Pro Football Focus’s Sam Monson was on KNBR to discuss the San Francisco 49ers’ upcoming draft plans. Monson started the interview by saying, “I’ve never understood the idea of trading away a player, and then immediately replacing him with the draft pick that you got for trading him. Any time that you have to replace a guy with the draft pick that you get for trading him away, it’s just not a good move. I understand that it’s cheaper. You know the rookie will be on less money. But the money that you pay the veteran is worth the insurance for the [risk] that you’re not very good at drafting. That’s not an insult on any particular talent evaluator. League-wide, everyone is bad at drafting. The best talent evaluators in the world, their strike rate is terrible.”
The host, Mark Willard, asked Monson what his approach would be with the 13th pick and a couple of names he’d be looking for:
I think they’re in a really good spot to be getting value at the wide receiver position. I’m not against the trading away of DeForest Buckner move, generally. I think it’s actually quite a smart move, but only if you don’t replace him with that pick. I think they can get by without DeForest Buckner. I think they’ve been stockpiling guys that can play in that position for a number of years, and they’re able to get by next season without him there.
Losing Emmanuel Sanders was a big blow. He made a difference to this team when he came in. Potentially, you can get a shot at one of the top receivers from the best receiver class that anyone can remember. I think there is a very legitimate chance that Jerry Jeudy, who a lot of people think is the best receiver in the draft class, slips into the teens. I think a lot of people are going to start to overthink Jeudy. His measurables weren’t fantastic; a lot of snaps were spent inside and not outside. He’s not a great contested catch guy. You’ll see a lot of people talk themselves out of Jerry Jeudy, and he could potentially slide to 13. If that happens, that’s the best possible pick that can manifest itself for the 49ers.
Monson said he had more confidence in Jeudy being more successful out of the gate but thinks CeeDee Lamb has a higher ceiling and could easily be an All-Pro and top-five receiver in a few years. The argument of drafting a receiver early in such a deep receiver class is valid. That could cause Jeudy to slide right into the 49ers’ lap.
If the 49ers do pass on a receiver with their first pick, Monson likes Baylor’s Denzel Mims at 31. Monson said there is a big indicator that if you show up well and completely dominant a level of all-star competition that it’s an indicator, you’ll do really well in the NFL. Sam said the Senior Bowl had predicted guys like Cowboys WR Michael Gallup, Washington’s WR Terry McLaurin last year, and this year it was Denzel Mims, who was PFF’s highest-graded player during the Senior Bowl week since they’ve been grading players at the all-star game:
“He was basically open every single 1-on-1 route. He caught everything and absolutely dominated guys. Then he goes to the combine and runs a 4.38, jumps really well, has an incredible 3-cone for a guy his size. He basically put himself into the 96th percentile of NFL athletes. It’s basically been his stock going through the roof. It is a fair criticism to look at his college tape for a guy that dominant and wonder why it was so underwhelming.
I think you have to ask yourself why, and I think you can explain it. The offense there at Baylor with what they were asking him to do was a little bit predictable. Cornerbacks were expecting the two or three routes he was going to run on every single play. Whereas you go to the senior bowl in the 1-on-1 drills, he can run anything, and the cornerback has to respect that. Therefore all of his fakes and all of his routes got him open. When you look at his college tape, he wasn’t able to do that because nobody was buying what he was selling. I think Mims is a better NFL player than he was a college player, and it’s not like he was a bad college player.”
Welcome aboard, Sam.