Zach's Draft Corner: Breaking Down Prospects for the 49ers in Rounds 2-7
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Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.
While the world tries to say they have infiltrated Fort Knox West, also known as the 49ers’ front office, I’m going to take a reprieve from the quarterback talk to focus on the rest of the draft. San Francisco made an impressive trade where they kept all their later2021 draft picks when moving up from no. 12 to no. 3. While there are no blatant holes on the roster, there are plenty of spots where depth is needed. This will read like a mock with an explanation for how the 49ers may get the best value for their picks, but I will also include names of alternates that could be considered at that point if they decide to go for a different position.
Pick 43 (Second Round) – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern University
Newsome is one of my top cornerbacks in this draft class, and there is a chance he is gone before this pick. However, his desire to play the receiver more than the ball and some durability questionscould lead him to fall a little in favor of a more aggressive option. If available, Newsome is a complete player as an outside cornerback, and would immediately improve the questionable secondary of the 49ers.
Other Considerations: Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue), Jayson Oweh (DE, Penn State), Wyatt Davis (IOL, Ohio State), Jevon Holland (S, Oregon), Jamin Davis (LB, Kentucky)
Pick 102 (Third Round) – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State University
With Kendrick Bourne leaving in free agency, the 49ers find themselves in need of a reliable third option to move the chains and get open in the red zone. While you typically think of Oklahoma State as having a wide-open vertical offense (where Wallace did succeed), Wallace’s best and most promising work came in the shorter areas of the field where the Cowboys needed to move the chains or push the ball into the end zone. Wallace’s versatility as a weapon is reminiscent of Emmanuel Sanders, who added a new dimension to the 49ers’ offense in his short stint with the team. Wallace would be the perfect replacement for Bourne in the short term, with the potential of providing even more as he develops.
Other Considerations: Hamsah Nasirildeen (S, Florida State), Andre Cisco (S, Syracuse), Israel Mukuamu (CB, South Carolina), Spencer Brown (OT, Northern Iowa), Kenneth Gainwell (RB, Memphis),
Pick 117 (Fourth Round) – Trey Smith, IOL, University of Tennessee
Smith is a rare combination of great size with elite athleticism. While Tennessee played him mainly in a man scheme, I think his athleticism shows promise for moving into more of a zone scheme. Similar to Maurice Hurst’sfallin the 2018 draft with a heart problem, blood clots in Smith’s lungs may push him further down the draft board than people expect based on his tape. However, Smith has played two seasons of clean football since the diagnosis and has taken the necessary steps to live a healthy life. I would roll the dice to fill the hole on the right side of the line.
Other Considerations: Patrick Johnson (DE, Tulane), Josh Imatorbhebhe (WR, Illinois), Ar’Darius Washington (S, Washington), Jaelon Darden (WR, North Texas)
Pick 155 (Fifth Round) – Tre Norwood, CB, University of Oklahoma
The 49ers were worried when K’Waun Williams became a free agent and was courted by the Chiefs. They have little backup plan in the slot for the cornerback position, so drafting a player who excels in the slot is necessary this year. Enter Norwood, who gets dinged for being slightly undersized, excelled in 2020 when Oklahoma moved him to be primarily a slot defender. At this spot in the draft, he wouldn’t be expected to be any more than that. He could learn from Williams for a season and step in seamlessly in 2022.
Other Considerations: Caden Stearns (S, Texas), Austin Watkins (WR, Alabama-Birmingham), Tommy Kraemer (IOL, Notre Dame), Anthony Schwartz (WR, Auburn)
Pick 172 (Fifth Round) – Walker Little, OT, Stanford University
Little was heralded as a first round talent in 2019 before a knee injury ended his season early. He vowed to come back in 2020 to rebuild his draft stock but ended up sitting out the season due to COVID-19. Scouts are worried because they have not seen him play a snap since early in the 2019 season, so he is now available in the middle of day three. The 49ers can capitalize on this, drafting a potential replacement for Mike McGlinchey in the fifth round, avoiding a hefty fifth-year option on a player yet to prove he deserves it.
Other Considerations: Paris Ford (S, Pittsburgh), Tony Fields II (LB, West Virginia), Dazz Newsome (WR, North Carolina), Drake Jackson (IOL, Kentucky), Charles Snowden (LB, Virginia)
Pick 180 (Fifth Round) – Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State University
Hubbard was one of my favorite prospects in 2019, but he decided to finish his degree at Oklahoma State. A conflict with the head coach over issues of race, and an ankle injury put a damper on his 2020 season, and now scouts are moving him back. In reality, I think he is just as strong of a prospect as those projected early on day two. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and displays game-breaking speed, even if his timed speed did not reflect that.
Other Considerations: Cade Johnson (WR, South Dakota State), Jack Anderson (IOL, Texas Tech), Brady Breeze (S, Oregon), Khyiris Tonga (DT, Brigham Young)
Pick 194 (Sixth Round) – Chris Rumph, DE, Duke University
Defensive line depth is a must after last season, and in this scenario, the 49ers have avoided it thus far. That changes with Rumph, who led the nation in pass rush win percentage and hurry percentage in 2019 (and finished top ten in that category in 2020). While he is a bit lean, Rumph has the speed and technique to generate pressure on the outside. He would be a situational pass rusher only, but the presence of Bosa and Arik Armstead negate the need for an edge defender who excels in run defense.
Other Considerations: Tariq Thompson (S, San Diego State), Tyree Gillespie (S, Missouri), Shaka Toney (DE, Penn State), Nick Eubanks (TE, Michigan)
Pick 230 (Seventh Round) – Whop Philyor, WR, University of Indiana
In addition to Bourne leaving, the 49ers also have not found a replacement for Trent Taylor. When healthy, Taylor was an excellent weapon out of the slot in the Kyle Shanahan scheme. Philyor can fill that role nicely, with a little extra playmaking ability than what Taylor showed in his days in red and gold. Philyor would complete this offense and would look great catching passes from Big Ten rival Justin Fields (did you really think we’d get through this article without mentioning quarterbacks?).
Other Considerations: Luke Farrell (TE, Ohio State), Javian Hawkins (RB, Louisville), Qwynterrio Cole (S, Alcorn State), Alaric Jackson (OT, Iowa), Zachary Thomas (IOL, San Diego State)
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