San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft: Predicting All 7 Rounds
Whether they fill their safety and tight end holes in free agency or the draft is yet to be determined.
San Francisco has shown interest in numerous safeties since Goldson's departure, but don't be surprised if the Niners target a safety early in the draft even if they ink a starting free safety in the coming days.
As for the tight end void, a certain playmaker who played his college ball in the Bay Area may interest the 49ers.
Click ahead to read my third 49ers mock draft installment.
Projected compensatory picks not included in this slideshow.
Round 1: Tank Carradine, DE (Florida State)
Cornellius Carradine NFL Player Comparison
Previous Pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB
Will Glenn Dorsey play nose tackle or defensive end in San Francisco's 3-4 base defense?
I'd expect him to play a bit of both, specifically splitting time with Ian Williams at nose tackle.
San Francisco could still use another all-around defensive linemen, and Tank Carradine would fill that need.
The ferocious pass-rusher was only able to partake in the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, which isn't a surprise considering he's still recovering from tearing his ACL in November.
Carradine has the strength to be a stout run defender, but his best quality is his pass-rushing skills. He could line up outside or inside in San Francisco's 4-2-5 nickel defense.
With so few needs, the 49ers can afford to gamble on Carradine, who told Sports Illustrated he expects to be healthy in April. He has the potential to be one of the best players in the draft.
Round 2 (via Kansas City; Not Confirmed): Matt Elam, SS (Florida)
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I expect the 49ers to sign a starting safety in the coming days. Even if they do, Donte Whitner will be a free agent after the 2013 season.
Matt Elam reminds me of a younger Whitner.
One of Elam's biggest strengths is his ability to tackle in space. He may not have the ideal size and ball skills to be a free safety, but he should instantly fit in with the 49ers defense as a strong safety.
Another option for the Niners is to trade up into the middle of the first round to take Kenny Vaccaro, the top safety available.
Interestingly, Elam topped Vaccaro in the 40-yard dash time (4.54 to 4.63) at the combine. Years down the road, it wouldn't surprise me if Elam is considered the best safety of this class.
Round 2: Zach Ertz, TE (Stanford)
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Previous Pick: Sylvester Williams (North Carolina)
The 49ers need a Delanie Walker replacement. If Zach Ertz falls to the late second round, they'd be remiss not to snatch him up.
As a senior at Stanford, Ertz caught 69 passes for 898 yards and six touchdowns. Just imagine what his stats would have been like had he been playing with a better quarterback.
As an added bonus, Ertz played under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, although he was primarily Coby Fleener's backup.
The Niners aren't going to start the 2013 season with Garrett Celek as their No. 2 tight end. Expect the 49ers to target a tight end in the first two days of the draft (assuming they don't sign a free agent).
Round 3 (via Carolina): Darius Slay, CB (Mississippi State)
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Previous Pick: Tank Carradine, DE
If Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant is available when the 49ers are on the clock in the first round, they will likely select him.
If not, the 49ers might wait a couple of rounds before taking a cornerback.
The trio of Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Chris Culliver will likely play the majority of the snaps at cornerback in 2013. However, if Rogers doesn't have a bounce-back season, he'll be at risk of being cut.
Brown is also a free agent after the 2013 season.
Darius Slay, who had the fastest 40-yard dash time among cornerbacks who participated at the 2013 combine, would provide cornerback depth in 2013 and the potential to start down the road.
Round 3: Akeem Spence, DT (Illinois)
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Previous Pick: Jonathan Cyprien, S
After losing Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois in the recent days, the 49ers are devoid of depth on the defensive line.
Akeem Spence had 72 tackles for the Fighting Illini in 2012, an impressive amount for a defensive tackle.
The 6'1", 300-pounder run-stuffer would be an insurance policy just in case Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey struggle playing nose tackle in 2013.
Round 4: Matt Scott, QB (Arizona)
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Previous Pick: Matt Scott, QB
For the third mock in a row, I have the 49ers selecting Matt Scott in the fourth round.
The former Arizona signal-caller is used to running a spread offense and has plenty of arm strength to succeed in the NFL.
With Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien under contract, Scott would start the season as the No. 3 quarterback with the chance to move past Tolzien later in the year.
Round 5 (via Indianapolis): Ace Sanders, WR (South Carolina)
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Previous Pick: Ace Sanders, WR
The 49ers are clearly in the market for a return specialist.
If the Niners don't land Cribbs or another free-agent return specialist, they could target Ace Sanders in the draft.
The dynamic college returner took three punts to the house in his college career.
Round 5: Dustin Hopkins, K (Florida State)
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Previous Pick: Michael Williams, TE
After releasing David Akers, one of the 49ers' biggest needs is a kicker.
With the recent success of rookie kickers (such as Kai Forbath, Greg Zuerlein and Justin Tucker in 2012), the Niners are likely to look to the draft to fill the void.
Dustin Hopkins is the best kicker available in the draft.
Don't be surprised if the 49ers take him as early as the fourth round. They can't afford to have their kicker cost them wins in 2013.
Round 6 (via Miami): Travis Johnson, OLB (San Jose State)
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Previous Pick: Caleb Sturgis, K
Travis Johnson had a senior season to remember for San Jose State.
He was third in the nation in sacks with 13 as the Spartans surprised the college football world with an 11-win season.
The local prospect could provide depth at outside linebacker and help out on special teams.
Round 7 (via Cincinnati): Graham Pocic
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Previous Pick: Graham Pocic, C
How many more years does Jonathan Goodwin have left in the tank?
That's the all-important question when it comes to San Francisco's interest in drafting a center.
If the Niners plan on letting Goodwin walk after the 2013 season, they may draft a center before the seventh round.
At the least, they could take Graham Pocic to add depth on the interior of the offensive line.
Round 7: Knile Davis, RB (Arkansas)
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Previous Pick: Onterio McCalebb
Once upon a time, Knile Davis was one the top running back prospects in college football.
But after missing 2011 with an ankle injury and struggling in 2012, Davis is at risk of not even being drafted.
The 49ers don't have a need at running back, but a player as talented as Davis could be too good to pass up in the seventh round.