You Asked ... Here's My Response

I don't comment much on NN anymore ... but I keep getting emails from participants; a couple of you have asked if I had done a mock draft yet. Is the Pope Catholic? Of course I have. But a couple of preliminaries before I present it.

Big Board Used

The biggest issue for every mock drafter is which big board to use in ranking prospects. There are more than 50 that I know of ... and they vary all over the map, even regarding the top 10 prospects in the draft. You can play mind games until your heart's content by just moving to a different board if you don't get an answer that you like. Which causes me to wonder who is kidding whom? I use the 2021 Consensus Big Board by NFL Mock Draft Database. Why? It averages the prospect rankings for the 22 most respected big boards and 364 team-based mock drafts. If you're not familiar with it you probably should be:

My own personal rule for using the Consensus Board, trying to be realistic and conservative, is to not propose any prospect with a pick lower than the prospect's Consensus ranking. As an example: OT Penei Sewell (Oregon) is currently ranked #3 on the Consensus Big Board; I would allow myself to mock draft him at #1, #2, or #3 ... but not any other pick lower than that; I don't ASSUME that he is somehow magically going to fall; he may, but I don't assume that for the mock.

Free Agency Assumptions

Obviously who we draft will depend upon what we've done in free agency. Niners management will take a lot of actions to expand the available salary cap capacity ... back-loaded re-signings, extensions, contract restructures, cuts, etc. Nonetheless, with a $182-183 million cap limit it is going to be brutal ... low-cost or else! Without any explanations, here is a quick summary of my free agency assumptions for the Niners:

7 Restricted Free Agents: All have been or will be re-signed except for QB Mullens.

7 Exclusive-Rights Free Agents: All have been or will be re-signed except LS Holba, who signed with the Rams.

29 Unrestricted Free Agents: 6-7 re-signed and all the rest are allowed to walk. The guys that I think remain are: OT Trent Williams, FB Kyle Juszczyk, NT D.J. Jones, DL Kerry Hyder, DL Jordan Willis, CB Jason Verrett. And, Witherspoon might be re-signed, depending upon the size of the Jets' offer.

As for outside free agents, I project that the Niners will sign 2 guys ... C Alex Mack and a low-cost veteran backup QB, perhaps Andy Dalton or Ryan Fitzpatrick.

That leaves 23 holes to fill! How? As I see it, 10-11 with the 2021 draft class and the rest UDFAs or other very low-cost free agents.

Resulting Needs in the Draft / Trades Required

This is what I think that we're looking for in the draft:

Offense: C / SWR / OT / RB ... probably a Bobby Turner UDFA special

Defense: E / CB / NCB / S / DL

Being a Bill Walsh disciple, in drafting, I don't believe in waiting to see what happens and who's available when we're scheduled to select. Rather, my style is to target specific prospects who best fit our needs and change the picks, through trades, to get the prospects that I want. Accordingly, I propose making the following three trades during the course of the draft:

  • Pick #1/12 (1200) --> Washington in exchange for Pick #1/19 (875) + Pick #2/51 (390) ****** (1200 versus 1265, a 5.4% premium; motivation = opportunity for Washington to draft QB Mac Jones before New England, Chicago, Pittsburgh, or New Orleans does)
  • Pick #2/43 (470) + Pick #6/197 (11) --> Cleveland in exchange for Pick #2/59 (310) + Pick #3/92 (132) + Pick #4/133 (40) ****** (481 versus 482; motivation = opportunity for Cleveland to draft a better Edge player to start opposite Myles Garrett)
  • Pick #4/133 (40) from Cleveland + Pick #5/174 (21) + Pick #5/183 (17) --> Detroit in exchange for Pick #4/133 (68) ****** (78 versus 68, a 13% discount in order to move up the board; motivation = in roster rebuild mode, three picks are more valuable to Detroit than the one higher pick)


Why make these trades? Easy, to get to better prospects who fit our needs and schemes. We started with 10 picks with a cumulative trade value of 1,894 points; we ended up with 10 picks with a cumulative trade value of 1,950 points. No big deal ... except when you look at the distribution of those picks. To wit:

  • Round 1: Before trades = 1 / After trades = 1
  • Round 2: Before trades = 1 / After trades = 2
  • Round 3: Before trades = 1 / After trades = 2
  • Round 4: Before trades = 1 / After trades = 2
  • Round 5: Before trades = 3 / After trades = 1
Resulting Mock Draft

Here's what I do with the resulting available picks:

Pick #1/12 (Own): Traded to Washington

Pick #1/19 (WFT): E Azeez Ojulari (Georgia) 6'3" / 240 ... Consensus Ranked 22 ... replace Ford

Pick #2/43 (Own): Traded to Cleveland

Pick #2/51 (WFT): CB Tyson Campbell (Georgia) 6'2" / 185 ... Ranked 51 ... replace Sherman

Pick #2/59 (CLE): NCB Elijah Molden (Washington) 5'10" / 185 ... Ranked 59 ... replace K'Waun Williams

Pick #3/92 (CLE): C Trey Hill (Georgia) 6'3" / 320 ... Ranked 113 ... replace Garland, then Mack

Pick #3/103 (Comp): S Talanoa Hufanga (Southern Cal) 6'0" / 212 ... Ranked 118 ... replace Tartt

Pick #4/113 (DET): OT James Hudson (Cincinnati) 6'5" / 302 ... Ranked 119 ... replace Skule

Pick #4/118 (Own): SWR Amari Rodgers (Clemson) 5'10" / 211 ... Ranked 123 ... replace T. Taylor / James

Pick #4/133 (CLE): Traded to Detroit

Pick #5/157 (Own): DL Bobby Brown (Texas A&M) 6'3" / 312 ... Ranked 163 ... replace S. Thomas

Pick #5/174 (Own): Traded to Detroit

Pick #5/183 (Comp): Traded to Detroit

Pick #6/197 (Own): Traded to Cleveland

Pick #7/226 (NYJ): E Wyatt Hubert (Kansas State) 6'3" / 265 ... Ranked 230 ... replace Blair

Pick #7/236 (Own): RB Pooka Williams (Kansas) or other Bobby Turner special

There you have it. Thanks for asking.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.