ESPN's Todd McShay has posted his third NFL mock draft of the 2014 draft season, and once again, defensive line appears to be the name of the game. McShay mocked Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix to the 49ers.:
Analysis: In this scenario, a serious run on wide receivers and cornerbacks just took place (eight of the last 12 picks), so the value isn't really here for the 49ers to address either of those positions. But the Niners have 11 picks total, including two in each of the second and third rounds, so they'll have plenty of opportunities to take a receiver or corner. As for Nix, he's a good value pick as a massive nose tackle who has great mobility for his size. He struggled in 2013, but he certainly merited first-round consideration with his play in 2012.
The run of wide receivers included Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandin Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin. The run of cornerbacks included Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby, Kyle Fuller, and Jason Verrett. It is worth noting that safeties Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix went off the board, as well.
Whether we see this kind of run or not, I fully expect the 49ers to move around from pick No. 30. They can let the draft come to them, but Trent Baalke is extremely aggressive in moving around the draft board. I think a trade up for one of the top cornerbacks makes sense. However, if it looks like some might slip, or they'll just be gone before the 49ers can move up, then maybe they move back. A deal back could very well net a 2015 first round pick as part of any deal. The 49ers only have eight picks in next year's draft, with the Colts seventh for Cam Johnson as the one extra. I have to think the 49ers will make some moves to stock up even further.
I remain hesitant to think the 49ers will draft a defensive lineman, although I suppose that's when they surprise us all and pounce on one. I think it makes sense to build the depth there, but grabbing a first round defensive lineman strikes me as a potential indictment of Tank Carradine's knee and/or development. I realize Justin Smith won't be around forever, and Ray McDonald turns 30 at the start of the coming season. However, is that reason enough to add another early defensive lineman?