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CBS offers distinctly different options in their 2017 NFL mock drafts

The 49ers go quarterback in one, defensive lineman in another. There are strategies applicable to both.

The mock draft season is in full swing for San Francisco 49ers fans (and Browns fans, and Bears fans, and so on and so forth). I will have the mock draft database started up pretty soon, but in the meantime, I’ll continue taking a look at random mock drafts here and there. They provide insight into the perception of team needs, but they also provide an in-season baseline to compare with during the draft process next spring.

CBS Sports will have numerous mock drafts next spring, but in the meantime, they have their two primary draft writers updating their mock drafts. Rob Rang and Dane Brugler each offered up a look at the first round. They offered up distinctly different options, and each took a different angle on a particularly notable player.

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer is a redshirt sophomore, and viewed by many as one of the top two or three quarterback options for the 2017 NFL Draft. He got this season off to a strong start, but has struggled the past two games, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns, while completing 23 of 52 passes for 208 yards. The Irish still have five more games, including two against ranked opponents. Kizer has time to bounce back and finish strong.

However, Rob Rang decided to not include him in his mock draft earlier this week. In fact, his mock draft is top heavy with defensive linemen over quarterbacks. North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is the first quarterback off the board at No. 12, and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson goes No. 22. Rang’s top three picks are:

1. Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
2. San Francisco 49ers: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
3. Chicago Bears: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

Here’s what Rang had to say about the Garrett pick:

Like the Browns, the 49ers need help at quarterback but with better players at other premium positions, the choice might be made for them. Garrett has been limited this season with an ankle injury but is a proven difference-maker when healthy. The 6-5, 262-pound junior possesses an explosive first step and rare flexibility to wreak havoc off the edge.

Dane Brugler took a much different approach in his mock draft. He has Kizer in his draft board, and he went quarterback with the top three picks

1. Cleveland Browns: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
2. San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
3. Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Here’s what Brugler had to say about the Watson pick:

San Francisco has the worst quarterback depth chart in the NFL (yes, worse than the Browns). Watson is unpolished in areas, but he is an above average athlete with a terrific arm who would fit well in Chip Kelly's offense.

We don’t know what the future holds with regard to Trent Baalke, but we also can’t say with certainty what Chip Kelly’s future is with the team. It would be surprising to see the 49ers cut him loose after only one year, but would we really put anything past this organization right now? It’s a dumpster fire, and they seem to have no real direction. I don’t think they completely blow everything up and start over from scratch, but who knows what to expect.

And of course, that means the team’s first round pick, and really any of their 2017 draft picks, are entirely up in the air. Best player available is what they should be doing, but at some point they need to figure out the quarterback position. I would say they are far enough away from contending that you don’t force the QB situation if it’s not there next spring. But, part of this will involve waiting to see who is actually making the picks.