With NFL draft creeping up, the 49ers will have some decisions to make with that No. 2 pick and that decision may not be BPA. If the Arizona Cardinals select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1 like many mocks are predicting, that leaves the 49ers with a decision between Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.
On a recent KNBR appearance, Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell said the 49ers were valuing Williams as the better prospect:
“I spoke with people high up with the 49ers at the Combine, and they were just gushing about Quinnen WIlliams. They felt Bosa was an excellent player, a bit of safe pick, probably more of a position of need heading into free agency given how good DeForest Buckner was for the team last year. But they just had more emotion in the voice, more excitement for Quinnen Williams. They felt his upside was just off the charts when you consider last year was really his first season of playing time in the SEC, to dominate it in the fashion he did, and really moving inside, adding the weight to move inside, they felt the sky is the limit for what this guy could be. They just seem to think that Williams was more special as a player, had more upside, and really they like the make-up of him as well. And they didn’t dog Bosa at all. They just were really impressed with Williams, in terms of his character, his football character. And so, I heard that there from people high up with the 49ers. And then, speaking with some people at other teams, I have heard that some of the scouts in their conversations, they have also heard from 49ers people they are really high on Williams and really think the world of him. That’s the player that’s kind of tugging at the heartstrings.
“And then, when you kind of also look at the action speak louder than words side of things, they have a new defensive line coach who’s really changed things at what their looking for at edge rusher in terms of body type, John Lynch talked about that earlier this offseason and I think Nick Bosa in terms of body type there’s some similarities you see with Solomon Thomas, then they also trade for Dee Ford, more of a different kind of guy. So with having Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead, you have some guys that can play on the edge there. So I think that opens them up to being able to take a Quinnen Williams and pairing him on the inside with Buckner and kind of going for a similar Ndamukong Suh/Aaron Donald combination that the Rams did last year.”
This continues the narrative that the 49ers were torn between Williams and Buckner at the Combine. If this is true, it sounds like Williams may be rising above Bosa for that No. 2 pick.
If the 49ers go through with this, the admission may be that the first pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Solomon Thomas, did not work out as according to plan. Thomas is not a bust, but he has been disappointing (yes, there is a difference). Some of this can be (understandably) blamed on some of the issues he’s had to go through in his personal life, some of this could be on fired 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina. Either way, if the 49ers take Williams, it would put Thomas on even thinner ice than already assumed. Thomas would provide solid depth and a fresh rotation on the line, but that’s not exactly what a 3rd overall pick should net a team.
New defensive line coach Kris Kocurek was put to task watching film on Thomas to see if there was anything the 49ers could do to salvage the player and this pick very well could come down to how that study went.
If this happens, is there an edge rusher in the second round the 49ers should go after?