As the NFL draft approaches next weekend, things have gotten a little more serious in Santa Clara at the 49ers Headquarters, as they determine what their plan of attack is for this upcoming draft. Unlike in years past, they don't need to go quantity vs. quality, as they're a pretty set team with very few holes, and apparently, Trent Baalke explained Wednesday that the 49ers have not plans to move from their current draft spot and have their eyes on one player in particular.
That player is widely to believed to be Stanford's explosive Tight End, and an outlet that helped make Andrew Luck the quarterback he was during his tenure in Palo Alto. That is Coby Fleener, the 6'6" dynamic pass catcher who caught 17 TD passes over the last two seasons at Stanford and would give Alex Smith another big red-zone target along with Moss and Vernon Davis. Fleener has been compared to and has a similar skill-set as New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham. I can certainly see why they'd be interested in him if that's indeed the player they're looking at as Jim Harbough is a huge fan of his tight-ends, and loves using different schemes that pits 2-3 TE's on the field at once quite often. The only question I have is what would become of Delanie Walker at that point? Walker got hurt at the end of the year last season and was a non-factor in the playoffs. Another guy who's been mentioned and linked with the 49ers since the combine is Georgia Tech's speedy Stephen Hill, a guy who could help stretch the defense, and give Smith yet another weapon at wideout, something they've focused heavily on early in the offseason. Then again, it could be a moot point, as both of those guys could be off the board by the time the 49ers pick. Hill's been projected to go as high as mid-first round, though Fleener is a guy who many think should fall to the late first/early second, further fueling that speculative fire.
Whoever they end up going with, I don't think 49er fans will be disappointed with the selection. The 49ers have the best football minds running their team now than they've had since the 1990's and I trust Baalke and Harbough's decision come selection time. They proved it last year by taking Aldon Smith above his projected slot, and it paid off, as if the 2011 draft were to be re-done with the stuff we know now, Smith's easily a top-3 selection after Newton and A.J. Green.