The 2017 NFL Draft does not feature a clear-cut No. 2 player for the San Francisco 49ers, but that does not mean another team does not see an obvious choice there. And for the 49ers, that could open the door for a chance to trade down and add some significant picks, while still getting a quality player in the first round.
Last week, a rumor was circulating that the Carolina Panthers were interested in moving up to the No. 2 pick. Matt Barrows tweeted that nothing was “currently in the works,” but that doesn’t mean the two teams are not discussing some ways to make a deal happen on draft day.
If that did happen, odds are pretty good the Panthers would select LSU running back Leonard Fournette. It’s far from certain, but that seems to be the potential target. If they were to select Fournette at No. 2, how would that shake up the draft, and what would be there at No. 8 for the 49ers?
Over at SB Nation, we’ve got an annual rundown of mock drafts that help us chart out who is going where. It contains 72 mock drafts, and while it is not predictive, it gives us a sense of what consensus picks exist, and where people are throwing out whatever they can.
Here’s what the top eight looks like with the highest percentage pick listed.
1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M (98.6 percent)
2. San Francisco 49ers - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford (59.7 percent)
3. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama (38.9 percent)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (58.3 percent)
5. Tennessee Titans - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State (31.9 percent)
6. New York Jets - Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC (20.8 percent - Lattimore led with 23.6 percent)
7. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State (51.4 percent)
8. Carolina Panthers - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (15.3 percent - Fournette led with 20.8 percent)
If the Panthers moved up to No. 2 and took Fournette, that likely results in a few notable changes. The second most popular Bears pick was LSU safety Jamal Adams, and the third most popular pick was Solomon Thomas. If Thomas there at No. 3, do they take him over Adams?
The Jaguars become the big wild card given the rest of these players are potentially still available for the given team. The Jaguars most picked player after Fournette was “Other,” followed by tight end O.J. Howard. Howard has been steadily climbing draft boards. Is that enough to secure him the No. 4 spot if Fournette is gone?
Then of course, there is the question of what the 49ers do. Chris Biderman came up with six potential targets for the 49ers at No. 8. He discussed edge rusher Derek Barnett, linebacker Reuben Foster, wide receiver Mike Williams, quarterback DeShaun Watson, wide receiver Corey Davis, and tight end O.J. Howard. Matt Miller has said that Foster is high on the 49ers board. If that is the case, trading down from No. 2 to No. 8 could net the team some picks while still providing them a chance to get a guy they really like.