The San Francisco 49ers will finally get on the clock in a little under six hours. They could trade up or trade down, but outside of that, we’ll know sometime between 6 and 6:30 p.m. PT who they are adding with their first round pick.
Discussions about the 49ers first round pick have been going on for months now, and there is little consensus. Some people are high on the defensive backs, like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Denzel Ward . Others think a linebacker makes sense, with Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds high on the list. Quenton Nelson is a favorite if he slips. And of course edge rusher remains a perpetual need, with Harold Landry and Marcus Davenport leading the way.
The SB Nation NFL sites took some time to put together their thoughts on a dream pick, and I settled on Davenport. Bradley Chubb would be the pie in the sky dream, but I approached this from a more realistic perspective. I put together a quick video on Davenport, which you can watch above.
There is a vocal contingent for Landry, with the thought being he is more proven than Davenport, and brings plenty to the table. I would not have an issue with Landry, but I am fully enamored by the high ceiling Davenport brings to the table. It’s entirely possible the boom-or-bust guy has suckered me in, but with his combination of size and speed, it’s hard not to like what he brings to the table.
He has work to do from a technique perspective. His pad level is problematic and he needs to build out his arsenal of pass rush moves. But get him with 49ers DL coach Jeff Zgonina, and I think we could see him build out that arsenal.
As for the position itself, pass rush is critical to defensive success, and remains a problem for the 49ers. A good cornerback who can cut off a third or more of the field is great, but if you can get the quarterback knocked on his butt, you can make up for any shaky secondary play. Pass rush makes a ton of sense at No. 9 and I think Davenport is the right guy.