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One NFL talent evaluator offers a top 20 big board ignoring off-field issues

Will the 49ers risk anything on notable red flags?

The San Francisco 49ers have a whole host of options in front of them as the 2017 NFL draft approaches. With Myles Garrett likely going No. 1 overall, they’re left with everyone else on their big board. We don’t know what their big board looks like, and while we can guess on some names, there is little to work with given the change in GM and head coach.

Recently, Jason La Canfora chatted with, “a noted evaluator [he] trust[s]” to create tiers of talent in this year’s draft. The use of anonymous evaluators is quite prominent in the weeks and months leading up to the draft. Sometimes I wonder if anybody in the media makes up the person to get a column idea.

Whether it’s a real evaluator or not, he had seven players in his “blue chip category.” That group included the following, although La Canfora said not listed in order of how the evaluator would rank them against each other.

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

Mixon is the one that prominently sticks out from this group. It’s almost certain he does not go this high. There is talk he will be gone early in the second round, and all it takes is one person wanting to draft him.

The evaluator’s second tier included notable names like safety Malik Hooker and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. The 49ers have been connected to Hooker at No. 2, but opinions vary on him. It feels like there are slightly more consistent opinions about Adams than Hooker. It will be interesting to see if Hooker slips much if at all.

The evaluator also has Tim Williams in his second tier. There has been no denying the talent, but a multiple reportedly failed drug tests and a misdemeanor gun charge are going to cause him to slip.

It will be interesting to see how much the 49ers are willing to risk on players with off-field issues. We’ve heard plenty about character from John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, and the team released Tramaine Brock following his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. It seems to suggest some players will be off the draft board, but we’ll get a better idea next week.