We’ll head to the big guns with today’s mock draft and you don’t get much bigger than Mel Kiper. He put together a mock draft on ESPN that has some of the familiarity with picks you’re used to, but there’s one thing in his analyses we can consider. The article does require ESPN+ to read to completion, but you can read up on the first two picks in the preview portion—another benefit of the 49ers drafting at No. 2.
So as we said, familiarity. Kiper mocks Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa to the Arizona Cardinals and Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen to the San Francisco 49ers. What is interesting is what he says in his blurb regarding the 49ers’ pick:
If the Niners don’t trade down to add more picks, I expect them to take an edge rusher here. And Allen (6-5, 250) is just a step behind Bosa on my board. Two former first-round picks along the defensive line ( Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas ) have struggled in San Francisco, but neither has the pure pass-rushing ability of Allen , who had 17 sacks and five forced fumbles last season. Allen would fill a glaring need.
The takeaway from this is, “if the 49ers don’t trade down.” Josh Allen isn’t a disappointing pick, he’s a great talent to have. And he’s such a talent someone else may want him. A more likely scenario is someone also wanting to get their mitts on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray or Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. As said before, I don’t see how trading to No. 2 is necessary given draft placement and the quarterbacks available, but when you see a guy you want on your team as your signal caller, you go out of your way to make it happen. If either of the quarterbacks turns out decent after the NFL Combine, the 49ers are in a position to run away with a boatload of picks and finalize that roster turnover with fresh, new talent.
In Kiper’s mock, Haskins falls to the New York Giants naturally at No. 6. No trades were executed in this mock so if the Miami Dolphins or Jacksonville Jaguars want to get their hands on Haskins and leap the Giants, it’s going to cost some valuable real estate. No. 4 appears a more targeted destination. Allen, Bosa, and Williams (the three elite prospects) are off the board and the Oakland Raiders select Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary if things play out without trades. They very well could continue adding to their bank vault of picks. Tampa Bay at No. 5 (who take Montez Sweat) could also be a good partner as Sweat is seen as someone who wouldn’t go until the end of the first round.
At No. 2, it’s unsure if any team needs to trade that high to secure their quarterback, but if they do the 49ers will be bringing in quite a haul to fill out the rest of their roster. If they stay put, Allen isn’t a bad piece to iron out the defensive line. At all.