San Francisco 49ers Last-Minute 7-Round Mock Draft and Top-100 Big Board
If they want, they can stay there and take one of the top-tier players in the draft—either Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil or Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley. One of them probably will fall to pick No. 7 on Thursday night.
Or, the Niners could trade down, pick up another second-rounder and draft someone from the second tier of prospects in Round 1—either Houston cornerback William Jackson III, Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd or Ohio State’s Darron Lee.
Or, the Niners could trade up in Round 1 and get someone special. Someone transcendent. A once-in-a-generation player.
This mock draft explores the trade-up scenario.
Top-100 Big Board
This is how I think the 49ers will stack their big board. This is not how I think every team will stack its big board. Every team ranks players differently based on scheme, fit and need.
For example, some teams will rank Jared Goff the top quarterback in the draft, and those teams probably have finesse, pass-first offenses. The Niners have a physical, run-first offense, which doesn't suit Goff. So, I rank him low on this board. Got it?
Here's the board:
|1||Jalen Ramsey||CB/S||Florida State|
|2||Joey Bosa||EDGE||Ohio State|
|3||Ronnie Stanley||OT||Notre Dame|
|4||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|6||Darron Lee||ILB||Ohio State|
|8||William Jackson III||CB||Houston|
|9||Jack Conklin||OT||Michigan State|
|12||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|15||Chris Jones||DT||Mississippi State|
|16||Taylor Decker||OT||Ohio State|
|21||Cody Whitehair||G||Kansas State|
|22||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
|23||Emmanuel Ogbah||EDGE||Oklahoma State|
|24||Vernon Butler||DT||Louisiana Tech|
|27||Noah Spence||EDGE||Eastern Kentucky|
|30||Shilique Calhoun||EDGE||Michigan State|
|31||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota State|
|35||Karl Joseph||S||West Virginia|
|36||Joe Thuney||G/T||North Carolina State|
|37||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss|
|38||Michael Thomas||WR||Ohio State|
|42||Kalan Reed||CB||Southern Mississippi|
|44||Nick Martin||C||Notre Dame|
|45||Robert Nkemdiche||DT||Ole Miss|
|48||Kenneth Dixon||RB||Louisiana Tech|
|52||Austin Johnson||DT||Penn State|
|53||Adolphus Washington||DT||Ohio State|
|55||Joshua Perry||ILB||Ohio State|
|57||Darian Thompson||S||Boise State|
|58||Vonn Bell||S||Ohio State|
|60||Kyler Fackrell||EDGE||Utah State|
|61||Justin Simmons||S||Boston College|
|71||Nick Kwiatkoski||ILB||West Virginia|
|72||Carl Nassib||EDGE||Penn State|
|73||Kamalei Correa||EDGE||Boise State|
|74||Sheldon Day||DT||Notre Dame|
|75||Jerell Adams||TE||South Carolina|
|76||Michael Thomas||WR||Southern Mississippi|
|78||Bronson Kaufusi||DT||Brigham Young|
|79||Javon Hargrave||DT||South Carolina State|
|80||Rashard Higgins||WR||Colorado State|
|81||Isaac Seumalo||G||Oregon State|
|82||Christian Westerman||G||Arizona State|
|86||Will Fuller||WR||Notre Dame|
|91||Will Redmond||CB||Mississippi State|
|92||Devin Lucien||WR||Arizona State|
|94||Kevin Peterson||CB||Oklahoma State|
|95||Braxton Miller||WR||Ohio State|
|96||Steven Daniels||ILB||Boston College|
|98||Jack Allen||C||Michigan State|
TRADE: Picks 7, 68 and a fourth-rounder in 2017 to Dallas for Pick 4
The Dallas Cowboys need a running back and could target Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott, but they don’t have to take him at No. 4. They can trade down a few spots and still can get him.
San Francisco could be Dallas’ ideal trading partner. The Niners own No. 7 and may want to trade up. They currently have 12 selections—one in Round 1, one in Round 2, one in Round 3, two in Round 4, three in Round 5 and four in Round 6. The Niners don’t need all of those picks.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller thinks the Niners will “try to move up” in Round 1 if Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey falls. For the Niners to move up to No. 4, they probably would have to trade Dallas a first-rounder this year, a third-rounder this year and a fourth-rounder next year.
Round 1, Pick 4 (from Dallas): Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
The Niners need superstar talent, and Ramsey could have Hall of Fame potential.
Ramsey is both the best cornerback and the best safety in the draft. He has the athleticism to play man coverage, the awareness to play zone, the speed and instincts to play single-high safety and the strength and toughness to play strong safety or even linebacker. He’s rare.
On the 49ers, Ramsey could play the first few seasons of his career at cornerback and eventually replace Eric Reid at free safety when Reid hits 30.
Round 2, Pick 37: Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB, Oklahoma State
In terms of edge-rushers, Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah is exactly what the 49ers look for. He’s tall (6'4"), he’s fast (4.59 40-yard dash at his Pro Day), he has long arms (35 ½"), he can bull rush, he can convert speed to power and he has a terrific outside rip move.
Basically, he’s a souped-up version of Aaron Lynch, the 49ers' left outside linebacker. Lynch and Ogbah would make a great tandem.
Ogbah probably will fall to Round 2 because he struggles at times against the run. The Niners can play him in the sub-packages as a pass-rushing specialist his first couple of seasons until he improves at stopping the run.
Round 4, Pick 105: Jaylon Smith, ILB, Notre Dame
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that some team will draft Notre Dame inside linebacker Jaylon Smith before Round 4. “Even with the catastrophic knee injury,” Schefter tweeted, “Smith is expected to [be] gone by end of round 3, maybe earlier, per league sources.”
Schefter is one of the best, but I’m skeptical of this report. According to Schefter himself, “Smith is not expected to play in 2016, and teams are unsure when he will play again.” How could any team spend a Day 1 or Day 2 pick on a player who may not play for a long time?
Smith seems like a Day 3 risk, similar to running back Marcus Lattimore in 2013. The Niners will take a Day 3 risk. If Smith is available at the beginning of Round 4, I expect they’ll take him, and he’ll get to rehab with the same trainers who helped NaVorro Bowman return from a gruesome knee injury in 2013.
Round 4, Pick 133: Daniel Lasco, RB, Cal
Carlos Hyde isn't a “bell cow” running back like his predecessor, Frank Gore. Gore could carry an offense for an entire season. Hyde isn’t durable enough to do that. He needs a quality backup.
Cal’s Daniel Lasco is one of the most talented running backs in the draft, but he’ll fall because he missed most of last season with hip and ankle injuries. He almost certainly isn’t a “bell cow” back, either.
But Lasco is an electric change-of-pace back who can catch passes on third down. He’s 6'0", 210 pounds and ran a 4.4 at his pro day. He and Hyde can split carries and keep each other healthy.
Round 5, Pick 142: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan seems to have everything head coach Chip Kelly looks for in a quarterback.
Hogan has accuracy, mobility and intelligence. He makes great decisions before plays and during them, he throws with anticipation, he’s poised under pressure, he graduated from college and he set a school record in wins.
Hogan could play Week 1 next season, but the Niners probably won’t need him to. They still have Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. So Hogan can sit for a year, develop and shorten his throwing motion.
Round 5, Pick 145: D.J. Reader, NT, Clemson
One player the 49ers interviewed at the combine, according to the Independent Mail's Dan Hope—Clemson nose tackle D.J. Reader.
Reader may be the best nose tackle in the draft. He’s big (6'3", 327 lbs), strong (30 reps on the bench), and long (33 ⅝-inch arms)—long enough that he can play head-up against offensive tackles as a 4-technique defensive end if the Niners need him to.
But the Niners primarily would draft Reader to play nose tackle, a position of need. The top two nose tackles on the depth chart—Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey—currently are rehabbing injuries.
Round 5, Pick 174: Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Even though the Niners must replace Anquan Boldin, they can afford to wait until Day 3 to draft a receiver.
The Niners still don’t know what they have in Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington or DeAndre Smelter—three former fourth-round picks who haven’t played much. (Or at all, in Smelter’s case. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve.) Those three should get a chance to play and prove themselves next season.
While they’re playing, the Niners can develop a Day 3 pick who has potential. Bowling Green’s Roger Lewis is one of the most talented receivers in the draft. He averaged 16.7 yards per catch in college and caught 23 touchdown passes in two seasons. He could fall to Day 3 because he was charged with two counts of first-degree felony rape in 2012, although he was convicted of neither charge.
Round 6, Pick 178: Rees Odhiambo, G/T, Boise State
The Niners need a right guard to pair with recently signed left guard Zane Beadles in Kelly’s zone-blocking scheme.
The Niners seem to be looking for guards roughly Beadles’ size. When Beadles entered the draft in 2010, he was 6'4" and 310 pounds. According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the Niners have met with Boise State guard Rees Odhiambo, who is a Beadles-esque 6'4" and 314 pounds.
Both Beadles and Odhiambo are quality zone-blockers who can run downfield and block linebackers and safeties. But Odhiambo broke his ankle last season, which is why he may fall to Round 6.
Round 6, Pick 207: Dadi Lhomme Nicolas, OLB, Virginia Tech
In 2015, the 49ers defense recorded just 28 sacks, which ranked 29th in the NFL. San Francisco needs as many pass-rushers as it can get.
Virginia Tech’s Dadi Lhomme Nicolas may never have a position in the NFL, but he can rush the quarterback. He recorded 8.5 sacks as a junior in 2014.
Nicolas is “merely” 235 pounds, so he may be too small to set the edge as an outside linebacker. Perhaps the Niners can play him at inside linebacker on running downs and move him to defensive end on passing downs.
Round 6, Pick 211: Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
Former seventh-round pick Trent Brown played well enough as a rookie last season to merit the starting right tackle job in 2016. But he needs a backup.
South Carolina right tackle Brandon Shell started four seasons in the SEC, and last season allowed zero sacks and only one quarterback hit, according to the 2016 Pro Football Focus draft guide.
Shell may not be athletic enough to play left tackle in the NFL, but he certainly has the power and the length (34 ¾-inch arms) to play right tackle.
Round 6, Pick 213: Taveze Calhoun, CB, Mississippi State
Both 49ers general manager Trent Baalke and Coach Kelly like big cornerbacks.
Mississippi State’s Taveze Calhoun is similar to Maxwell. Calhoun is 6'0", his arms are 31 ⅞ inches and he excels in press-man coverage. But he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine, which could drop him down to Round 6.