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49ers take Henderson, Higgins in Sports Illustrated’s latest mock

Niners improve their wide receiver room and secondary with first two picks

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers made one of the flashiest moves of the first free agency wave when they traded defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts and got the 13th-overall pick in return. That allowed the Niners to get a pick in the top half of the first and gives them the chance to add a really good player to a roster coming off a Super Bowl appearance.

Kevin Hanson gave the 49ers two instant-impact players, and I believe both are built to have long-lasting careers in the NFL. This team needed an extra shot of juice in the secondary and a physically-dominate receiving threat on the outside. The 49ers got both in this mock draft exercise that featured picks for the first two rounds.

If this is how things play out, fans should be ecstatic.

13. San Francisco 49ers (via IND): C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

What S.I. had to say about the pick: “Cornerback Richard Sherman will turn 32 later this month, and the team could use an upgrade opposite him. Critics will point to Henderson’s inconsistency as a tackler, which needs to improve. Still, the former Gator’s impressive combination of size, length, speed, and fluid movement makes him a potential shutdown corner at the next level.”

My Take: The Niners need to take a cornerback in the first regardless of the fact that Sherman is 32 years old. Henderson is arguably the best corner in the draft, not named Jeff Okudah, and has the length and play-making savvy that the 49ers covet in their secondary. Everyone on the Niners defense seems to play with an alpha mentality, and they need to continue collecting those types of players.

Henderson’s sophomore season was arguably his best statistically when he totaled 38 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, three sacks, two interceptions, five passes defended, and a pair of forced fumbles. His junior was good, but a little underwhelming compared to 2018. He ended this past season with 33 total tackles, three tackles-for-loss, one sack, and 11 pass breakups.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

What S.I. had to say about the pick: “Given the 125-pick gap between this (No. 31) and their next pick (No. 156), the 49ers may be more likely to trade back than to make a selection here. Deebo Samuel had a productive rookie season with nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage and three 100-yard receiving games from Week 10 on, but Emmanuel Sanders is a free agent. Higgins has strong hands and a large catch radius while wins as a vertical receiver.”

My Take: The team didn’t re-sign Emmanuel Sanders and might look to draft another wideout in the first after selecting two receivers in last year’s draft (Samuel and Hurd). Higgins is closer to Hurd in terms of receiver style, with both being bigger bodies and guys who can win with physicality. However, Hurd is obviously the more raw prospect as he only played a single year of receiver at the collegiate level. Higgins would be the team’s starting X-receiver, while guys like Samuel and Hurd would be utilized everywhere across the formation.

Higgins finished his final year at Clemson with 59 catches for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also took a single hand-off for a 36-yard score on the ground, so who knows. Maybe he’ll get utilized in the run-game alongside Deebo to make defenses second-guess themselves even more.