The 2017 NFL season is officially a quarter of the way done for 30 of 32 teams, which means several teams are all but eliminated from playoff contention. Sure, this isn’t like college football, where one or two losses ends your title hopes. But, an 0-4 or 1-3 start all but ends your Super Bowl aspirations.
And with that in mind, mock draft season is upon us! Maybe not the chaos of February, March, and April, but mock drafts nonetheless. The San Francisco 49ers are 0-4, and just looking to continue figuring out rebuilding options. They are showing signs of life, but a high pick in next year’s draft is likely going to hold some pretty considerable value, either in the player picked, or the trade that results in a sizable haul of picks.
CBS Sports released their latest 2018 NFL mock draft, and they have the 49ers sitting at the No. 3 overall, and going with Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph. Here is how the top five picks go in the mock, followed by thoughts on the 49ers pick.
1. Cleveland Browns - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
2. Los Angeles Chargers - Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
3. San Francisco 49ers - Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
4. New York Giants - Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
5. Chicago Bears - Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
Kyle Shanahan will be fond of Rudolph's experience and what he brings to the field in terms of pocket presence and downfield accuracy. The Oklahoma State quarterback will make a positive impact in the 49ers system right away, and yes, Shanahan will tap into Rudolph's athleticism on a variety of run-pass option plays.
I found it interesting that only three quarterbacks are going in the first round of this mock draft. Rosen and Rudolph go first and third, and then Sam Darnold goes No. 31. Former GM Scot McCloughan has said he could see three going in the top five or ten, and five or more going in the first round.
It will be interesting to see how mock drafts develop between now and March, and then in April. Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo could both hit free agency, which would shake things up considerably. At the same time, both could end up sticking with Washington and New England, respectively. There are enough question marks that it is pretty hard to predict right now what next March might bring in free agency.
At the same time, we don’t know if all these college quarterbacks are going to live up to their billing through the season and into the pre-draft process. Plenty will change in the coming months, but it’s nice to get some kind of base line at this early juncture.