college career and twice topped 1,500 yards rushing in a season. He'll be a nice complement to bruisers Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon in the 49ers' backfield.
Worst miss: The 49ers needed to get a burly defensive lineman out of this draft, and – since they're moving first-rounder Aldon Smith from defensive end to outside linebacker and seventh-rounder Bruce Miller from defensive end to fullback – they didn't get him.
Best recommendation: New Niners receivers coach John Morton apparently did some heavy lobbying for USC product Ronald Johnson, the team's sixth-round pick whom Morton coached the past four years with the Trojans. "The input from coach Morton ... There was an element of standing on the table for Ronald in the sense that the guy's all about football," Harbaugh said. My ears and Trent's (Baalke) really perk up when you hear that."
Best gold dots: Those that belonged to members of this 49ers draft class, of course. Before the draft, the 49ers put gold dots on the player cards of the prospects the organization felt were the best for the team both on and off the field. The 49ers apparently ended up with a nice bundle of those prospects. "I don't know many we put on each guy in the draft," Harbaugh said, "but I can tell you this: We, by far, the 49ers got the most gold helmets of anybody in the draft – and it wasn't even close."
The draft wrap
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