CSN Mock Draft, Pick 31: 49ers select ...

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CSN Mock Draft, Pick 31: 49ers select ...
April 23, 2013, 9:00 am
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Matt Elam tallied 76 total tackles, four interceptions, two sacks and a forced fumble at Florida last season. (USA Today Images)

No. 31: Matt Elam, Safety, Florida (5-10, 208)

This pick seems like a no-brainer. The 49ers need safety help. Matt Elam is a play-making difference maker with the kind of aggressive attitude that should make Jim Harbaugh salivate.

Except for this.

Our colleagues in the Bay Area sum up the 49ers' draft plans very well. The 49ers are bold. They are talented. They are loaded with picks. Their coach is publicly challenging their GM to be the next Ozzie Newsome (I think it would be funny if their GM challenged their coach to be the next John Harbaugh, but I digress). Point is, the Niners are going to trade out of this spot. They are going to be active on draft day. I would be shocked if they actually make this selection.

But if they do stay here, they can do much worse than Elam. In our position preview, I ranked Elam as the best safety in the draft. I love his speed. I love his power. I love his aggression. I love that he's played both free and strong safety. I love that he's a difference maker on special teams, too. My only gripe with Elam -- and it's slight -- is that I worry about his ability to stay healthy given his tackling style.

Still, my opinion is they will trade up out of this spot. Best guess for who will be their trade partner? I could see the Titans moving down, especially if they like Geno Smith and Smith falls past the first nine picks. Another option is the Bills, especially if Buffalo really does like former Malvern Prep standout Ryan Nassib. Nassib should be there for the Bills at No. 31 and they have plenty of other holes that a trade with San Francisco would help fill.

If the 49ers do move up into the top 10, Sheldon Richardson makes a lot of sense. So too does Sylvester Williams. And if they really want to shock the world, they could grab Tavon Austin. Imagine him shaking free in NFC West secondaries as Colin Kaepernick buys time in the pocket with his feet? The possibilities are endless. And so are the possibilities for the 49ers come draft day. I would suggest NFL Network make sure Niners Cam is fired up come draft night. San Francisco is likely to be very busy.

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