With the 61st pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the San Francisco 49ers select San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar. JCruize is serving as the 49ers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
I am making my third pick of this mock draft, and like my other two picks, I will be addressing a hole left by a departing free agent. With this pick I turn my focus to the offensive side of the ball and attempt to replace Delanie Walker, who is now a Tennessee Titan. And with that I give you Gavin Escobar.
At 6'6", 254 lbs., Gavin is a prototypical NFL tight end. He is big and athletic, with fluid movement and excellent route running. He plays the position very naturally, locating the ball over his shoulder with ease. He runs the seam route like a wideout, with his long strides eating up ground quickly. With his big, soft hands, he snatches the ball out of the air, rarely using his body to catch it. Gavin had his best season as a sophomore, snagging 51 receptions for 780 yards with 7 touchdowns. He took a step back in his junior season stat-wise, but he felt that he was ready to take the next step in his football career, opting to forgo his senior season and enter the draft as an underclassman. What could hurt him at the next level is his run blocking ability. That is something that Escobar must get better at if he wants to see significant playing time in Jim Harbaugh's offense.
I understand this pick will probably not be perceived to many as the right choice. But when you have as many picks as the Niners do, you are allowed to roll the dice on a few prospects. With a young quarterback needing weapons, I think San Francisco will roll the dice on this type of pick here, keeping in mind that they also have two third-round picks to address other needs.
I considered other players and positions, such as CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson and RB Montee Ball, but in the end I chose Gavin because I see a lot of Aaron Hernandez in him. He's an athletic, pass-catching tight end that is a little unpolished but has a very high ceiling. The only downside to that analogy is that Kaepernick is no Tom Brady.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.