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Niners trade out of the first round and go heavy on defense in 7-round CBS Mock Draft

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After going offensive line with their first pick

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

We haven’t had the chance to see a 7-round Mock Draft for the San Francisco 49ers. CBS released just that this past week, and here is how they have the Niners draft turning out. I’ve seen fans complain that they won’t read a Mock Draft if the 49ers didn’t trade out of the first round. That’s ow convinced everyone is that John Lynch and company won’t be selecting in the first round. Let’s start with the first pick, where San Francisco traded out of No. 31 with Indianapolis, thanks to Utah State’s Jordan Love falling:

Pick No. 34

Cesar Ruiz OL

MICHIGAN • JR • 6’3” / 307 LBS

PROJECTED TEAM

San Francisco PROSPECT RNK

67th POSITION RNK 13th

Ruiz could eventually be a Weston Richburg replacement, and Kyle Shanahan loves the Michigan blocker’s athletic gifts working in his stretch run based offense.

If Ruiz is playing right guard, then I understand the pick. If he’s going to sit around and wait for Richburg to move on, then I’m not a fan—especially if he is the 67th best player in the draft. Free agency is when you sign for need. The draft is all about finding value. If a player that is too good for the 49ers to pass up but he plays a position that’s not necessarily a need, take him.

In this scenario, LSU’s safety Grant Delpit was available, as was TCU’s DL Ross Blacklock, Clemson’s Tee Higgins, and a few other players I may have gone with over Ruiz. The good news is Ruiz started his career at right guard and has 31 starts with Michigan. Ruiz also has a high ceiling, so I can’t fault this pick.

From Denver Broncos

Round 5 - Pick 10 (156)

J.R. Reed S

GEORGIA • SR • 6’1” / 202 LBS

PROJECTED TEAM

San Francisco PROSPECT RNK 117th POSITION RNK 10th

Reed has NFL bloodlines and was a consistent performer on the back end during his Georgia career.

This is the pick the team acquired when they traded for Emmanuel Sanders. Sports Info Solutions rookie handbook graded Reed as a “low-end starter,” which isn’t too shabby if you can find in the fifth-round. The Jim Thorpe Award finalist has NFL bloodlines. Reed is the son of former NFL receiver Jake Reed, and nephew of former defensive back Dale Carter. Reed ran a 4.54 40-yard dash with a 10-foot-8 broad jump, so the explosiveness is there. Here’s what SIS had to say:

“Reed projects as a No. 3 strong safety on a team that runs a lot of middle-of-the-field closed coverage (Cover 1 and Cover 3, single-high safety defenses), where he can play closer to the line of scrimmage or man up opposing tight ends. He’s a physical, competitive safety who excels against the run and cam match up with big targets in coverage, but his lack of range and route recognition limits his effectiveness inn pass coverage.”

The 49ers were on the clock in four more picks:

Round 5 - Pick 14 (160)

Justin Strnad LB

WAKE FOREST • SR • 6’3” / 238 LBS

PROJECTED TEAM

San Francisco PROSPECT RNK 239thPOSITION RNK 21st

Had he not gotten hurt in 2019, Strnad would’ve been tracking toward the second day of the draft, because he’s a springy, long linebacker.

National writers can’t know the needs of every team. The 49ers are in a difficult position to fill needs/find value without having a Day 2 draft pick, which makes picking a linebacker in the fifth round for the second year in a row easy to criticize. Let’s see how Lynch did 16 picks later.

Round 5 - Pick 30 (176)

Nevelle Clarke CB

UCF • SR • 6’1” / 190 LBS

PROJECTED TEAM

San Francisco PROSPECT RNK 159th POSITION RNK 21st

Clarke had two strong seasons at UCF with 24 pass breakups and ran sub-4.50 at the combine.

I like the idea of bringing in competition for Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon. Tim Harris was essentially “redshirted” last year, so that’s another option to challenge. I don’t know about Clarke, but there are examples all over the NFL where you can find starting-caliber talent that can contribute right away. Teams need to give these players a chance. Look no further than Moseley.

The Niners went to the cornerback well in the sixth-round, too:

Round 6 - Pick 31 (210)

Lavert Hill CB

MICHIGAN • SR • 5’10” / 190 LBS

PROJECTED TEAM

San Francisco PROSPECT RNK 190thPOSITION RNK. 25th

Hill is a small but physical man-to-man cornerback who can play outside or in the slot.

Hill has played both cornerback and safety. He’s on the smaller side at 5-foot-10, 185, and plays like it. Hill does have the instincts, like most Michigan defensive backs, and skillset in press to make a roster. He’d likely be a Special Teams demon for San Francisco.

The last two picks saw the 49ers tripling down on cornerback and drafting a player to challenge Ross Dwelley.

Round 7 - Pick 3 (217)

John Reid CB

PENN STATE • SR • 5’10” / 187 LBS

PROJECTED TEAM San Francisco PROSPECT RNK 205th POSITION RNK 28th

Reid played on the outside at Penn State despite his smaller frame and made some splash plays in coverage.

Round 7 - Pick 31 (245)

Sean McKeon TE

MICHIGAN • SR • 6’5” / 242 LBS PROJECTED TEAM San FranciscoPROSPECT RNK 291stPOSITION RNK 16th

McKeon is one of the taller tight ends in the class with experience in-line as a blocker.

I wonder if the author forgot that he had already drafted multiple cornerbacks? I’d be surprised if the 49ers came out of the “best wide receiver class in the last decade” without, you know, a wide receiver. Especially considering the team has drafted a wide receiver in each of the past 18 drafts. Add in the Niners head coach was a wide receiver in college, and you can all but guarantee it.