The San Francisco 49ers are expected by many draft prognosticators to draft a quarterback, and it makes sense on a broader level. They don’t have a long-term option at quarterback, it’s the most important position, and they hold the No. 2 pick. Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson are the two most notable names for the time being, so these kinds of options are going to show up.
However, our 2017 NFL mock draft database is starting to show a few more non-QB options, and they are all on the defensive side of the ball. With the most recent update, nine of the 24 mocks go with a defensive player. Four pick Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, and the rest are a mix of players, including Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, LSU safety Jamal Adams, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett in a dated mock.
The 49ers are making significant changes to their defense as they switch to a 4-3. We’ll still see some three-man fronts, but Kyle Shanahan has decided to go with something similar to what the Seahawks, Jaguars, and Falcons have used in recent years.
If the 49ers are going to make that work, they have some changes to make. Ahmad Brooks or Aaron Lynch could work in the Leo defensive end role, but the team might decide to make a move for Melvin Ingram, or grab a pass rusher in the first day or two of the draft. They could decide to add a safety to play the Earl Thomas role. They could still use a pure physical lock-down corner. They have a lot of needs, and while I do think we see significant draft capital invested in a wide receiver, I would not be surprised if the 49ers walked away from the 2017 NFL Draft with serious defensive additions.