Last week, Evan Hoovler picked up the ball from the GMs of some NFL teams and figured out how they can fix their squads through the NFL Draft. The Raiders improved, the Bears fixed Mitchell Trubisky, the Packers got Aaron Rodgers some weapons and defense, the Chargers created a good offense to go with their great defense, and the Bengals fixed… pretty much everything. This week, I take my crack at figuring out how some squads should navigate through the upcoming NFL Draft. This week, I start with the San Francisco 49ers mock draft, who just barely didn’t have enough to pull it off against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. How can the Niners get over the hump and take home the Lombardi Trophy in 2020 …2021?
Unlike Evan, who has a strong, visceral hatred for draft day trades, I love them. And by love them, I mean I needed them because the 49ers have two first-rounders, and nothing until the fifth round. Instead of two big splashes and nothing else, I traded down several times in this draft. The 49ers are likely to take this tact, as well, since two firsts and a bunch of fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-round picks are unlikely to make a big dent on this Super Bowl roster. I utilized Pro Football Network’s Draft Simulator and completed three trade-downs in order to pick four times in the top-100
Round 1, Pick 13 – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The 49ers get one of the big wide receivers in this draft class. CeeDee Lamb is my favorite WR, and remained available after the Raiders took Jerry Jeudy in this mock draft. I am over the moon for a dynamic, versatile playmaker in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and he would be, too. The 49ers wheel and deal from here, but don’t pick again until round three.
Round 1, PIck 31
TRADE – Pick 42 and Pick 73, from Jacksonville
Round 2, Pick 42
TRADE – Pick 80 and Pick 81, from Las Vegas
Round 3, Pick 73 – Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
That #13 overall pick the 49ers used to snag CeeDee Lamb? They traded superstar defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to get it. They have plenty of defensive line talent, but losing Buckner is a huge blow. Why not replace him with a guy that NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares to DeForest Buckner?
Round 3, Pick 80
TRADE (Pick 98 and Pick 172, from New England)
Round 3, Pick 81 – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
The 49ers need to start worrying about their cornerbacks. Three of their top four are set to be free agents after 2020, including All-Pro Richard Sherman. He’s a long, athletic corner who desperately needs someone to take him under his wing and teach him the NFL game. If you’ve never seen Richard Sherman’s Student of the Game video, indulge yourself.
Round 3, Pick 98 – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Do the 49ers need Chase Claypool? Maybe, maybe not. If they want to use him at WR, this is a luxury pick. The Niners will have Deebo Samuel and CeeDee Lamb to top their WR corps, and Jalen Hurd making his 2020 NFL debut alongside Trent Taylor’s return makes for a very crowded wide receiver room. But if the 49ers plan to use him as a tight end, as he’s stated he could do, then the 49ers could boast an incredibly formidable one-two punch with Kittle and Claypool. Rumors swirled this week about the 49ers going after Evan Engram, so Claypool at TE could make for some hot tamales for Kyle Shanahan and his two-TE sets.
Round 5, Pick 156 – Robert Hunt, OT, Louisiana
Like Arnette, Hunt needs some seasoning. And like Arnette, the 49ers have a great OT to teach Hunt the ropes with Joe Staley. Staley took Mike McGlinchey under his wing, and the elder statesman of the 49ers locker room would be open to doing it again since riding off into the sunset is on Joe’s radar. At pick 156, the Niners could end up with a reliable swing tackle or starting RT once McGlinchey takes over for Staley protecting Jimmy G’s blindside.
Round 5, Pick 172 – Ben Bredeson, G, Michigan
The 49ers pick up a depth piece along the interior of the offensive line. Nothing exciting or shocking here.
Round 5, Pick 176 – Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa
49ers insider Matt Maiocco and I are simpatico on this one, and he points out that the Niners’ fifth-round CB could help on special teams right away.
Round 6, Pick 210 – Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Muse is a depth and rotational guy who plays a poor man’s version of the money backer role. I’m a sucker for these guys so getting one in the sixth round will have me hootin’ and hollerin’ for him getting snaps during the 49ers’ preseason games. He’s likely going to convert to linebacker full-time given that he’s too big and too slow to play safety in the NFL.
Round 7, Pick 217 – John Penisini, DT, Utah
Another 49ers depth pick, but he flashed at times for the Utes. He earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors against the Huskies while making Jacob Eason’s life a living hell. He is likely going to be a practice squad guy who might step in to help as a run-stopper if the 49ers’ defensive front falls apart again like it did towards the tail end of the 2019 NFL regular season.
Round 7, Pick 245 – Javon Leake, RB, Maryland
He tested extremely poorly at the combine. Big whoop, who cares? He’s the new Tevin Coleman for Kyle Shanahan and he gets a year of seasoning under the real Tevin Coleman. Leake was a part-time back at Maryland. He runs almost completely upright, but he’s fast as all get-out and uses his long strides and effortless speed to chew up massive chunks of territory. He was one of my big draft crushes, so getting him to the Niners in the last round epitomizes “best-case scenario.”
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