The NFL draft is exactly one week away, and Matt Maiocco of Comcast SportsNet has taken his best crack at the San Francisco 49ers’ 2011 draft board. Maiocco, perhaps the most clued-in reporter in the Bay Area, constructed a top seven after listening to Niners G.M. Trent Baalke’s Wednesday pre-draft press conference.
The 49ers pick seventh overall.
1. Maiocco has LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson atop the board, noting that the 49ers “need playmakers in their secondary.” Peterson is commonly considered the best player in the draft, so this is believable. There’s a decent chance Peterson will be available at the seventh pick. If so, Maiocco fully expects the Niners to take him.
2. Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus is next, even though he wouldn’t necessarily satisfy a need position in San Francisco. At 6-foot-4, 318, we do suspect Dareus could play nose tackle in the Niners’ 3-4. Regardless, they’d likely jump at the chance to draft him in the unlikely event Peterson is gone and Dareus is available at No. 7.
3. Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller is next. Miller does play a position at which the 49ers have numerous question marks with Manny Lawson and Travis LaBoy headed to free agency, and neither Ahmad Brooks nor Parys Haralson possessing the pass-rush ability Miller demonstrated in the Big 12.
4. Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara is fourth, although Maiocco allows that, after the first three prospects, “the next three picks can go in any order.” Still, Maiocco’s placement of Amukamara so high indicates that the 49ers indeed consider cornerback one of their primary needs.
5. The first offensive player on Maiocco’s proposed 49ers board is Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The highest rated pocket passer in the draft, Gabbert visited the Niners’ team facility on Wednesday and would fill a longtime hole on offense for San Francisco.
6. North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn comes in sixth. He’d make the transition from college end to 3-4 outside linebacker in Vic Fangio’s defense.
7. Maiocco doesn’t seem to think the Niners are targeting offense in round one, because his second player on that side of the ball comes in seventh overall. Georgia’s A.J. Green is widely considered the top receiver in the 2011 draft.
Notably left out of the top seven: Cam Newton and Nick Fairley of Auburn, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan, Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, and Washington quarterback Jake Locker.
The 49ers won’t formally construct their draft board until this weekend, but Maiocco’s educated guess is as probably as close as anyone not paid by the organization could get.