We are less than three months away from the 2021 NFL Draft and with the 2020 season now officially complete, the attention is focused on what should be a busy offseason.
The San Francisco 49ers hold the 12th pick of the draft and are projected to have ten picks total. It appears to be a lock that the Jacksonville Jaguars will take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence first overall but the picture gets murky after that.
With so many teams in the top 10 looking for quarterbacks, we could see Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance taken soon after Lawrence. The Niners could go with a QB at No. 12 to backup Jimmy Garoppolo, or potentially shop the pick in a trade.
San Francisco also has a need in the secondary with cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon expected to find new homes for the 2021 season.
Here is who some of the major media outlets have the 49ers taking at No. 12 in their latest mock drafts:
ESPN has the 49ers taking Alabama CB Patrick Surtain
The 49ers will likely undergo big changes on defense this offseason, with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh gone and cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jason Verrett all unrestricted free agents. That’s why it makes sense to target a corner early. Surtain, my top-ranked corner, could be a starter on Day 1. He had 27 pass breakups and four interceptions over three seasons at Bama. At 6-2, Surtain has the size and speed to play on an island and lock down wideouts. Depending on whether San Francisco can bring back free-agent left tackle Trent Williams, offensive line could also be a position to target. - Mel Kiper Jr.
NFL.com has the 49ers taking Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley
Starting corners Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett will be free agents in March. Farley’s versatility would allow the 49ers to play him outside or at safety if they require help there in the future. - Chad Reuter
Reuter has San Francisco taking Ohio State center Josh Myers in the second round and his Buckeye teammate Payton Turner (EDGE) in the third.
Pro Football Focus has the 49ers taking Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye
Dee Ford looks bound for the chopping block this offseason and Arik Armstead’s versatility can slot in a lot of places along the defensive line. The 49ers defense relies on that front four to get home, and Paye’s freak athleticism could benefit from learning across from Nick Bosa. - Michael Renner
CBS Sports has the 49ers taking Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
Wide receivers usually get pushed down as we get closer to the draft but my goodness, imagine Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Jaylen Waddle on the field together with Kyle Shanahan dialing up the plays. - Ryan Wilson
Yahoo has the 49ers taking North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
If the 49ers can’t get in on one of the veteran quarterbacks in this offseason derby, they could do a lot worse than sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo (or swapping in another veteran placeholder) and grooming Lance as the eventual successor. Figuring out where Lance goes — it could be higher than this, trust us — will be one of the great draft mysteries this year. He’s talented enough to have a better career than Zach Wilson or Justin Fields but inexperienced enough for none of us to really know how he’ll develop. The team that selects Lance in the top half of Round 1 is going to need a bit of chutzpah. - Eric Edholm
Bleacher Report has the 49ers taking Surtain
The San Francisco 49ers could look very different in 2021 depending on what the team decides to do with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and left tackle Trent Williams, who is an impending free agent.
While the offense gets the most attention, San Francisco’s entire secondary needs to be reworked since Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams, Ahkello Witherspoon, Dontae Johnson, Jamar Taylor and Jaquiski Tartt are free agents.
With DeMeco Ryans’ elevation to defensive coordinator, the system shouldn’t change drastically from the one Robert Saleh left behind to become the New York Jets head coach.
As such, long and physical corners who excel in zone coverage are a must. Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II is an imposing defender and the most well-coached defensive back coming into the league. He can step in immediately to help offset San Francisco’s losses. - Brent Sobleski
The six mock drafts have the Niners taking five different players from three different positions. Surtain, Farley and Jaycee Horn are widely-regarded as the top three corners available and with so many free agents from the secondary, taking a corner makes a ton of sense.
Lance might not be available when San Francisco is picking and Waddle seems to be the least likely, given the presence of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Pity would be an intriguing option. As mentioned above, Dee Ford could be on his way out which would leave a gaping hole in the pass rush.
Which player from above would you want the 49ers to take at No. 12?
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