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49ers trade back and invest in the secondary in latest mock draft

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Trades!

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

In his latest post-combine Mock Draft, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said, “the 49ers will not pick here. They don’t have a single pick in the second, third, or fourth round, so trading back for more selections is a necessity.” That’s great news as the value is in the second and third rounds of this draft.

Trevor Sikkema’s from The Draft Network’s most recent Mock Draft is the first mock that we’ve seen the San Francisco 49ers trading out of the first round. The 49ers traded pick No. 31 in exchange for picks No 56, 70, and 165 from the Miami Dolphins. Gaining a second, third, and fifth-round pick seems like a deal, John Lynch would have zero issues making. At No. 56, the Niners selected Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who was one of the winners of the NFL Combine. Trevor was kind enough to take the time and explain his selection:

Antoine Winfield Jr. made himself some money in Indianapolis at the Combine this year. As the son of 14-year NFL vet Antoine Winfield Sr., Winfield Jr.’s tape shows great technique and instinct, likely from his extensive football background.

The long speed was the only concern. But when he ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, that put those concerns to rest. Now he has all the makings of a top-50 pick.”

PFF has Winfield at No. 82 on their big board, that was before the Combine, though. Winfield’s 2019 grade was 88.1, which is elite. Sports Info Solutions is very high on Winfield Jr., they have him as their second overall safety, and a .01 behind their top-graded safety. Here is their opening one-liner as well as the last word on Winfield Jr.:

Winfield is undersized, but a tough competitor at all three levels and most notably shares his father’s elite ball skills.

Winfield projects as a starting-caliber free safety, ideally in a two-high look where he can play more aggressively. Still, he can also range as a center fielder or rotate down into the slot as a nickel defender. His ball magnet status only heightened in critical moments, and he does well to take advantage of his in-game opportunities. He has limited, but successful experience as a punt returner and could be a factor in that role or on other units despite his size due to his physicality and tackling ability.

Think about the criticism you have or hear about Jimmie Ward. It comes back to ball production. Winfield had eight pass breakups and seven interceptions in 2019. SIS’s rookie handbook has a leaderboard for everything from pass coverage to broken tackle rate. Winfield was at the top of the total points leaderboard for safeties.

Pick No. 70- CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

The 49ers stay in the secondary in this hypothetical situation, drafting Tim Harris’ teammate from a season ago. This is what Trevor had to say about the selection:

The big question mark for Bryce Hall’s draft stock has nothing to do with his on-field play. When healthy, he was one of the best cornerbacks in the country. As a close coverage Cover 3 corner, he shows a high ceiling for an aggressive style of secondary work.

The question with Hall, and why he could fall in the draft, stems from the gruesome ankle injury he suffered early in the 2019 season. Hall said his plan is to still be on the field and ready for training camp, and if that’s the case, he could be a steal.

Hall dropped from No. 34 to No. 49 on PFF’s big board. The 6’1”, 202-pound cornerback was the second-highest graded cornerback in 2018. His grade fell to 65.5 in 2019 before an ankle injury cut his season short.

Hall is the 14th ranked cornerback in SIS’s rookie handbook. Here is their blurb on Hall:

Hall is a long, physical corner who shows the discipline and awareness in zone coverage to make an impact at the next level. Still, a lack of overall athleticism to play with good balance and stick with quicker receivers in man will likely keep him from starting.

My takeaway from watching Hall was “meh.” I don’t believe the 49ers would be interested in a cornerback that can’t stay with quicker receivers or isn’t a high-end athlete. Hall didn’t run at the Combine, and usually, that’s a sign you’re hiding something if you’re fully healthy. We’ll see if that changes at his pro day.

As for the haul, San Francisco would have to be thrilled to come away with two potential starters and added draft ammo. Winfield alone makes this draft an “A,” and anything Hall could contribute is a bonus.