The San Francisco 49ers have numerous needs to fill on the defensive side of the ball, and holding the No. 2 and No. 34 picks means they can fill two needs with a whole host of player combinations. Guys like S Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams, DL Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen, CB Marshon Lattimore, and LB Reuben Foster are all possibilities at No. 2. Guys like edge rushers Charles Harris and Tim Williams, CB Tre’Davious White and Kevin King, S Budda Baker, and plenty others are options at No. 34. There are endless combinations.
On Wednesday, Pro Football Focus put together their latest 2017 NFL mock draft, and they went three rounds deep. For the 49ers, they went defense, defense, offense. They had the 49ers drafting cornerback Marshon Lattimore at No. 2, linebacker Jarrad Davis at No. 34, and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster at No. 66.
Here’s what PFF had to say about each of the 49ers picks.
Lattimore: “While trading down is likely the best move for San Francisco, adding a cornerback of Lattimore’s caliber could go a long way toward the 49ers’ defensive overhaul. He has good size and athleticism, and that coverage versatility led to a passer rating of only 30.2 into his coverage, good for fourth in the nation.”
Fooch: We’ve had this discussion over and over again. Whether or not Jimmie Ward moves to free safety, if they think Lattimore can be a big-time shutdown cornerback, this pick makes sense. At the same time, this is viewed as the deepest cornerback draft in a long time, so maybe you wait on the position.
Davis: “Davis bring speed to the middle of the 49ers’ defense, and adds the necessary range to play the middle of their new cover-3/cover-1 scheme. He played through injury in 2016, but has the skills to affect the game in coverage, against the run, and as a pass-rusher, where he picked up six sacks, 16 QB hits, and 23 hurries over the past three years.”
Fooch: This is an intriguing one. The 49ers signed Malcolm Smith to a five-year deal, and he is likely to play the WILL linebacker role. They can get out of the deal easily after three years, but it would appear WILL is set. Davis is viewed as a potential 4-3 outside linebacker, but does not seem to have the kind of size the team might prefer of the SAM role. Niners Wire had an interesting look at moving NaVorro Bowman to the SAM role, but again, it sounds like Davis is better suited at WILL and not in the middle.
Smith-Schuster: “Smith-Schuster has his troubles separating at times, but he’s a physical receiver after the catch, averaging 6.1 yards after the catch per reception over the last three years. He brings more of a possession-type weapon to San Francisco’s offense.”
Fooch: The speed isn’t there with JSS, but that’s some quality size. My favorite comp for him is Anquan Boldin. Lance Zierlein made the comparison, saying that in spite of separation issues, he likes JSS’ “strong hands, physical approach and ability to win the combat catches.” For a third round pick, I’d be down to see how that could work out.
What would you think of a haul like this?
How would you grade a first three rounds that resulted in Lattimore, Davis, and Smith-Schuster?
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