Every offseason, mock drafts are used to project out who will go where in a given draft. We know they will only be modestly accurate at best because there will be trades, and some players slip or climb. The media talks about players moving up and down draft boards, but barring a Dallas Cowboys-type mistake where a team accidentally shows their draft board, we really don't know what any given team's draft board looks like.
The San Francisco 49ers would seem likely to grab a cornerback or wide receiver with their first round pick. That's far from a certainty, but based on what we know about this team, those two positions seem the most logical. The 49ers have shown a willingness to be aggressive in moving around the draft board, so which players might slip to No. 30 is not necessarily of the utmost importance. However, it is valuable as we try and figure out how far the 49ers might need to move, if at all, to get the players they want.
On Monday, In his latest NFL mock draft, Dan Kadar had the 49ers selecting Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Since we're talking wide receivers and cornerbacks, here are those who went ahead of Matthews.
Wide receivers: Sammy Watkins (No. 7), Mike Evans (No. 13), Odell Beckham, Jr. (No. 18), Marqise Lee (No. 26), Brandin Cooks (No. 28)
Cornerbacks: Justin Gilbert (No. 15), Darqueze, Dennard (No. 22), Jason Verrett (No. 25)
I bring all this up because Niners Digest writer Chris Biderman put together a pair of columns looking at cornerbacks and wide receivers from the angle of "trade-up candidates", "likely around at 30" and "second round and beyond". Give it a read (I believe it's subscription-based), but here are the "trade-up candidates" and "likely around at 30" players. If they're not listed their, Chris sees them as second round and beyond players.
Trade-up candidates: Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin
Likely around at 30: Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams
Trade-up candidates: Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby
Likely around at 30: Jason Verrett, Kyle Fuller, Lamarcus Joyner
From Mocking the Draft's mock, WR Kelvin Benjamin and CB Bradley Roby was available at No. 30 if the 49ers were so inclined. Every mock includes plenty of subjective considerations, just as Chris' list includes a certain amount of subjectivity.
Based on your own personal considerations, do you have specific candidates that are definite trade-ups? Gilbert, Dennard, Watkins and Evans seem to be consistently in that group. Do you see any of them slipping at all for any reason? Do you see other players unexpectedly going a bit higher?
If the 49ers have a certain wide receiver or cornerback in mind coming May 8, we could see them set the market. They made an aggressive move for Eric Reid last year, even though many did not see him as the guy to move up for in that instance. It makes a lot of sense again this year.