We are less than two weeks away from when some NCAA schools will start to hold their pro days, giving NFL teams a first-hand look at the prospects who will be available during the 2021 NFL Draft.
The San Francisco 49ers hold the No. 12 pick and have several needs on their roster. The secondary will have to be addressed at some point, with nine players from the unit up for new contracts.
The Niners are scheduled to have up to 10 picks in this year’s draft and could also look to add to the offensive line, defensive line or take a quarterback. We should get a clearer picture as we approach the NFL new league year, which begins on March 17.
Here are who some of the major media outlets have the 49ers taking in their latest mock drafts.
NFL.com has the 49ers taking Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater
We’ll see what happens with Trent Williams in free agency, but even if the Niners are able to re-sign him, Slater could easily slide inside to guard. - Daniel Jeremiah
Pro Football Focus has the 49ers taking Florida tight end Kyle Pitts
Pairing Pitts with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Shanahan’s brain is an opportunity too good to pass up. That right there would be a scary personnel package to defend.
Pitts generated a 96.2 PFF grade this year, more than five grading points higher than any other tight end and well above the previous record set by former FAU Owl and now-Cleveland Brown Harrison Bryant in 2019 (92.5). The 49ers’ receiving corps was one of the worst in the NFL in 2020 — the selection of Pitts goes a long way toward changing that.
The versatile tight end played just shy of 64% of his offensive snaps inline, but he dominated unlike any other tight end we had ever seen when he lined up out wide in single coverage. Pitts went toe-to-toe with press coverage when lined up out wide for 40 receiving snaps this season and came away with seven explosive receptions of 15-plus yards on those opportunities. We have never seen a tight end record more than two of those in a single year before Pitts this season. - Anthony Treash
CBS Sports has the 49ers taking North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
The 49ers trade up for the most athletic QB in this class, Trey Lance. Kyle Shanahan said in recent weeks that Jimmy Garoppolo is his QB for 2021, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t (or won’t) plan for the future. Lance has the athleticism and arm strength to be a legit NFL QB, he only lacks experience. But if anyone can get the most out of his abilities it’s Shanahan, who did just that with Robert Griffin III during his rookie year in Washington back in 2012. - Ryan Wilson
Bleacher Report has the 49ers taking Alabama QB Mac Jones
Considering that practically every established cornerback on their roster is headed toward free agency, the San Francisco 49ers will likely be disappointed to see Surtain and Farley get snatched up before they go on the clock. But that might mean that one of the draft’s five first-round-caliber quarterbacks will be available, as is the case here.
It’s possible San Francisco will do something wild like acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans or Darnold from the Jets or sign Prescott well before the draft, but if they stick with Jimmy Garoppolo on what is essentially a year-to-year contract, this might be a perfect opportunity to bring in a potential successor in Mac Jones.
The Alabama product doesn’t blow you away like the top four quarterbacks in this class, but he’s accurate, efficient and smart. That might be all that’s necessary to excel in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Assuming they bring back left tackle Trent Williams and at least a veteran corner or two, and assuming they can get healthier in general after a season that defined Murphy’s Law from that standpoint, the 49ers are talented enough to afford using a pick like this on a signal-caller who may or may not see the field in 2021. - Brad Gagnon
USA TODAY has the 49ers taking Lance
He’s a highly intriguing prospect, perhaps a (slightly) smaller version of Cam Newton given Lance’s size (6-3, 224) and ability to make plays with his arm and legs. However, given the level of competition he played against in college, where the pandemic limited him to one game in 2020, sitting behind a steady veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo for a year seems reasonable for all parties. - Nate Davis
Pro Football Network has the 49ers taking Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II
Well, this worked out well for the San Francisco 49ers. Cornerback is one of the most pressing needs for the 49ers this offseason. All of their starters are set to hit the market, and only one — Jason Verrett — should experience some resistance from the 49ers’ camp.
There will undoubtedly be a need for more talent on the boundary when the NFL Draft comes around. At No. 12 in this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Patrick Surtain II is one of the best potential options. Surtain had a productive career with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and he has the necessary length, footwork, physicality, and ball skills to be an early starter with upside.
The 49ers promoted linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans to replace Robert Saleh as defensive coordinator. Given Ryans’ experience under Saleh, it’s likely he carries over some of the same philosophies. In that scheme, Surtain has lots of potential. - Ian Cummings
As you can see, draft pundits have San Francisco going all over the map. Pitts had a very season for the Gators but could be viewed as more of a luxury pick with George Kittle already on the roster. He has the talent to be a difference-maker right away, but the 49ers have other pressing needs.
Lance has been given some love when it comes to the Niners but it was surprising to see Gagnon go with Jones, who could climb up draft boards if he wows scouts during his workouts.
Based on the picks above, which player do you think would be the best fit with the 49ers?
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