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NFL Draft Grades: San Francisco 49ers Like Aldon Smith More Than Missouri

A case could be made that the San Francisco 49ers were the only team in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft that managed to overdraft a defensive lineman in a first round that saw Nick Fairley fall to 13 and Robert Quinn, hem, hem, to 14, and that saw Da'Quan Bowers fall to the Canadian Football League's first ever apostrophized-first-name draft. Aldon Smith has a ton of potential, most of it as-yet-unrealized, and he could differentiate himself by ending up a linebacker before all is said and done. But after the NFL Draft grades are handed out.

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But I'm not sure the difference between Smith and a second round defensive pick is as high as the difference between teammate Blaine Gabbert, who went 10th overall, and 49ers second-rounder Colin Kaepernick, the team's chosen Alex Smith backup plan. Kaepernick is an exciting two-way player, but as the star in an offense even less pro-ready than the MIssouri Tigers's he's a strange choice for a team with such an unsettled quarterback situation. And they had to trade up to get him, too.

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The experts at Niners Nation like this draft more than I do, at least the first two parts of it, so I'll defer to them and give this a C+. M-I-Z!

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