For the first time in a long while, we’re talking more about playoffs than we are about mock drafts. This time last year, we were mocking the heck out of Niners Nation. But that doesn’t mean we can start looking at some predictions.
ESPN’s Todd McShay put together a mock draft with the 49ers going 31st. We won’t know actual draft positioning until the season concludes, so if the 49ers pick 32 or sooner, it’s a simple guess. In any case, McShay has them going 31 and taking Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins:
The Niners are No. 2 in the NFL in rushing and have used a plethora of backs to get there. But considering Matt Breida will be a free agent after San Francisco’s playoff bid, Tevin Coleman’s $0 in guaranteed money after this season and the high value Dobbins presents here, I like the idea of bringing in another versatile offensive weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo and padding a strength for this team. But don’t be surprised to see the 49ers trade out of the spot altogether with just six picks in the entire draft and only one before Day 3.
The last Ohio State running back the 49ers took was Carlos Hyde and he wasn’t horrible, if simply not a system fit for Kyle Shanahan.
With that history out of the way, here’s some highlights on Dobbins to get you up to speed. As far as the pick, I just don’t see it. The 49ers have Breida, Coleman, and the emerging Raheem Mostert. While this offseason you can argue a luxury pick, a running back is overkill. I do think they trade back.
If the 49ers do not trade back I don’t see a pick being burned on a running back. It’s either going to be wide receiver depending on Emmanuel Sanders’ status or offensive line. I’d put more emphasis on the latter. If Justin Skule is the answer after Joe Staley retires, they don’t have anything behind him for depth. We also have seen how much the team missed Weston Richburg on Sunday when Jimmy Garoppolo had defenders in his grill. A backup is a bit high for a first rounder, but it could be someone that can learn for a year (with the hardest offense in the NFL) and contribute. I would be leaning more towards a guard/center with that pick. On the defensive side I’d also be looking at a free safety in case Jimmy Ward leaves to get paid.
Running back just doesn’t seem like a position they need.
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