The San Francisco 49ers need impact players on both sides of the ball, and having the No. 2 and 34 picks provide big opportunities. We’ve seen names like Solomon Thomas, Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore, and Leonard Fournette mentioned at No. 2. We’ve seen Alvin Kamara, Charles Harris, and others mentioned at No. 34.
Welcome to the craziest first round mock draft I’ve seen thus far. Pro Football Focus writer Jordan Plocher put together his first mock draft of the offseason, and he has the 49ers selecting Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
I’m not saying there is no chance this happens, but it would be one of the more surprising results of the first round. McCaffrey is a dynamic weapon, but is it enough to justify all the way up at No. 2? Here’s what Plocher had to say about the pick:
McCaffrey is arguably the best offensive player in the draft class, and pairing his versatility with a creative offensive mind like Kyle Shanahan is too much to pass up. Historically speaking, the tree that Kyle Shanahan and Bobby Turner come from would prefer to find a RB late and have Turner mold him, but this is an exception, as McCaffrey is more than just a running back — he can also play the wide receiver position just as well as a true WR. McCaffrey becomes a deadly open-field runner after the catch, and forced 21 missed tackles as a receiver on 38 receptions in 2016. He is a four-down player, as he can make a nice punt return and then stay on the field with the offense for all three-downs, play multiple positions, and be a mismatch player in the passing game. The return on investment with this selection would be high.
The 49ers added several offensive weapons in free agency, signing wide receivers Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Aldrick Robinson, and fullback/”offensive weapon” Kyle Juszczyk. They can help this offense take a step forward from last season, but they still need long-term options.
Running back is a particularly deep position in the 2017 NFL draft, but McCaffrey’s versatility could make him worth consideration separate from the rest of the running backs. But spending the No. 2 pick on him? He’s not going to be a traditional work-horse back, but with a creative offensive mind, maybe a team could use him in a way that gets him starter looks in a variety of ways. And, we do know a team that has a creative offensive-minded head coach.....