I was talking to Charlie Campbell on Saturday afternoon, and neither of us can remember a draft in which the No. 2 overall pick was such a huge question mark. The 49ers could literally pick one of eight players, and I wouldn't be surprised. If John Lynch opted to select someone out of the blue, like Christian McCaffrey, I wouldn't be shocked at all. We're trying to find out whom the 49ers will take, so hopefully we unearth something prior to Thursday evening. Then again, San Francisco may not be picking here; Charlie reported in the NFL Draft Rumor Mill that the 49ers are desperate to move down. In that link, you can read about how one team heard the 49ers will take Pat Mahomes!
I considered Jonathan Allen the overwhelming favorite here prior to the combine, and I then switched this pick to Solomon Thomas, but only really by default. There was no obvious selection that stood out to me. I then switched to Leonard Fournette because of the Carlos Hyde news, but after some discussions, it was pointed out that Fournette isn't a great fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense either. So, I went back to Thomas.
However, given the amount of resources the 49ers have spent on the defensive line, it could be possible that they'll select Jamal Adams instead. John Lynch is obviously a former safety, so he could see himself in Adams and opt for the LSU play-maker. A safety hasn't gone as high as No. 2 since the 1991 NFL Draft, but this class is weak, so this might be the right time for it.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Solomon Thomas, DE - If the pick is Thomas, I'll be kicking myself for changing my mind at the 11th hour.
2. Mitchell Trubisky, QB - I listed Trubisky as my "not" pick in my 2017 NFL NOT Draft, but the 49ers appear to be incompetent enough to completely block the possibility of landing Cousins by selecting a pedestrian quarterback prospect at No. 2 overall.
Takkarist McKinley has bounced all over my mock draft. He could go as high as No. 15, but he could also drop this far. Injuries are the concern here, and teams may avoid him if they're worried about his status.
Pick change; previously Jabrill Peppers, S
Rd. 3, Pk. 2
Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
This is a steal for the 49ers, who obtain a cornerback who could possibly go late in the first round.
Rd. 4, Pk. 2
Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
The 49ers have nothing at right tackle, yet weren't able to do anything about it in free agency.
Rd. 4, Pk. 36
Tyler Orlosky, C, West Virginia
Center is one of the many positions the 49ers need to address. They could do that in Rounds 3-5, based on the talent in this draft.
Rd. 5, Pk. 2
Elijah Qualls, DT/NT, Washington
With the 49ers moving to a 4-3, they'll need to collect some pieces that happen to fit their defense.
Rd. 5, Pk. 17
Chad Williams, WR, Grambling
The 49ers really have nothing at receiver outside of Pierre Garcon, so they could spend multiple picks on the position.
Rd. 6, Pk. 14
Joe Mathis, DE, Washington
Pick a position, any position. Save for left tackle, the 49ers need an upgrade. In this case, the 49ers need two defensive ends.
Pick change; previously Leon McQuay, S
Rd. 6, Pk. 18
Mock is currently being worked on. Last updated 10 month(s) 28 day(s) ago
Rd. 7, Pk. 1
Richie Brown, ILB/OLB, Mississippi State
The 49ers could take a linebacker much earlier than this, as they have a big need at the position.
A general manager told me the 49ers are desperate to trade down, and I think they have a shot at doing it. If the 49ers stay here, I've heard that the top candidates are Solomon Thomas, Jamal Adams and Marshon Lattimore. While I know lot of teams that graded Thomas as a mid- to late first-rounder, there are enough teams that like him in the top 10 that he should go high.
WalterFootball.com was the first to report that Thomas intended to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. The junior enjoyed an excellent 2016 season as a big presence on the edge of the Stanford defense. On the year, he had 62 tackles with 15 for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. Sources from seven NFL teams told me that they graded Thomas a mid- to late first-rounder. Two teams said they had Thomas in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, but there are enough teams in the top 10 that like him that he should go that high.
Thomas has good speed off the edge with strength and physicality. Teams feel that the 6-foot-2, 273-pounder fits best as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Many sources said that Thomas is a bit of a tweener and doesn't have a great fit in a 3-4 defense. He probably would play outside linebacker if drafted into a 3-4 scheme. Teams really like Thomas off the field as well.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Zach Cunningham, OLB/ILB, Vanderbilt
The 49ers could use a linebacker upgrade, and Cunningham is a good value in the second round.
In 2016, Cunningham totaled 125 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, three passes batted and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder is a quick, instinctive linebacker who is a reliable tackler. He is a versatile player with the skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. There has been buzz about Cunningham in scouting circles, and teams are giving him late first-round/early second-round grades.
In 2015, Cunningham totaled 103 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and four forced fumbles on the year. He was only a redshirt sophomore that season and has upside to develop.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
The 49ers could use more cornerback talent and have shown interest in Tabor.
Tabor totaled 33 tackles with four interceptions and six passes broken up in 2016. Because of getting in a fight with a teammate, Tabor was suspended for the 2016 opener, but he covered really well after that and was a ballhawk. As a sophomore, Tabor recorded 40 tackles, 14 passes broken up and four interceptions, two of them being pick-sixes. Tabor did hurt his draft stock with a suspension during his sophomore season as well. He had an excellent freshman season in 2014, totaling 31 tackles with an interception and eight passes broken up that year.
Some team sources say that Tabor's best role might be as a big nickel corner in the NFL. The 6-foot, 199-pounder is lacking long speed and can give up plays downfield. He is great underneath with very good instincts, feel and awareness. Sometimes though, he is too much of a gambler. Tabor succeeds when plays are in front of him, but gets in trouble with plays behind or over him. Multiple team sources like other first-round corner prospects more than Tabor, but Tabor still projects to Thursday night.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
The 49ers could take some running back depth with Carlos Hyde entering a contract year.
In 2016, Gallman averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 1,087 yards with 16 touchdowns. He tacked on 17 receptions for 113 yards as well. Gallman was the workhorse of the Clemson offense in 2015, averaging 5.4 yards per carry for 1,527 yards with 13 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 213 yards with a score.
Gallman (6-0, 215) has impressive feet with the ability to be elusive in the open field. He also possesses tremendous lateral quickness to dodge tacklers and a burst to accelerate running North-South. Gallman is a quick runner who could stand to add some weight for the next level.
Gallman already has some power to him to pound the ball for some tough yards and finish off runs. It would be good to see him improve his knee bend and pad level. He is a taller back, and as a result, he can run a little upright at times. That could lead to issues with injuries and ball security.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
George Kittle, TE, Iowa
The 49ers could grab some tight end depth and have shown interest in Kittle.
Kittle (6-4, 247) used the combine to help his draft stock as he ran much faster than expected in the 40 and worked out well on the field. As a senior, he made 22 receptions for 314 yards with four touchdowns while playing in a rushing offense. Kittle had 20 catches for 290 yards and six scores as a junior.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Nico Siragusa, G, San Diego State
The 49ers grab another offensive lineman.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
The 49ers grab a developmental quarterback.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Amba Etta-Tawo, WR, Syracuse
The 49ers will probably add a few receivers for competition.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Steven Taylor, OLB, Houston
The 49ers could use some outside linebacker for their switch to a 4-3 scheme.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Dalton Crossan, RB, New Hampshire
The 49ers get some backfield depth and hosted Crossan on a visit.
1) I don't see new head coach Kyle Shanahan rushing to select a QB with this pick. He got a six-year contract. Therefore, there is time to rebuild. There's also rumors he pushed for trading for Garoppolo while he was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland. If this year and next year's second round selections will get Belichick to make the deal, I think he does it. Otherwise, Jay Cutler or Matt Schaub could be temporary solutions.
2) The 49ers have spent two consecutive first-round selections on defensive linemen in Arik Armstead (17th in 2015) and DeForest Buckner (7th in 2016). The 49ers arguably have more roster needs than anyone. Drafting a third consecutive defensive lineman may seem questionable. Therefore, new General Manager John Lynch should field offers on trading out of this spot to address more roster needs.
3) The Robert Saleh hire as defensive coordinator suggest they are switching to a 4-3 defense similar to the Falcons under Dan Quinn. It values physical defensive backs and a relentless pass rush from the line. Jonathan Allen is rightfully a possibility here, but I got a hunch the 49ers will go with the local Stanford prospect in Solomon Thomas. He's rising on draft boards, and I predict he will have one of the best days at the combine. He can either play on the edge or between Buckner and Armstead to give the 49ers as the defensive line that compares to divisional rivals Rams and Seahawks. Thomas has even drawn comparisons to Michael Bennett and Aaron Donald.
Teams have told me the 49ers are desperate to trade down. Other teams say they think San Francisco is going with a quarterback at No. 2 if unable to deal this pick. I could see that because Trubisky is a good fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense. Additionally, I don't think the 49ers can bank on signing Kirk Cousins in free agency next year. <br> <br>
Recently, Cousins told Peter King of MMQB that he would like to stay in Washington. If Cousins hits free agency, would Cousins, who will be turning 30 next year, really chose to sign with a rebuilding project? He could have playoff teams like the Texans, Steelers or Chiefs pursuing him. There could be other teams closer to the playoffs with aging quarterbacks like the Cardinals, Chargers or Saints that might look to get younger with Cousins. Thus, I think if the 49ers are stuck at No. 2, they could opt to take whomever they see as the best quarterback of this draft class. <br> <br>
Trubisky looks like a second-round caliber prospect, but that doesn't preclude teams from reaching on him in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Some teams graded Trubisky in the second round, but teams across the league believe he will go in the top 10. One team picking in the top 10 that could take a quarterback told me Trubisky is the only quarterback prospect they would take that high. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was very efficient in 2016, flashing good decision-making and good accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field. He has a decent, but not great, arm and some athleticism. However, across the history of the NFL, there have been very few 1-year college starters who turned into good pro starters. His accuracy going downfield is also something he needs to improve. <br> <br>
The junior beat up on some weak secondaries in 2016, but it still is impressive that he had three straight games throwing for over 400 yards without throwing a single interception. On the season, Trubisky completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns.
The 49ers badly need a quarterback. Whether to select DeShone Kizer and Mitch Trubisky will make for an interesting debate leading up the 2017 NFL Draft. Thus far, I've heard more team sources higher on Kizer because they prefer his skill set. On the flip side, one general manager told me he that he prefers Trubisky because he won more than Kizer did in 2016. It is very early, however, and last year, teams across the league had Carson Wentz rated over Jared Goff, though that didn't matter for the Rams. At least San Francisco is in position to definitely land one of the two if the organization's decision makers want one of them. <br> <br>
Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problems for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. <br> <br>
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground. <br> <br>
The 49ers badly need a quarterback, but I don't see Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch liking any of the 2017 NFL Draft's signal-callers enough to be the No. 2 pick. I think Shanahan and Lynch will go with a safer player for the first pick of their regime. With the 49ers going to a 4-3, Allen could be their three-technique with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead as their defensive ends. San Francisco had the worst rushing defense in the NFL in 2016, plus gave up the most points of any team in the league. Allen will help stop that. <br> <br>
In 2016, Allen totaled 62 tackles, 15 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, two passes batted and one interception returned 75 yards for a touchdown. He dominated at the point of attack all year and was very disruptive. Consistently, Allen used his speed and strength to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. He is a tough run defender, yet can also beat guards or tackles in the pass rush. <br> <br>
Allen played really well in 2015 with 36 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes batted. He totaled 33 tackles with 11.5 for a loss and 5.5 sacks the year before. <br> <br>
In a 4-3 scheme, the 6-foot-3, 294-pounder could play three-technique defensive tackle, like Aaron Donald, or be an end who moves inside in passing situations. Allen rushed from the inside for Alabama, yet also could serve as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. Allen has some natural pass-rushing skills to him along with quickness and strength. He is very fast at the point of attack with the power to shed blocks.
I think the 49ers, Bears, or Browns are likely to trade back into the first round for Watson. If the 49ers move down with Carolina as rumored, they would have more ammo to move back into Round 1. <br> <br>
I personally think Watson is a third-round prospect, but there are a lot of quarterback-desperate teams that could push him higher than where he should go. I know multiple playoff teams that are grading him in Round 3. One said they had him as a third-, fourth-rounder. A couple other teams told me they grade him in Round 2, but all of them wouldn't be surprised if Watson was taken late in Round 1, like the Vikings did with Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 NFL Draft. We've seen a long track record of desperation trigging huge quarterback reaches this decade with the likes of Jared Goff, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker. Thus, Watson still has a serious shot at going early in the 2017 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
In 2016, Watson completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had nine rushing touchdowns as well. Watson turned in a underwhelming performances during the year against Auburn, Troy, Georgia Tech and Louisville. However, he played much better during the final month of the regular season and in the postseason. <br> <br>
A problem for Watson in 2016 was poor accuracy in the first two-thirds of the season. He has lots of room for improvement with his field vision and ball placement. Watson missed wide-open receivers for scores throughout 2016. He also will have to make huge jump to a pro-style offense learning to work under center and call plays in the huddle. The Clemson offense predetermined where Watson would throw pre-snap, so he will need to learn to make reads for the NFL. Watson is great off the field with work ethic, character, leadership skills, and loving football. <br> <br>
As a sophomore, Watson (6-2, 221) made some beautiful passes and was a big-time point producer. Watson played really well in 2015 to lead Clemson to the National Championship game. In 2015, Watson completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,105 yards with 12 scores.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Deshaun Watson Going to 49ers
Rd. 1, Pk. 3
Solomon Thomas, DE/3-4OLB/OLB
This is John Lynch's first draft, but it doesn't seem like it. Lynch stole two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder from the poorly run Bears, and yet he still obtained a player he could've selected No. 2 overall. Solomon Thomas is a terrific pass-rusher and a great team leader, and he fills a huge need for the 49ers. He'll be a cornerstone of that defense, and it's great that the 49ers were able to pick up lots of picks in the process. I love this move.
Rd. 1, Pk. 31
Reuben Foster, ILB
John Lynch is having an amazing first draft, and I may have to redact the poor grade I gave the 49ers for hiring him a few months ago. He picked up some extra selections, landed a talented edge rusher, and he now added a great linebacker prospect to fill a huge need. Reuben Foster is a top-10 prospect and would've gone in that range if he didn't have injury concerns. Foster has drawn Luke Kuechly and Ray Lewis comparisons, so San Francisco is getting a dynamic talent if Foster can stay healthy. Foster was great in college last year, so I don't understand all the worry. The 49ers made out like bandits here, unlike last year, when they traded up for a third-round guard prospect.
Rd. 3, Pk. 2
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB
The 49ers are having a great draft. In addition to this selection and what they did in the first round, they also picked up a second-round choice from the Bears in 2018, which could be in the 40-45 range. Witherspoon has consistency issues, but he's a tall, speedy cornerback who actually covered John Ross well in their matchup. He could miss a lot of tackles, however.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Alvin Kamara, RB
This is a very difficult grade to make. On one hand, Alvin Kamara is a steal in the third round because he easily could've gone exactly one round earlier. On the other hand, the Saints surrendered a 2018 second-round pick to get another running back, when they just signed Adrian Peterson? I don't know about that. I'd love this if the Saints didn't give up such a valuable resource, but I have to penalize them.
Rd. 3, Pk. 40
C.J. Beathard, QB
DREW PEARSON REGISTERS AS 100-PERCENT USDA MAN MILLEN Grade
This pick reminds me so much of the Browns taking Cody Kessler last year. Kessler was a late-round prospect who was chosen in the third frame for some reason. The same happened with C.J. Beathard, whom I had in the Round 5-7 range. Making matters worse, the 49ers traded up for him! Why in the world would they do that!? Beathard has accuracy issues and miserable pocket awareness, and he just doesn't look like anything more than an average backup in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 14
Joe Williams, RB
After a hot start, John Lynch has cooled off. I'm not sure why he traded up for Joe Williams. The Utah prospect is already 24, and he has some off-the-field issues. He was arrested for credit card theft and then quit the team last year. Williams is talented and fits the offense, but he's a huge risk.
Rd. 5, Pk. 2
George Kittle, TE
Here's another great tight end pick. George Kittle was a third-round prospect for me, as he was productive at Iowa and then went on to test very well athletically. Kittle also blocks very well to boot. This is an excellent selection by the 49ers, despite not needing a tight end.
Rd. 5, Pk. 33
Trent Taylor, WR
I didn't have Trent Taylor drafted in my mock, but he was on my board, so he was close. Taylor will be a slot receiver for the 49ers, and he's agile enough that it's not crazy to think that he could become a Julian Edelman-type player. I'm not saying he'll become that, but the testing numbers say he at least has a chance. Still, this is a bit early for him, as he could just as easily fail to make the roster.
Rd. 6, Pk. 14
D.J. Jones, DT
This pick would've made more sense had the 49ers still been running the 3-4. D.J. Jones can stuff the run pretty well, but with poor athleticism, he doesn't project to becoming a potent pass-rusher. Still, he makes sense in this range as a role player.
Rd. 6, Pk. 18
Pita Taumoepenu, OLB
I didn't have Pita Taumoepenu being drafted, as he's an undersized tweener (6-1, 243) who has seven career starts at Utah. If he doesn't make it on special teams, he'll be out of the league quickly.
Rd. 7, Pk. 11
Adrian Colbert, SS
I had neither talked to anyone nor seen a report that Adrian Colbert would be drafted. He wasn't productive at Miami, but he did run a 4.38 at his pro day, so at least that's something. It's doubtful Colbert makes the 53-man roster.