By: Zach Hernandez (@Zachhernan)
I know some of these players may not fall as far as they did in this mock, but I did five mocks and took an average of where these players were selected and took that into consideration when selecting players. You guys asked for it, so here it is! Hope you like it.
RD 1: Pick 2 – TRADE – Cleveland – Pick 12
Deshaun Watson – QB, Clemson
San Francisco finds the perfect trade-back partner in Cleveland. In exchange for #2 overall, the 49ers receive 12, 33, and a 2018 first-round pick from the Browns. With the reports coming out that Cleveland is torn between Garrett and Trubisky, why not trade up to 2 and get both? The 49ers met with Watson this week and I’m sure found out for themselves that he is a very intelligent young man – the type of man Lynch and Shanahan need. While some may point out he came from a “one-read system” at Clemson, Watson definitely has the ability to learn Kyle’s offense over due time. With Brian Hoyer primed to start this season, San Francisco could be the perfect spot for Watson. There would be no immediate pressure to start or succeed right away, which could be detrimental to a young QB’s growth.
RD 2: Pick 1 (From CLE)
Budda Baker – S, Washington
The 49ers get a physical, versatile defensiveback in Baker. Although he is a bit smaller than desired, Budda was still able to be a premier playmaker during his time in Washington. Baker covers receiver exceptionally well and with the versatility to play both safety and linebacker if need be, the 49ers could fill two holes with one pick. Baker can fly across sideline-to-sideline – running a 4.45 sec. 40-yard dash. Budda also brings a tremendous ability to rush the passer to the Bay. He may need to bulk up a bit to compete against NFL sized talent, but can probably start day one.
RD 2: Pick 2
TJ Watt – DE/OLB, Wisconsin
Watt will become the third Watt brother in the NFL come April. He’ll bring an outside presence desperately needed to San Francisco. He would fit in perfectly as a base end for their 4-3 defense. He uses his long arms to his benefit when attacking blockers. NFL has his pro comparison as Paul Krueger and I think that is spot on (Kruger in Baltimore, that is). Watt is a highly competitive, high motor type of guy. He comes from a family of NFL players so he’ll transition easily. He might not be the fastest coming out, but he will win more often than not with sheer power and effort. If I were a GM, Watt is a guy I’d want on my team.
RD 3: Pick 2
Zay Jones – WR, East Carolina
Zay comes from a long line of professional football players and he will join them once the draft comes. He is a strong, possession receiver who is willing to go across the middle and catch the ball with a big hit imminent. More often than not Zay will win the jump ball, which is a skill the 49ers would do just about anything to have after the last few seasons. Jones has lined up both outside and in the slot so they can plug him in wherever they see fit. While he may not be burning many DB’s, Jones wins because of his physicality and knowledge of the game. One might argue his high number of receptions was due to the scheme at East Carolina, but what better coach to scheme Zay open at the next level than Kyle?
RD 4: Pick 2
Rasul Douglas – CB, West Virginia
Douglas is a true ballhawk, he led FBS in interceptions last year. At 6’2″ 209lbs, Douglas has prototypical size for the Seattle defense the 49ers will be mirroring. He excels in zone coverage and covers his assignments well. He has a knack for the ball and often is able to win the jump, 50/50 balls. He has a high football IQ and is able to predict routes. Douglas has great vision and reads the QB’s eyes exceptionally well. While he isn’t the best tackler, Rasul could bring much-needed coverage skills to Saleh’s defense.
RD 4: Pick 36 (Compensatory Pick)
D’onta Foreman – RB, Texas
With the likes of Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and many more, it is easy to see how D’onta could be overlooked in this draft. Foreman led the FBS in rushing yards per game with 184.4, and totaled a whopping 2,028 yards on 323 carries with 15 touchdowns. With a stress fracture in his foot preventing him from doing agility drills at the combine, Foreman will most likely fall until the mid-late rounds. D’onta is a superb athlete, even at 233lbs! Arm tackles will simply not bring this guy down; he will run straight through you. Foreman has exceptional footwork and runs with finesse. He does have some ball security concerns (6 fumbles at Texas), but if Foreman can hang on to the rock he could be a total steal in the fourth round.
RD 5: Pick 2
Vincent Taylor – DT, Oklahoma State
The 49ers get a 2016 first-team all-conference selection to plug into that defensive line. Taylor led his team with 13 tackles for loss and a FBS leading four blocked kicks! He ran a 5.07 and 26 bench press reps at the combine. Taylor is explosive coming off the snap, and uses his exceptional upper-body strength to bull-rush blockers. Taylor left the Big 12 producing consistent pressure for consecutive seasons. He would fit in perfectly as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Taylor sometimes appears really stiff and he will need to work with the D-line coach to improve on his flexibility, but if he can improve on that he could be a productive pass-rusher for years to come for San Francisco.
RD 5: Pick 17
Blair Brown – ILB, Ohio
While Brown’s size may not scream NFL starter, he plays bigger than he really is. Blair is an extremely instinctual linebacker with a nose for the ball. He has a high football IQ and is able to get ahead of blocks. Brown tackles as good as anyone in this class, a trait the 49ers have not had in years. He has great speed in small distances and is able to sniff screens out and disrupt them before they happen. in 2016, Brown led the team with 128 tackles and 4.5 sacks to go along with that. Brown may not have the best speed, but I think he could develop into a nice complement to Bowman.
RD 6: Pick 14
Stevie Tu’ikolovatu – DT, Southern California
Pronounced “TOO-ee-koe-loe-VAH-too”, Stevie left Utah to compete for more playing time at USC and appears to have worked out. With 52 tackles (2 tackles for loss), Stevie finished as a second-team all-conference pick. He is a true rags-to-riches story, as he spent last summer living completely out of his car. That is, until Stevie was able to start receiving housing from the NCAA. Tu’ikolovatu’s best trait has to be his initial punch once the ball is snapped. Stevie wants more than to just eat up blockers, he is always looking to disengage and make the play. While he does need to work on his pass-rushing abilities to succeed at the next level, but could eventually be a solid rotational player for the team.
RD 6: Pick 8
Cole Hikutini – TE, Louisville
I’ve mocked Hikutini to the 49ers previously, and I will again due to the need and value he provides. Recently, Cole has been rising up draft boards so I’m not even sure he’ll be here in the sixth round once April comes around. However, for the sake of this draft let’s say he is. At 6’4″ 247lbs, Cole is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He was Heisman Trophy-winner Lamar Jackson’s security blanket for the past two years. Hikutini led the Cardinals in receptions (50) and receiving touchdowns (8), and was also second in receiving yards (668). Hikutini has the ability to bend linebackers and safeties out of their correct formation while running certain routes. Although he is one of the biggest tight ends in this class, Hikutini needs improvement on his run-blocking skills. If he can produce as a special teams ace as a start, he might make the final 53-man roster.
RD 7: Pick 1
Robert Davis – WR, Georgia State
The 49ers get a receiver who can fly. Davis ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine, and led the Sun Belt in receiving yards (77.8 per game) his senior year. In total, Davis racked up 968 yards on 67 receptions, 14.4 yards per catch, and five touchdown receptions. At 6’3″ 219lbs, Robert has the ideal size and speed to play WR in the NFL. The 49ers signed Marquise Goodwin this offseason as their burner, but Davis could train under him and develop his game to be Marquise’s eventual replacement. Robert has great hands and an exceptional ability to track the ball and adjust to catch it. Worth noting – Davis’ combine tests resulted in a SPARQ score of 141.5, which puts him in the 98.8th percentile among NFL WRs. Even though he has 4.40 speed, it doesn’t always translate into his game as he is not able to consistently create separation. Just like with Zay Jones, Shanahan could be the perfect fit to scheme Davis open at the next level.