By: Chris Sanchez (@Chucky__Sanchez)
Final Edit: (@Zachhernan)
Here we are, two days away from the 2017 draft. I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the most exciting times for NFL fans everywhere. Not only has it been close to three months since we have had any significant football games played. More importantly, the draft is a critical step in the process of building an NFL team. Teams that are maybe one to two players away can find the guy or guys who put their franchise over the top. Teams in the middle tier can climb their way to contender status on the strength of a good draft. Lastly, for bad teams it is critical to have successful drafts in order to rebuild their rosters and keep a glimmer of hope in the minds of their fan bases. The 49ers are most certainly in this last category.
It is of the utmost importance for John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan, and company to hit not one but several proverbial home runs during the upcoming draft. They need to find cornerstones to build around on both sides of the ball, something that their predecessors largely failed to do.
Shanahan needs explosive and versatile skill position players in addition to an athletic offensive line in order for his scheme to function at its best. Further, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defense requires a very specific type of athlete at all levels of the defense for it to work they way it is supposed to. Sure, some of these needs have been addressed through free agency. But make no mistake, the real building blocks on offense and defense will be acquired through the draft. The current 49ers roster is one with many question marks that must be addressed. And while Lynch and Shanahan have said and done all the right things up until now, the draft is their first true test. They will be judged for years to come based on the strength, or lack thereof of this year’s draft. They absolutely need to hit the ground running and kick this rebuilding process off with a bang.
With that in mind, I have prepared my first and only mock draft. Let’s take a look.
#2 Overall – Jamal Adams |S| Louisiana State
Adams is a rare talent and a superb leader. He can play as an in-the-box safety or dropped back for the single-high look à la Earl Thomas. He can can even fill the nickel corner role if needed. His football IQ is off the charts and there are zero character questions when it comes to him. He also gives the 49ers a replacement for Eric Reid while allowing Jimmie Ward to either stay at corner of move to FS.
*While Malik Hooker is a good pick here also, he is not as versatile as Adams and is coming off a torn labrum in his hip which tends to be a recurring type of injury.
#34 Overall – Kevin King |CB| Washington
King is the prototype press corner needed in the “Seattle” 4-3 defense. He stands at 6’3″ and ran a superb 4.43 second 40-yard dash. He would automatically fill in for the recently released Tramaine Brock and line up at corner opposite Rashard Robinson. This would give the 49ers two extremely athletic cornerbacks.
#66 Overall – Davis Webb |QB| California
Davis checks all the boxes when it comes to physical attributes for a QB. He has the size, arm strength, and mobility needed to one day be an elite NFL QB. His detractors will point out that he came from the “Air Raid” offense and never played under center in addition to having little to none audible authority. However, the 49ers do not need him to step in right away. He can sit behind Brian Hoyer and learn Shanahan’s offense until he is ready. Quarterbacks this physically talented are hard to come by.
#109 Overall – Josh Reynolds |WR| Texas A&M
Reynolds is a bit raw technique-wise. However, there is no denying his physical stature (6’3″) and his leaping ability. He also has good speed. Reynolds is the perfect deep and/or red zone threat that Shanahan covets.
#143 overall – Blair Brown |ILB| Ohio
Brown is an instinctive and physical linebacker. He constantly beats blockers and is an extremely effective tackler. Although a bit undersized, he has all the intangibles required for the position and could in the future be the perfect pairing for Navorro Bowman.
#146 Overall – Dawuane Smoot |DE| Illinois
Smoot possesses a relentless motor and multiple pass-rushing moves. He can play with his hand in the ground or standing up. He would be the perfect guy to groom for the critical LEO position in this 4-3 defense.
#161 Overall – Donnel Pumphrey |RB| San Diego State
Pumphrey, although undersized, is an excellent back with outstanding speed and elusive moves. He is best when running the outside zone, which is a staple of Shanahan’s offense. He can also be lined up all over the field as a pass-catcher. Could be used in the mold of a Tevin Coleman.
#186 Overall – Jermaine Eluemunor |OG| Texas A&M
Eluemunor has outstanding strength at the point of attack and good functional mobility to fit Shanahan’s scheme. He good at both pass protection and run-blocking. Although a bit raw, he has a very high ceiling if coached properly.
#202 Overall – KD Cannon |WR| Baylor
Cannon has great speed and athleticism. He is elusive in the open field and is very good at tracking the ball in the air. Another toy for Shanahan to play with.
#219 Overall – Grover Stewart |DT| Albany St.
Stewart has all the physical traits required to be a dominant DT in the NFL. He is raw and will need good amounts of coaching. The ultimate project for the defensive line. If he pans out he could anchor the middle of that defensive line for years.
Well, there you have it. I used the ten picks available to the 49ers and addressed what I view as the team’s needs as best as I could. I picked several serious athletes who possess unlimited potential. If this coaching staff performs to its abilities, there is a very good chance that this haul provides a great foundation for years to come.
Be sure to let us know what you thought, whether you liked it or not, on Twitter: @Chucky__Sanchez & @49ersHive!