In this simulation, CeeDee Lamb was the first receiver off the board, and the Jets passed on a wide receiver. I needed the Raiders to hold out on taking my guy, and, sure enough, Mike Mayock took Henry Ruggs. I ended up taking Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, who is a Tier 1 receiver in the draft but is also the “safest” and best fit for the San Francisco 49ers.
Everyone expects the 49ers to move down from pick No. 31. I tried to work the phones with Houston’s “general manager,” but nothing came of that conversation. Instead, I call up my buddy John Elway from the Broncos, knowing he’s coveting one of the top cornerbacks available. I sent the Broncos picks 31, 156, 176, and my seventh-round picks, and a case of Elway’s favorite Bourbon in exchange for picks 46, 83, and 95. Quality over quantity, knowing that I have a Super Bowl roster in place. Not all of those players are going to make the roster anyway.
At 46, I can still go a number of ways. There are good football players available like safety Xavier McKinney from Alabama. There are cornerbacks I could take here like Noah Igbinoghene or even a defensive tackle, but Temple’s Matt Hennessy is too good to pass up here. Everyone thinks Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz is a shoo-in to be the best interior lineman in the draft. I like Hennessy better, especially for the 49ers.
Hennessy can reach landmarks in the running game that very few can. He understands angles and will finish you to the ground. I love his mentality. As a pass protector, Hennessy was great at picking up stunts and didn’t get beat in the games I watched. He’s a stud, and this gives me a great offensive line as Hennessy has experience at guard.
Doubling down on defense in the third
The board fell perfect, as I was hoping a quality defensive lineman fell, and, sure, enough, Missouri’s Jordan Elliott is sitting here at pick No. 83 for me. What I’m looking for in a defensive tackle is someone that can win on third downs and not be a complete liability against the run. Elliott’s PFF numbers look great. Here’s how they stack up against the top two consensus defensive tackles, Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw:
Elliott: pass-rush grade, 91.1. Run-stop grade: 91.1. 3rd down grade: 89.8. pass-rush-win rate: 18.7
Brown, using those same stats: 90.4, 84.7, 85.0, 13.7.
Kinlaw: 90.7, 80.4, 82.0, 18.1.
Elliott was consistent in 2019. He doesn’t have the same physical traits as Kinlaw, but Elliott can be disruptive, and he comes into San Francisco with zero pressure to perform as he’s surrounded by four potential quality starters and a great defensive line coach.
My second third-round pick was easier than picking Jeudy. Mississippi State’s cornerback Cameron Dantzler was available. When the 49ers met with him, here is what I wrote about why 40 times aren’t nearly as important as having proper technique and a competitive edge:
Because you run a fast 40-yard dash does not make you a good cornerback. It means you are fast. The two are not mutual. One of the best athletes in the NFL at cornerback is Ahkello Witherspoon. Spoon ran a 4.45 40, jumped 40.5” in the vertical, and ran a sub-7-second three-cone drill. You have to have a certain mindset to succeed at cornerback. Once Witherspoon started giving up plays, his confidence started wavering. When that happens, superb athletes start to overthink. When you overthink, you start to play slower and second guess yourself. Now your mindset is “I don’t want to get beat in coverage,” and you tense up. That’s why we saw Witherspoon beaten in coverage during the second half of the season. That wasn’t a 4.45 cornerback playing. It was more like a 4.65 with no reaction time.
Dantzler ran faster at his Pro Day, but we know he’s not a 4.3 player. He looked like a 4.5 guy when you watch him, and if we put the pieces of the puzzle together, that’s likely who Dantzler is as a player.
Steal in the sixth
At pick 210, I’m doubling down on cornerback and taking Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson. The 6’1”, 205 pound senior ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and was above the 89th percentile in both the 10-yard split and the broad jump. Ball production transfers from college to the pros and Robinson were in the top-15 for “forced incompletions.” Robinson didn’t play well against two of the better receivers he faced, but at this point in the draft, anybody that makes the roster is a bonus.
What do you think?
I miss out on adding a tackle, tight end, and running back, but I shore up my offensive line for 2020 and am protected better than ever against an injury. We added the best receiver, interior offensive lineman, and one of the top defensive tackles in the draft. Plus, we have building blocks at cornerback moving forward.
13 - WR Jerry Jeudy
46 - IOL Matt Hennessy
83 - DT Jordan Elliott
95 - CB Cameron Dantzler
210 - CB Reggie Robinson
Grade this draft
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