Updated March 12, 2019
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Around NFL teams and in the national media, the assumption is the Cardinals or another team will select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. At No. 2 therefore, there is a consensus that the 49ers will take Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa. From speaking to 49ers sources, however, the team is very torn on who to take with that pick due to loving Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Multiple team sources were more enthusiastic about Williams than they were about Bosa at the NFL Scouting Combine and in the week afterward.
Sources with the 49ers were gushing about Williams. They think he is a rare prospect with an amazing skill set of speed and athleticism. Team sources also like Williams' makeup as an individual, and they are very high on his immense upside. Team sources were gushing about how Williams dominated in 2018 in only his first season of real playing time. They feel that the sky is the limit for his potential.
With Bosa, their praise was not as effusive. They like him and feel he is probably the safer pick, but they did not talk about him as being as special of a player or athlete like Williams is. The other thing going for Bosa is edge rush is a bigger need than defensive tackle. Defensive end Solomon Thomas has been a massive disappointment in the pass rush department, while defensive tackle DeForest Buckner was superb last year, ripping off 12 sacks in his third season.
The 49ers want to improve their pass rush, and team sources said that taking Williams to pair with Buckner could be similar to the Los Angeles Rams pairing Ndamukong Suh with Aaron Donald. Another edge rusher who has been projected to be in play for the 49ers is Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, but 49ers sources were not high on Allen for the No. 2 pick. Allen would be more of a candidate if they traded down. Trading down is also an option that San Francisco would consider.
Five years ago, I remember hearing similar things coming from the Rams. Los Angeles had a lot of staffers with the team that were in love with Khalil Mack coming out of Buffalo. During the final pre-draft meetings, however, the team switched to Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson being their choice for the No. 2-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Tackle was the bigger need, so that won out, overtaking the player that the team liked more. Obviously, that ended up being a huge mistake as Robinson was a bust for the Rams and Mack is one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
It will be interesting to see whether the 49ers settle on taking the player who is the bigger need, or going with the prospect who they feel could be the better player. Heading into the pro days, pre-draft visits, and final rounds of draft meetings, the 49ers are debating between those two players if they stay at the No. 2-overall pick, with Williams being the player they are higher on, but Bosa being viewed as the safer pick and filling a more pressing need.