Hi everyone! First I want to quickly introduce myself. My name is Alex…aka li49er. I will be joining the Niners Nation Draft Team for the upcoming NFL Draft. I am a lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan, who hails all the way from the east coast. You might have read some of my scouting reports (Deshaun Watson, Shaq Lawson), as well as previous mock drafts. I love college football, and I am looking forward to providing information on all the events leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft!
The 2017 East-West Shrine game is on Saturday, January 21st at 12:00 p.m. PT. It airs on NFL Network, and will feature mid-tier prospects for the upcoming NFL draft. Prospects taking part in the game are usually drafted on day three, or signed as undrafted free agents. Here is a list of the top ten offensive prospects in the game. In addition, I have provided a ink that will take you to a highlights video of each prospect in action. I’ll be following with a rundown of the top ten defensive prospects in the game.
If there anyone else you are looking forward to seeing on Saturday, share in the comments below.
***Something to keep in mind…This list was put together with consideration of San Francisco 49ers team needs.
1) Austin Carr, WR, Northwestern
The redshirt senior out of Northwestern University is perhaps the most intriguing offensive prospect in this year’s Shrine Game. At 6’1” Carr isn’t the biggest WR in the upcoming draft, but he does have reliable hands, and has speed off the line of scrimmage. He hauled in 1,247 yards, with 90 receptions, and 12 touchdowns. He led the Big 10 in receptions, and was a 2016 Biletnikoff Award Finalist, as well as a 2016 Burlsworth Trophy Finalist (College football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on). I would imagine the 49ers scouting department will be keeping an eye on Carr during this game, especially if they are looking to draft a WR in the middle rounds. At the moment, Carr is best valued as a 4th round draft pick. Look out though, because his stock could rise considerably by the time the draft shows up.
Draft Round: 4th
2) Elijah McGuire, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette
I give you the RB that very few people have been discussing, but is going to make an impact at the next level. Elijah McGuire is 5’11” 210 pounds. He is a dual-threat back, capable of double-digit carries, as well as lining up as a receiver. For his career he has 4,312 yards, 42 touchdowns along with 1,383 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He is a volume machine, and should be intriguing to watch on Saturday.
Draft Round: 5th
3) Avery Gennesy, OL, Texas A&M
Just like Utah producing quality backs, the same can be said for Texas A&M producing quality offensive lineman. While Gennesy will not be going in the first round like many of his predecessors before him, he will be an intriguing mid-round selection. At 6’5” 315 pounds, Gennesy is an athletic left tackle in the always competitive SEC conference which has many notable defensive units including Alabama and Auburn. While we currently have a future member of the NFL Hall of Fame manning the left tackle position, it wouldn’t hurt to look towards the future.
Draft Round: 4-5
4) Eric Magnuson, OT, Michigan
At 6’5” 310 pounds, this red shirt senior was a First-Team Big-10 selection. He was a major contributor on the Michigan offensive line, and played almost exclusively at the right tackle position. He was the recipient of the 2016 Hugh J. Rader Memorial Award, given to the top U-M offensive lineman, which this year, was a nice honor to receive. Magnuson is being looked at right now as mid-round prospect.
Draft Round: 4-5
5) Rodney Adams, WR, USF
Rodney Adams doesn’t have eye-popping numbers, however he is the kind of wideout that can take the top off of a defense and keep the DB’s honest. The senior, at 6’1” 190 pounds has great speed and good size. In addition, he also has a spring in his jumps, and can get up in the air to contend for balls. In his final season he had 882 receiving yards to go along with 16 touchdowns. Adams is a mid to late round pick.
Draft Round: 5-7
6) Cooper Rush, QB, Central Michigan
The Redshirt Senior measures in at 6’3”, and is 227 pounds. He has the physical tools and measures to withstand the demands of an NFL quarterback. A four year stater at Central Michigan who passed for over 13,000 yards along with 90 touchdowns. He is also responsible for 55 career interceptions as well. There are also questions about his field vision and progressions, as well as facing inferior opponents in the Mid-American football conference. A little fun fact: Rush currently owns the NCAA record for most touchdown passes in a bowl game. Rush threw seven touchdown passes in the 2014 Bahamas Bowl against Western Kentucky.
Draft Round: 6-7
7) Joe Williams, RB, Utah
Slowly but surely the university of Utah is producing some quality backs, and Williams is the next one coming out after a productive collegiate career. So, here’s the interesting story about Williams, and hopefully it wont scare fans too much…He had a brief retirement from football earlier this season. Williams was still able to produce 1,407 yards and ten touchdowns, even after missing four games, and was the heart and soul of Utah’s offense. With Carlos Hyde firmly in the driver’s seat as our starting RB, I don’t believe the 49ers will be investing a high draft pick at the position. However, with Hyde’s injury history, it doesn’t hurt to have insurance behind him. Williams could be a great value back to select on day three. I am going to assume that Williams will get plenty of questions during his interviews with clubs about his heart and commitment to the game.
Draft Round: 6-7
8) Kermit Whitfield, WR, Florida State
You can line him up anywhere, and he is an incredibly talented kickoff returner. I am hoping we get a chance to see him as a WR as well as return kickoffs on Saturday. For his career he had 96 career receptions, for 1,228 yards, and seven touchdowns. He’s not a touchdown machine, but he will move the chains, and can put an offense in great field position as a kick return specialist. The 49ers need a KR in the worst way.
Draft Round: 6-7
9) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
The 6’5” 270 pound tight end has 45 receptions, 533 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. Here is a TE with physical tools who can block as well as be a red-zone threat. When was the last time the 49ers had a red-zone threat? While TE is a need for the 49ers I don’t believe they will invest a high draft pick on one, especially after signing McDonald to an extension.
Draft Round: 6-7
10) Gunner Kiel, QB, Cincinnati
The redshirt senior who began his career at Notre Dame and transferred to Cincinnati is 6’4”, possess the physical tools and body for an NFL QB. It has been an up and down career for the fifth year senior who began this season as the third string QB. However, he quickly moved up the depth chart and took over as the starter in mid October. For his career he has 6,835 yards passing, 56 touchdown passes, and 26 interceptions. Once upon a time this guy was the number one rated QB coming out of high school, and since then it’s been up and down. Not all is lost for Kiel, and honestly what I like most about him is his ability to stay and throw from the pocket.
Draft Round: 7-UDFA