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This off-season, the draft in particular, will decide whether John Lynch stays as the general manager for the duration of his contract or not. Whether you’ve loved the moves he’s made or not, he has turned over almost the entire roster in two seasons, but has yet to give head coach Kyle Shanahan a roster that will produce a winning record, much less a Super Bowl title.
Mock drafts are fun. Early mock drafts, before the combine, individual workouts, free agency, and any other off season movement are pretty much futile in accuracy. But nonetheless, we all love to look at them and hope the writer is right, or curse their stupidity. Below you have one of these early mock drafts, which includes trades, players being reached for too early, and players dropping past their current positioning.
For the 49ers, this mock draft will assume that they had a modest free agent period, signing a second tier edge rusher (Dante Fowler Jr., possibly), and a safety (Earl Thomas III, anyone?). After the full first round, you will find a full draft for the 49ers draft picks.
1. ARI: Quinnen Williams, DT - Alabama
Arizona decides that with their 3-4 defense, Williams is just too big of a talent to skip on. The pick solidifies their interior defense, clogging a hole for the first of many times for the Cardinals. Williams will be a star, and the rest of the NFC west is unhappy with the pick.
2. OAK (Trade SF): Nick Bosa, DE – Ohio St.
It happened, Bosa dropped to the 49ers at two. As soon as it happens, Gruden is on the phone looking to replace Khalil Mack. Gruden offers the number 4 and 24 picks. When he includes the 35th pick John Lynch agrees and Gruden rushes his draft card in with Bosa set to solidify their edge rush, wherever they end up playing.
3. NYJ: D.K. Metcalf, WR - Mississippi
The Jets are the real wild card in the top four. They decide the oversized Metcalf would help Sam Darnold take off as their franchise saving quarterback.
4. MIA (Trade SF through OAK): Dwayne Haskins, QB – Ohio St.
Shortly after trading the number two pick, Lynch began fielding calls to trade back, really heating up with a dark horse candidate. After shipping the 13th, 48th and 79th pick over the San Francisco for the fourth pick and Marquise Goodwin, Miami finds its new quarterback of the future and San Francisco is ecstatic, believing their number two edge rusher will still be available at 13. Miami quickly announces Ryan Tannehill is being shipped to the Giants.
5. TB: Josh Allen, OLB - Kentucky
The athletic edge/Sam could be the total package and could be a steal possibly getting the third best player at the fifth pick.
6. NYG: Jonah Williams, OT - Alabama
After spending three of the last five draft picks on Saquan Barkley, Evan Engram, and Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants decide to go back to trying to solidify the trenches. With Haskins off the board, some thought Kyler Murray or Drew Lock might be the pick, but the Giants take the top OL in the draft instead.
7. JAX: Clelin Ferrell, DE - Clemson
The Jaguars defense was down last year, and after not being able to get Haskins, some thought Kyler Murray or Drew Lock, but the take Ferrell, an absolute beast off of the edge, an instant upgrade on their current pass rush. After the pick it is announced that the Jaguars have traded for Eli Manning.
8. DET: Greedy Williams, CB - LSU
Detroit has too many holes to fill, and if Metcalf would have still been available, that would have been their pick. They take Williams instead, locking down half of their secondary for the next five years at least.
9. BUF: Jachai Polite, DE - Florida
Another team with more holes than a sinking ship, Polite falling to the Bills at the ninth pick is a blessing. Some think Polite could be the second best edge rusher in the draft behind Bosa. Polite quickly ups their poor 2018 pass rush.
10. DEN: T.J. Hockenson, TE - Iowa
After watching Travis Kelce and George Kittle absolutely shred the NFL last season, John Elway decides to give Joe Flacco a big target down the seam in Hackenson, the best tight end in the draft, a true TE who can block inline and line up wide. He is the best TE to suit up for the Broncos since Julian Thomas was shredding defenses with Peyton Manning.
11. ATL (Trade CIN): Ed Oliver, DT - Houston
The Falcons’ defense has been lacking big game potential, and Oliver, who once was thought of as the second or third best player in the draft is too much for them to pass up, causing them to trade up from the 14 spot. Oliver is a day-one starter in the interior of Atlanta’s defense.
12. GB: Devin White, ILB - LSU
White is an absolute monster. A top-ten talent for sure, and Green Bay is able to get him at number 12. White should anchor their LB room for the next decade and create headaches for the NFC North running backs.
13. SF (Trade MIA): Montez Sweat, DE – Mississippi St.
After two trade backs, Lynch drafts Sweat, an individual who they might have fallen in love with during the Senior Bowl. Although a bit smaller than the other edge players, Sweats motor should allow him to be an impact player in Year 1.
14. CIN (Trade ATL): Deandre Baker, CB - UGA
The senior 5-11 corner, was argued early to be the better pick than Greedy. He has great instincts which can make up for his lack in top-flight speed. He’ll be fun to watch battle Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster twice a year.
15. ARI (Trade WAS): Kyler Murray, QB - Oklahoma
With Alex Smith’s future in doubt, the Redskins take a trade with Arizona for Josh Rosen, a third rounder, and a 2020 second rounder. Arizona’s new head coach Kliff Kingsbury gets his chosen QB in the Heisman-winning Murray.
16. SEA (Trade CAR): Nasir Adderley, S – Delaware
Looking to replace Earl Thomas III, Seattle trades up with Carolina to grab Adderley. A very hard hitting free safety who would have fit in nicely with the Legion of Boom, Adderley has good range and should be up to the challenge of replacing Thomas. A very durable player, he started every game for four seasons in college – his first two at cornerback and his last two at free safety.
17. CLE: Jawaan Taylor, OT - Florida
With the quarterback position set for the first time since the club was brought back through expansion, it’s time to protect that very important asset. Taylor is a bit of a mauler and will have to improve his pass blocking to be an elite left tackle.
18. MIN: Irv Smith Jr., TE - Alabama
With the hope of creating a bit of a safety blanket for Kirk Cousins, the Vikings draft Smith Jr to start along with Stefan Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook. Not much of a blocker, Smith is more of an over sized slot receiver. He could be a big benefit in the red zone.
19. TEN: Marquise Brown, WR - Oklahoma
Getting possibly the best WR in the draft at the 19th pick doesn’t happen very often. Having Brown line up outside should benefit Marcus Mariota greatly. Brown is a true WR1 who forces defenses to keep track of him. He’s the best weapon through the air the team has had in years.
20. PIT: Brian Burns, DE - FSU
Some said top-five draft pick. In the end, the Steelers are ecstatic to get him with the 20th pick. In their effort to get younger and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers should be aided by Burns who is a quick speed rusher off the edge.
21. CAR (Trade SEA): Deionte Thompson, S - Alabama
After they signed Eric Reid to an extension, the Panthers draft his running mate in Thompson. Another hard hitting safety, Thompson and Reid are somewhat redundant, but his athleticism is something they can’t pass up.
22. BAL: Josh Jacobs, RB - Alabama
The top back in the draft, Jacobs is instantly the best running back on the Ravens’ roster as well. Some backfield help for Lamar Jackson, Ravens fans hope he can be a second coming of Jamal Lewis.
23. HOU: Cody Ford, OT - Oklahoma
A 6-4, 340-pound massive dude, Ford can play both guard and tackle. He spent his last season at Oklahoma at left tackle. He should have no problem moving defensive ends out of the way for the Texans’ running backs, and could be Deshaun Watson’s blindside protector for his career.
24. SF (Trade OAK): Devin Bush, OLB - Michigan
Although a bit of a smaller linebacker, Bush should step in and start at the Sam position. An athletic sideline-to-sideline linebacker who can cover tight ends and running backs, Bush is a solid pick at 24.
25. PHI: Byron Murphy, CB - Washington
One of the nation’s top cornerbacks, the redshirt sophomore played well against top competition like Auburn and Ohio State. Murphy can anchor one side of the Eagles defense and could be an absolute steal at number 25.
26. IND: Noah Fant, TE – Iowa
Iowa’s second best tight end, Fant should instantly be a security blanket for Luck over the middle. His potent success in the red zone in college should translate to lots of trips to the endzone for the Fant-Luck connection. He’s 6-5 and weighs 241 pounds and caught 19 touchdowns in his three years at Iowa.
27. OAK: N’Keal Harry, WR – Arizona St.
Gruden drafts his Amari Cooper replacement. Harry leaves Arizona St. as their third all-time leading receiver with 213 receptions. He also recorded 22 career receiving touchdowns. Oakland will still need to find pieces around Harry, but he could very well develop into a Pro Bowl receiver. At 6-4 he has the size to win jump balls and has a large catch radius for Derek Carr to throw into.
28. LAC: Jerry Tillery, DT – Notre Dame
At 6-6 and 304 pounds, Tillery has the size to be a disruptive DT in the NFL. With 8 sacks and 10½ tackles for a loss, Tillery has shown that he can win at the point of attack and get into the backfield on both pass and run plays. He isn’t a flashy pick for the Chargers, but he could become an important part to an improved Chargers defense.
29. KC: Dre’Mont Jones, DT – Ohio St.
Jones is a great interior pass rusher to combine with Dee Ford off the edge. He will need to work on his run defense game to be an every down player, but with the pieces around him at KC, he should be able to play his way into a nice career and help the Chief’s defense take another step towards elite.
30. GB: A.J. Brown, WR – Mississippi St.
A fantastic route runner, Brown could prove to be the best WR in the draft. It almost seems like cheating putting the crisp route running 6-1 receiver on the same field with Aaron Rodgers. The Lions are immediately happy they drafted Greedy.
31. LAR: Rashan Gary DT/DE – Michigan
Although a fantastic DT, Gary has the ability to rush off the edge as well. After having to let a piece or two walk in the offseason, the Rams replenish their scary front seven on defense with an athletic stud.
32 WAS (Trade NE): Drew Lock, QB - Missouri
The Redskins double down at quarterback and trade back into the first round after trading out for Josh Rosen. This sets up a quarterback battle in the offseason for the Redskins. It also gives the Redskins the ability to groom both quarterbacks while they are on rookie contracts and cash in on some quarterback capital in a couple of years.
By passing up on Bosa, and then Josh Allen, the 49ers were able to accumulate an incredible eight picks in the first four rounds. In the first round they addressed their LEO pass rusher problem as well as added a Sam linebacker who could compete for a starting position immediately. Mocking out the rest of the 49ers’ picks, with the ammunition from the two trade downs, the 49ers are able to fill all of their holes, assuming a FS was signed in free agency.
At picks 35, 36, and 48 in the second round Lynch lands Riley Ridley, a receiver out Georgia; Amani Oruwariye, a cornerback out of Penn State; and Chris Lindstrom, an offensive guard out of Boston College. Adding a potential WR1 to accompany the possible WR1 in Dante Pettis seems like a no brainer when they have the opportunity. Oruwariye adds instant depth and could be a possible replacement for Sherman when he moves to free safety in two or three years. Lindstrom would have a real possibility to start at right guard for the 49ers if a better option wasn’t signed in free agency.
Round 3 gives a depth linebacker pick in Te’Von Coney at pick 67, who could push for a starting position his rookie year. At pick 79 they double down at guard and take Terronne Prescod, from North Carolina State. A bit of a project piece, he could develop into a swing depth lineman for the team and eventually push Tomlinson for his starting position.
Josh Oliver is a fantastic find in Round 4, and allows Shanahan to employ more pass heavy two tight end plays. The two picks in Round 6 are future depth picks for the secondary in cornerback Jimmy Moreland of James Madison University and Kentucky safety Mike Edwards
49ers Picks after Trades:
13: Montez Sweat, DE – Mississippi St.
24: Devin Bush, OLB - Michigan
35: Riley Ridley, WR - Georgia
36: Amani Oruwariye, CB – Penn St.
48: Chris Lindstrom, OG – Boston College
67: Te’Von Coney, ILB – Notre Dame
79: Terronne Prescod, OG – North Carolina St.
98: Josh Oliver, TE – San Jose St.
176: Jimmy Moreland, CB – James Madison
212: Mike Edwards, S – Kentucky
Well, Wasn’t that Fun?
Obviously, probably none of this is going to happen; besides the 49ers will probably draft some edge rushers, some linebackers, some guards, and possibly a wide receiver. Who knows? I like the quarterback shuffle it creates around the league. Tannehill to the Giants. Eli to the Jags. Rosen to the Redskins. It’s fun to pretend, but one thing is for sure, the 49ers’ front office needs to knock it out of the park this offseason to keep this team moving forward towards its sixth Lombardi Trophy.
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