The San Francisco 49ers will reach the quarter point of their season this weekend when they travel to face the Los Angeles Chargers. The loss of Jimmy Garoppolo has people starting to look ahead to next year’s offseason and the 2019 NFL Draft. But, even without Garoppolo’s injury, the pre-draft process remains a pertinent part of the season.
Last week, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper released his updated Top 25 Big Board for 2019. His board has been fluid and steadily changing, which at this point in the season is completely normal and expected. Below, we will analyze and highlight some of the prospects that made it on Kiper’s big Board. We don’t know where the 49ers will be drafting next spring, but I have provided a short-list of prospects to keep a close eye on at positions of need.
Mel Kiper’s Top 10
1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
2. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
3. Devin White, LB, LSU
4. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
5. Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
6. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
7. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
8. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
9. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
10. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
***Let’s remember, that these prospects at merely draft-eligible and none have declared.
Nick Bosa, DE, No. 19 - Ohio State
6’4” - 263 lbs
1st on Kiper’s Board
The new number one on Kiper’s big board is defensive end Nick Bosa out of Ohio State. When healthy, the majority agree that Bosa is probably the best overall player in the nation. Unfortunately, at the moment, Bosa is not healthy and just had successful core muscle surgery. Bosa is expected to make a full recovery, but at the moment remains out indefinitely with no timeframe to return. As long as Bosa can make a full recovery I still expect him to be top five overall pick in next year’s draft. He is the best pass rusher in the nation, and his volume of work speaks for itself. A pure blue-chip prospect that any team would be more than happy lining up on the defensive line for their squad next season and beyond.
Ed Oliver, DT, No. 10 - Houston
6’3” - 292 lbs.
2nd on Kiper’s Big Board
Let’s face it, if Oliver was eligible for last year’s draft, he would have been a top five overall selection — he is that good. His ability to create havoc and disruption along the line of scrimmage, and in the opponents backfield is amongst some of the best I have studied on film. As far as overall talent, I believe Oliver is currently the best draft eligible prospect in the nation. I declared him my early favorite to go number one overall. He is a blue-chip, plug-and-play defensive lineman who instantly upgrades any team’s defense.
Andraez “Greedy” Williams, CB, No. 29 - LSU
6’3” - 184 lbs.
7th on Kiper’s Big Board
The best pure cornerback eligible for next year’s draft. Already this season, Williams has two interceptions, and has constantly put receivers on an island. His ball instincts and anticipation are amongst the best for defensive backs in the nation. Plays physical, and has speed to keep up with receivers on the deepest routes. Had an A+ performance against a top ten conference foe in Auburn and the best is still yet to come. Keep a close eye on Williams who is streaking closer and closer to a top ten overall pick.
Jalen Jelks, DE, No. 7 - Oregon
6’6” - 245 lbs.
#18 on Kiper’s Big Board
Well, if you are in need of a pass rusher (I’m looking at you 49ers), this pass rushing class is shaping out to be a deep one, with high-end prospects. Jelks might not be getting the same publicity as Nick Bosa or Clelin Ferrell, but the Oregon Duck is putting together quite a resume. A true 4-3 defensive end, Jelks creates disruption along the line, and has steadily improved with each passing season. This season, Jelks has 2.5 sacks recored. He is strong against both the run and the pass. Has great size and length for the position. Be sure to catch Jelks in action. His arrow is only pointing up, and at the moment should hear his name called in the bottom half of the first round.
N’Keal Harry, WR, No. 1 - Arizona State
6’4” - 220 lbs.
#24 on Kiper’s Big Board
Harry continues to climb up draft boards and has found a home in the top 25. A physical and dominant receiver, who is a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators. Last season Harry had 82 receptions for 1,142 yards, and 8 touchdowns. This season already, Harry has found the house 4 times, and is averaging close to 15 yards per reception. Has the traits and abilities to become a future number one receiver at the next level. At the moment it is a fight between Harry and A.J. Brown as the WR1 in this draft class. I’ll give Harry the slight edge, and for now, looks to be a first round pick in next year’s draft.
Prospects 49ers Fans Must Watch:
*Nick Bosa, DE - Ohio State (#1)
Clelin, Ferrell, DE - Clemson (#4)
Greedy Williams, CB - LSU (#7)
Deandre Baker, CB - Georgia (#10)
Montez Sweat, DE - Mississippi State (#13)
Raekwon Davis, DE - Alabama (#15)
Jalen Jelks, DE - Oregon (#18)
Marquise Brown, WR - Oklahoma (#19)
Brian Burns, DE/OLB - Florida State (#23)
N’Keal Harry, WR - Arizona State 9 (#24)
A.J. Brown, WR - Ole Miss (#25)
* Currently Injured
What are YOUR thoughts on Mel Kiper’s Top 25 Big Board? What prospects do you hope the 49ers take a close look at during the draft process? Who are YOU selecting in next year’s draft with the 49ers first selection? Please share in the comment below!