I had a seven-round mock draft written that was scheduled last Friday. Then, the 49ers shook up the NFL Draft by trading up to No. 3. Today, we’ll do a mock based on what I would do in each round. This time around, there will be no trades.
No. 3 - QB Justin Fields, Ohio St.
I’m taking the quarterback who is 1B in this draft. Fields is tough as nails, as he showed against Clemson when he came back from fractured ribs and still played at a high level. He also throws those perfect “moon” balls over 50 yards while showing ideal accuracy at the intermediate levels to all parts of the field.
Fields is a special player, and he’d take the Niners' offense to a different level. His 4.4 speed would be a luxury, but Fields’ pocket presence shouldn’t be slept on, either.
No. 43 - WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Everyone wants to take the best player available until it’s not at a position of need. The 49ers hit on Deebo Samuel in the second round and Brandon Aiyuk after trading up for him in the 2020 draft.
The addition of Moore gives the 49ers three versatile receivers and Fields one of the best group of pass-catchers in the NFL. Moore’s talent is undeniable:
Elijah Moore is one of the most skilled WRs I’ve seen. He’s as good as it gets as far as tracking/catching, and Moore isn’t bothered by contact. He “steps on the DBs toes/chases his blindspot,” wins inside & out, creates YAC, and is sneaky# fast.— KP (@KP_Show) March 1, 2021
Comp: Shades of Doug Baldwin pic.twitter.com/aZC1lkRb2k
Moore did running back drills at his pro day. He lined up in the Rebels backfield quite a bit under Lane Kiffin, though he only carried the ball 14 times.
Moore, at 5’9” 178 pounds, ran a 4.35 40-yard dash with a 6.66 3-cone drill. He’s labeled as a slot receiver only, but he won on the outside in the SEC, as you can see from the video above.
Forty-three percent of Moore’s yards came after the catch last season, and he caught 98% of his catchable passes, per Sports Info Solutions. Moore showed he could win in contested situations. He’s a perfect fit for the Niners.
After free agency, the 49ers put themselves in a position to take the best player available. That was Moore in this scenario.
No. 102 - CB Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky
Joseph is an intriguing option. He measured at 5’11” and 197 pounds at his pro day. The LSU transfer jumped 35” in the vertical, 10-foot-8 inches in the broad jump, and ran a 4.28 40-yard dash, which can be taken with a grain of salt based on these pro day numbers. The 49ers were in attendance, and Joseph looked smooth and played fast.
On the field, Joseph fits the mold of what the Niners want at the position: He’s confident, he’s aggressive, and he’s physical. There’s a play engrained in my head where Florida’s Kyle Pitts beat Joseph on a route then outran him on his way to the end zone. To be fair, Pitts did that to everyone this season.
Joseph allowed a 47% completion percentage on 32 targets this past season. He had four interceptions but also gave up three touchdowns. Joseph could compete for a starting spot, and if there are any injuries, he could slide into the lineup. Joseph played 23% of his snaps in the slot this past season.
He’s at his best as a tackler, transitions out of breaks, ball skills, and in press-man.
No. 117 - EDGE Josh Kaindoh, Florida St.
Kaindoh was one of the top players in the country out of high school and was supposed to dominate at FSU, but injuries slowed him early in his career. The 49ers were present at FSU’s pro day as well, so they got a good look at Kaindoh.
Kaindoh, at 6’5”, 260 pounds, ran a 4.70 40-yard dash, with a 7.21 3-cone, a 36.5” vertical, with a 10-5 broad jump — proving he’s plenty athletic for the NFL:
Josh Kaindoh is a DE prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.47 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 72 out of 1330 DE from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 22, 2021
Splits projected, times unofficial.https://t.co/VZwdwr2pWR #RAS pic.twitter.com/Amu9nMY0TY
Kaindoh is the “length and strength” edge rusher the 49ers seem to covet.
He has a good first step, but you won’t confuse Kaindoh with a speed rusher. At this point in the draft, we’re betting on his talent and that injuries will no longer affect him. He missed all but three games in 2019 with an ankle injury and one game in 2020 with a left knee injury that impacted Kaindoh for the rest of the year.
No. 155 - OG Kendrick Green, Illinois
I’m continuing to bet on athletes, and Green may be the most explosive athlete in the class:
If you're looking for an iOL on day 2 or 3 of the #NFLDraft, you could do a lot worse than #Illinois guard Kendrick Green. Some of the best speed and explosion we've ever seen at the position.— Chris Spooner (@SpoonfulofSport) March 23, 2021
(Pro day numbers from @PFF_AustinGayle. #RAS from @MathBomb) pic.twitter.com/tWFL5PnKOs
The Illini played in a zone scheme, and Green got to show off his strength and athleticism. He’s a defensive tackle convert that has started at both guard and center during his career. That type of versatility should go a long way in the NFL.
Green will embarrass defenders in the running game but has work to do in pass protection. At this point in the draft, that’s expected. I’ll bet on coaching to get him up to speed, and if I can turn Green into a starter in a couple of years, then that’s a win for the team.
No. 172 - RB Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech
Kyle Shanahan can’t resist himself as he selects one of the more explosive backs in the draft. Herbert was second among all draft-eligible running backs with ten carries over 50 yards this past season. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry at Virginia Tech in 2020.
Herbert, at 210 pounds, ran a 4.46/4.48 40-yard dash at his pro day with a 6.96 3-cone. Herbert is a smart runner who shows patience and lets his blockers do the work for him. At the Senior Bowl, Herbert looked great in the pass protection drills. He also has experience as a kick returner.
No. 180 - WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford
You’re kidding yourself if you think we’re getting through a draft without a Stanford player. Another wide receiver? Well, the 49ers aren’t exactly stacked at the position. Fehoko is a 6’4” 220-pound wideout who ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and a 6.86 3-cone.
There are plays throughout the 2020 season of Fehoko “mossing” defenders or running them over. Shanahan would enjoy that. Fehoko doesn’t separate well, despite his play speed, but he’s a big-play threat who can win 50/50 balls. He’d be a red zone target for Fields. He’d also be a standout on special teams with his athleticism.
No. 194 - S Jamar Johnson, Indiana
Johnson was targeted 18 times this past season and had four interceptions and four pass breakups. When it comes to the running game, you’ll want to turn your head. Johnson misses too many open-field tackles and takes some terrible pursuit angles.
He’s likely only seeing the field on passing downs where you could use him to guard slot receivers or as a post safety to haul in interceptions deep. This is another special teams selection that hopefully develops into a sub-package player.
No. 230 - TE Kylen Granson, SMU
The 49ers should continue to keep swinging on Day 3 tight ends, and Granson is no different. At 6’1”, 241 pounds, Granson ran a 4.61/4.63 at his pro day with a 36.5” vertical. That’s the type of explosiveness you’re looking for in a tight end. A 7.05 3-cone lets us know that Granson can move, too.
When you watch Granson, he plays that fast and shouldn’t have any issue beating linebackers in coverage. He’s sure-handed, versatile, and plays with good effort. Granson is not a good blocker, and there’s no sense in pretending so, but that’s an easy fix. Just line him up in the slot or use him on passing downs.