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NFL mock draft 2015: Considering a few rounds of 49ers picks

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We’re back with another update of the Niners Nation mock draft database. This week we take a deeper dive into a multi-round mix.

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I updated the mock draft database this week, and with less than a week to go before the NFL Combine, not much has changed. Wide receivers are the primary pick, with defensive line and cornerback each showing up in four mock drafts.

Over at Walter Football, Charlie Campbell provides a lot of the information about prospect visits. He also runs a fairly extensive mock draft. Although it is only mid-February, he has a four round mock draft available for analysis. It might be a little absurd to project out specific players at this point, but I like being able to consider what kind of positions the four rounds are projecting.

In the first round, Campbell has the 49ers drafting Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates. He follows that up with Stanford cornerback Alex Carter in the second, UCLA defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy in the third, and Wisconsin offensive lineman Rob Havenstein.

Here is what he had to say about each of the picks:

Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

The 49ers could use more young receiving talent given the age of Anquan Boldin and the hazy future of Michael Crabtree in San Francisco. It will be easier to get Colin Kaepernick to bounce back if San Francisco improves the weapons he has to work with.

Auburn struggled to pass the ball consistently in 2014, and Coates recorded only 34 receptions for 741 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season. He did light up Alabama (5-206) though. If Coates had played in a different offense, he easily would have produced a lot more. The 6-foot-1, 213-pounder is a play-maker who has the speed to stretch a defense vertically. At the Senior Bowl, he showed the potential to run some underneath routes and use his size to move the chains in the short to intermediate part of the field.

Coates caught 42 passes in 2013 for 902 yards (22 average) with seven touchdowns. With defenses focused on stopping Auburn's rushing attack, he made them pay downfield.

Wide receiver is the popular pick for 49ers mock drafts, and it continues with this one. I don't think the 49ers invest too much in free agent wide receivers this year, and so a wide receiver in the earlier rounds of the draft make sense.

Alex Carter, CB, Nebraska

The 49ers could use an upgrade at cornerback. Taking a physical corner with some man-coverage skills would makes sense for San Francisco.

Carter totaled nine passes broken up, one interception and 39 tackles in 2014. He played well against USC and held his own against Trojans wide receiver Nelson Agholar. Carter didn't pitch a shutout, but Stanford didn't have Carter following Agholar around the field. Against Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong, Carter wasn't beaten badly, but he didn't prevent Strong from contributing. Carter had a mixed game against Oregon, but did manage to pick off Marcus Mariota, which was a very rare feat.

Carter (6-0, 200) played well for the Cardinal in 2013. The sophomore showed the ability to execute man and zone coverage. He totaled 59 tackles with eight passes broken up and an interception for the year. Carter took over a starting role in 2012. The freshman recorded 46 tackles with three forced fumbles in eight starts. Carter also has some physicality to him.

The cornerback position is a question mark, and that comes in part due to not knowing what the 49ers have in mind with the various young players on the roster. We know Dontae Johnson can contribute, but we don't know what Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser will do a year into their careers. And of course, the team could still end up re-signing Perrish Cox or Chris Culliver. I do think the team drafts at least one more cornerback, but who knows how early it will happen.

Ellis McCarthy, DT, UCLA

The 49ers could use more young talent on the defensive line. With the age of Justin Smith, it makes sense to add more players for the front.

McCarthy (6-5, 330) is a big nose tackle with some quickness and athleticism. He had 21 tackles with three sacks, and 3.5 tackles for a loss in 2014. McCarthy played well, but never became the dominant force that some thought he would be. In 2013, McCarthy totaled 28 tackles with three tackles for a loss and two sacks.

I have to think there will be at least one defensive line addition in this draft, even if Justin Smith returns for 2015. If Smith retires, I think it happens earlier than later. I don't know if McCarthy is the right guy, but defensive line depth makes sense.

Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin

The 49ers could use some offensive line depth as they are likely to take some losses to the front in free agency.

Havenstein was the leading blocker for Melvin Gordon in 2014. The powerful Havenstein opened a lot of holes and was the Badgers' most effective run-blocker. He is definitely a right tackle for the NFL and needs to improve his ability to pass protect against speed rushers. Havenstein really struggled at the Senior Bowl in the pass blocking one-on-ones. However, he has some developmental potential.

The 49ers will not have Joe Staley on the left side forever, but they did sign him to a contract extension recently. Combine that with Anthony Davis locked up for the foreseeable future on the right side, and this pick would make sense if Havenstein could slip inside to guard.