As we are now just hours away from the Los Angeles Rams being on the clock, the nervousness and anxiousness should be setting in. My colleague Greg dropped his San Francisco 49ers 7-round mock draft yesterday (here), and I am here to add more buzz about how the Niners draft might play out. I have not projected trades in this mock draft, however I did include speculation of where the 49ers may be inclined to trade down.
The 49ers will undoubtedly be taking part in trades throughout the draft, and maybe even in the first round. With the Rams and Eagles trading up to get their quarterbacks, the no. 7 pick becomes more valuable to teams still scrambling for a quarterback. The Saints, Jets and Bears are all teams to look out for tonight in Chicago.
Round 1 (7)
Paxton Lynch - QB - Memphis
Everything starts with the quarterback. Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick are not long term solutions and are not championship-caliber quarterbacks. Lynch will likely ride the pine behind Gabbert and mature his already-gifted yet raw skill set. Lynch sports an ideal frame standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in at 244-pounds. He trots out elite footwork for a big man, arm strength to drive the ball into tight windows and California-type swagger that makes people want to follow him. While he needs to do a better job of moving defenders with his eyes and improve accuracy on the run, Lynch provides athleticism and the work ethic to become a very successful quarterback.
Round 2 (37)
Joshua Garnett - OG - Stanford
Games are won in the trenches. Garnett will provide a physical force in the run game and be a starter for years to come, and eventually protect the 49ers franchise quarterback, Paxton Lynch. Garnett is massive and plays very physical at the point of attack. His father played for the 49ers and it most definitely sounds as if Garnett wants to play in Santa Clara. He maneuvers well and wins blocks and in tight spaces. The former Cardinal takes excellent blocks to second level and is a very intelligent prospect.
Round 3 (68)
Tyler Boyd - WR - Pittsburgh
The 49ers ranked no. 28 in passing yards per game last year, largely due to the lack of top-tier receivers to throw to. Boyd will not carry an entire offense and will need more help from the surrounding cast, but he provides silky-smooth route running, exceptionally strong hands and just an all-around versatile threat. Boyd can come in right away and give the Niners a solid target.
Round 4 (105)
Deandre Houston-Carson - CB/FS - William & Mary
Deandre Houston-Carson finished the 2015 season with 109 stops on the year. He has a nose for the ball and is very physical when flowing downhill. Houston-Carson is outstandingly effective when tracking the ball and working through traffic. A quick-twitch athlete with the speed and acceleration to match receivers on the inside and outside. He trusts his eyes and plays highly confident. Athletic enough to play strong safety, free safety and cornerback.
Round 4 (133)
Charles Tapper - DE - Oklahoma
Tapper's tape isn't highly impressive, but he often displays flashes of what he can become. He will likely be a rotational 3-4 end and provide depth. Tapper does have intriguing size, power at the point of attack and the speed to tail quarterbacks in space.
Round 5 (142)
Nick Vigil - ILB - Utah State
Likeable football IQ, physicality and range for the position. Great production with 30 tackles for loss and 267 tackles across the past two seasons. Quick to diagnose play direction and retains the speed to tail ball carriers.
Round 5 (145) *Possible trade down
Anthony Zettel - DT - Penn State
Very explosive and uses his hands well. Can reach his way into the backfield and chase ball-carriers sideline to sideline. High, relentless motor with a good feel for when to throw his hands up and defend passes (six passes defended in 2015).
Round 5 (174)
Tyrone Holmes - OLB - Montana
Holmes has been working his way up draft boards and at pick no. 174, this is great value. Despite not competing against top-tier talent, Holmes could become a productive starter in two years. He showcases decent bend and first-step quickness to beat offensive tackles on pure speed. Has a muscular frame and high-end production while at Montana.
Round 6 (178)
Cole Toner - OL - Harvard
The former first-team All-Ivy League pick in both 2014 and 2015 has possible starter potential. I emphasize "possible" due to his many weaknesses. The hip tightness, strength and marginal footwork is hard to look past. Toner may have value at guard as well, but his future in the NFL is blurry. I do like his timing on combo-blocks and aggressiveness, however I just don't see an eventual starter when I turn on the tape.
Round 6 (207) *Possible trade down
Josh Ferguson - RB - Illinois
Defenses must factor in his catching ability. Could be a threat from the slot and has very sharp cuts. Explosive short-area burst and sees the field well. On the smaller side but could contend to make an NFL roster.
Round 6 (211)
Derrick Kindred - S - TCU
Played the 2015 season with a broken collarbone, so resiliency is no question. Exceedingly tough and more than willing to come up and deliver rendering, punishing hits. Plays the game with upmost effort and passion. Brings a stupendous physical presence and will compete on special teams. Great value at pick no. 211.
Round 6 (213) *Possible trade down
Devon Cajuste - WR - Stanford
Once again, the 49ers have a glaring need at wide receiver. Cajuste is big bodied (Chip Kelly's preference for receivers) and poses an enticing reliable red-zone threat. He's more of a football player than athlete, but Cajuste wins with hands, clean footwork and post-up ability.