My latest draft conversation with Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. began with a Rams-related discussion -- more on that Wednesday -- before we hit on other NFC West teams.
The 49ers' options at No. 13 and either No. 16 or No. 17 have produced projections targeting Clemson running back C.J. Spiller and various offensive linemen. I've been a little skeptical on Spiller's candidacy from a need standpoint even though Spiller would provide a change of pace for Frank Gore and backup Glen Coffee.
Muench pointed to Florida cornerback Joe Haden as a possibility at No. 13.
"The top four offensive tackles will already be off the board in this scenario," Muench said. "Even at 16 or 17, we do not have them taking an offensive lineman."
The 49ers want a right tackle and Muench thinks Idaho's Mike Iupati could become a stronger candidate in the first round if he looks the part in combine testing. Iupati played left guard in college. He struggled some at left tackle during Senior Bowl practices, but fared better at right tackle even though the conversion from the left side to right side meant significant changes to his stance.
"I think Iupati is a good value there if he looks comfortable in position drills and turns in a respectable middle-of-the-road time in three-cone [drills]," Muench said. "Of the other guys who could be available there, are you going to take Dez Bryant, a receiver? No. Carlos Dunlap is a versatile defensive lineman, but I’m not sure he is the guy. Brandon Graham from Michigan is getting a lot of hype now and he could be an option there."
Graham rose in the Scouts Inc. rankings after a strong showing at the Senior Bowl led to reanalysis of how Graham fared at Michigan.
The 49ers could arguably use an outside linebacker, but this draft appears weaker near the top at that position, Muench said.