I have compiled a list of players that I feel we should target in rounds 4-7 of the draft at positions that I feel are needs. Please help me add to this list by responding with some of your favorite sleepers. I also plan on doing this for the DBs within the next day or 2.
4th round: Bobby Massie, Ole Miss - He is big and athletic. It seems that he is very athletic and agile for his size, which makes him a great fit for the ZBS. Being considered a 3rd or 4th round prospect at this point, he could be a major steal if we nab him in the 4th. He could start right away if Jamaal Brown is released, but he will definitely get some healthy competition from Willie Smith.
4th round: Nate Potter, Boise State - Seems a good fit for ZBS and could play tackle or guard. Could definitely see Shanahan taking this guy in the mid to lower rounds. Could be the best guard prospect available by the time our 4th round pick comes around. A move to guard in the ZBS could give him as much value as say, Kevin Zeitler, who projects to go in the 2nd or 3rd round.
4th round: Mike Brewster, Ohio State; Ben Jones, Georgia; Phillip Blake, Baylor - Any of this guys could step in and fill the center position from day 1. Brewster is the more natural fit for the ZBS, while Jones and Blake are more of the big boy, mauler types, but Shanahan drafted Kory Lichtensteiger as a center and he was massive coming out of school. All three guys could end up being a pro bowler and we could get them in the 4th round.
5th round: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State; Brandon Mosley, Auburn; Markus Zusevics, Iowa; Mitchell Schwartz - Adcock and Mosely may be the higher rated prospects, but Schwartz and Zusevics have Shanny ZBS written all over them and we could end up seeing one of them drop to us in the 5th (or 6th if we trade back to acquire one).
7th round: Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina; Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh - Both these guys have the agility and both can move inside to guard or outside to tackle. As 7th round picks, Shanahan and Company have to be interested.
Analysis: I've listed 11 guys here. It shouldn't be unreasonable to land 2 of them, unless we've used one of our top 3 on a lineman. I love the idea of stockpiling the OL, but any more than 3 in one draft might be a little overkill, especially considering our other needs. It seems like the least depth of all the offensive line positions in the draft is at guard, so perhaps this position is best addressed in free agency (where two studs are available in Ben Grubbs and Carl NIcks) while we fill the gaps and build depth at C and RT during the draft.
Conclusion: I'll project Grubbs as our major FA signing. We went hard after Yanda last year and landed Chester after failing to sign him. This tells me we like something about those Baltimore interior lineman and think we might try to steal one more. This leaves us to use picks on OT and C. We may end up getting Reiff in the first, but if not, I love Massie in the 3rd or 4th. Then I love any one of Blake, Brewster or Jones - whoever falls to us in the 4th or 5th round. I'll mock Blake to us now, just for the heck of it, but also because I have mocked Brewster to us in the past and want to throw a couple different looks out there. I know these gives us a lot of changeover on the offensive line including 2 rookies, but now is the time to tear down the line and build again from scratch, because in 2013, Shanahan won't be in rebuild mode any longer, whereas this year he does have that luxury.
Review of Potential 2012 OL Unit:
LT- Trent Williams/Tyler Polumbus
LG - Ben Grubbs/Kory Lichtensteiger
C- Phillip Blake/Will Montgomery
RG - Chris Chester/Maurice Hurt
RT - Bobby Massie/Willie Smith
(Polumbus is #4 on the depth chart at tackle and Smith is #3, although Smith could start at RT, making him #2 and Massie #3. Lichtensteiger and Montgomery can back up all 3 interior positions and either one could also start at center if Blake isn't ready.)