Dickey: Plenty of possibilities for 49ers in draft 

The 49ers have had a good offseason, capped by the trade for kick returner-wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Now, the next test is here, the NFL draft, spread over two nights and a day this year the latest example of wretched excess by the NFL.

This draft presents a special challenge to the Niners — and to Trent Baalke, who will run the draft with Scot McCloughan gone.

Their biggest need is for an offensive tackle, but there probably won’t be any worth taking with the No. 13 pick, the first of their two first-round choices.

Though NFL decision-makers always say that they’ll take the best available athlete, they will often reach for a player to fill a need, which is probably the worst thing a team can do.

Last year, the Niners got lucky when the Raiders passed on Michael Crabtree, the best receiver in the draft, so the 49ers grabbed him at No. 10. Now, Crabtree looks like a receiver with a long, productive career ahead of him. Crabtree filled a need, but he was also the best available player at that spot.

The 49ers won’t be in that position this week, barring the unlikely circumstance of a trade of their two picks to get in the top five. Otherwise, the two top tackle picks, Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung and Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga, will be long gone. Oklahoma’s Trent Williams probably will be, too, though some question his work ethic.

The best of the rest is Anthony Davis, who has sometimes excelled in run blocking at Rutgers, but who has twice been suspended for games because he broke team rules and has also had weight problems. Sounds like too much of a gamble in the middle of the first round.

The workout king among offensive tackles was unquestionably Bruce Campell, who was off the charts at the NFL combine. That will probably make him irresistible to Al Davis, though Campbell’s play at Maryland wasn’t outstanding.

One mock draft had the 49ers taking inside linebacker Roland McClain at No. 13. That’s not a current need for the 49ers, but if McClain is available, he’d probably be the best player on the board. At 6-foot-3, 249 pounds, he has great size and excellent speed (4.69 in the 40) for a linebacker. He and Patrick Willis would make a great pair.

The other need for the Niners is at cornerback. This draft, though, is not deep in cornerbacks. The best is Joe Haden, who started as a freshman at Florida and has played three seasons. He’s not big, short of six feet, but he has 4.4 speed. He’s probably a reach at 13, though, and perhaps even at 17.

One player I haven’t seen mentioned in connection with the 49ers is Idaho guard Mike Iupati. Guards are not as highly regarded as tackles, but Iupati has been a standout at Boise State, big and powerful. Some think he could slide over to tackle eventually, but at guard, he’d be an immediate upgrade. The pressure is on Baalke. Draft decisions are group decisions, but it will be Baalke in the spotlight as the 49ers try to get back into the playoff chase.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.

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Glenn Dickey

Glenn Dickey

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