As first-round picks get higher and higher, you’ll start to see a lot of overlap from one mock draft to another. The top 10-15 picks are a lot easier to predict than picks 20-32 at the end of the first.
On Tuesday, I wrote up a mock draft from Pro Football Focus that mocked Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott to the Niners in the first round. In Todd McShay’s latest mock draft that he dropped on the same day, he also gave the 49ers Ruggs III at pick #13. However, he decided to go in a different direction with the 31st pick.
Here’s what McShay had to say about the Ruggs II pick:
“The 49ers dealt DeForest Buckner to land this pick, and they could immediately replace him with South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw. But San Francisco is searching for a wide receiver, a concern that grew more pressing when Emmanuel Sanders signed in New Orleans. Coach Kyle Shanahan likes speedy guys who can tack on yards after the catch, and that’s what Ruggs does. Suddenly, that arsenal doesn’t look too bad with the likes of Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, also running routes for Jimmy Garoppolo.”
I mentioned how well Ruggs III would fit into Kyle Shanahan’s offense in the last mock, which you can read here. But long story short, his elite speed, combined with the 49ers’ play-action game, would allow Ruggs III ample opportunities to take advantage of a defensive backs hesitation before blowing by them for a house call.
It’s an easy way to turn their wide receiver position from a problem into an above-average group in the NFL in terms of versatility and explosiveness.
Instead of giving the Niners another defensive tackle to replace DeForest Buckner, McShay decided to fill the void at cornerback with Clemson’s A.J. Terrell. Here’s what he had to say about the selection:
“Ruggs at No. 13 took care of the wide receiver void, and while someone like Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike could be fun in the middle of the defensive front as a replacement for DeForest Buckner, cornerback is the larger issue at hand. LSU’s Kristian Fulton and Ohio State’s Damon Arnette shouldn’t be ruled out, but Terrell is long and plays fast — as he ran a 4.42 at the combine. He has the talent to be a difference-maker opposite, Richard Sherman.”
While Terrell isn’t a bad corner by any means, I think the 31st pick is a tad high for him. Regardless, the former 2018 National Champion has good size at 6’1 and 195 pounds and solid speed with a 4.42 forty at the combine. His 34.5-inch vertical and 10’9 broad aren’t too bad either.
Terrell wins when he gets to cover up receivers at the line of scrimmage and force them to earn a clean release. He has no issue with smothering guys off the snap and making their life hell for the first five yards. The Atlanta-native is an adequate jump ball competitor and shows some decent hops when battling larger receivers.
His most productive season came during the title run in 2018 when he finished with a career-high 53 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, and three interceptions, including the pick-6 against Alabama in the title game. He was named to the All-ACC third for his efforts. Terrell finished his career strong with another solid year for the Tigers. He started all 14 games for the second-straight year and named a First-Team All-ACC pick after totaling 34 tackles, two more picks, and three pass breakups.