We’re one week away from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft. We have spent an unhealthy amount of time wondering who the San Francisco 49ers would select at No. 3 overall. Let’s step away from the quarterback conversation...kind of.
In today’s mailbag, we asked fans questions outside of the first round. We still managed to get a quarterback question, so let’s start there.
Would the Niners be insane to take a developmental QB in the 6th? - Bob
Not at all. Drafting two quarterbacks would be Kyle Shanahan revamping his QB room. Let’s assume, for this exercise, that Justin Fields is the pick. With that in mind, the odds of Jimmy Garoppolo remaining on the roster are slim. Knowing this, that leaves Josh Johnson, Josh Rosen, and Nate Sudfield to pair with a rookie.
Sudfield is making the roster based on the guaranteed money the 49ers gave him. He’s safer than Rosen and Johnson. So if Fields is the rookie, and Sudfield — who spent time with QB coach Rich Scangarello in Philly — is the veteran, that means there is room for one more selection.
The Shanahan’s drafted two quarterbacks in 2012. We’ve seen some teams draft a quarterback late and ultimately get value out of them. Gardner Minshew comes to mind. Now, Jacksonville could potentially receive compensation for Minshew.
Three Day 3 quarterbacks I like: Jamie Newman, Shane Buechele, and Donald Hammond III.
What insurance do we have in case Bosa is slowed by his injury as I’m sure he’s not gonna jump in there for every down, not right away, at least. - ChiefT
The assumption that Bosa returns off an ACL injury and picks up where he left off isn’t fair or realistic. It may not take Bosa as long to shake off the rust, but I don’t expect him to roll into Week 1 with four sacks.
Samson Ebukam has never rushed the passer full-time. Dee Ford has proven he’s not reliable. Outside of Arik Armstead, question marks remain, which is why I predict the Niners to use their second pick and possibly trade up for an edge rusher.
San Francisco won’t be short on options. Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins, Washington’s Joe Tryon, one of the pass rushers from Miami. The list goes on and on. Tryon is a name that I keep coming back to, as he fits what the Niners look for at the position to a tee. My money is on Tryon becoming a 49er if I had to narrow it down to one player.
I’m assuming we need to address cornerback long-term. Realistically, who’s the best there at #43? (And if Farley’s injury drops him this far, is he a no-brainier?) - Graham
Farley is a fascinating case. He’s oozing with athleticism, but who do you know had a bad back and that all of a sudden stopped acting up? The risk isn’t the same when you’re selecting a talent like Farley at No. 43 instead of in the top of the first round.
If he drops, that means the NFL knows more than we do, and Farley’s back is worse than we thought. That alone could scare teams off. Knowing the Niners injury history, we’re right back to the word risk.
The cornerback options I imagine would be available at No. 43 are Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr., both Georgia cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes. Then you have Stanford’s Paulson Adebo and possibly Syracuse’s Ifeatu Melifonwu.
Campbell, Adebo, and Melifonwu would all be great choices. You can read more about my cornerback rankings here.
What are the priorities (ranked) of positions of need outside of QB? I have to assume DB, Edge, IOL are among those, but what would be the priority rank for each? - C Jax
This is a fun exercise as it’ll differ whoever you ask. I’d bet if you polled five different people inside the 49ers building, at least three of them would have different answers.
The positional value has to be taken into account. We talked about the potential issues at edge rusher above. Last year, the 49ers fielded players who should not be playing for a playoff team. That’s why I’d list edge rusher No. 1.
Cornerback isn’t far behind. One-year deals and injury histories should leave enough doubt in the minds of the front office to spend one of the first three picks on a cornerback. That’s the clear No. 2 position.
This may not be popular, but I’m not as concerned with the offensive line as some are. Depth is needed, but Colton McKivitz is headed into his second year, and he could play either guard or tackle. Daniel Brunskill’s development stalled last year as he bounced back and forth between positions. A Day 3 pick likely isn’t coming in and looking any better than those two.
I’d put wide receiver over IOL, even with Alex Mack’s age. Here’s how I view the receiver position: the longer the Niners wait to select one, the more optimistic they are in Jalen Hurd. If Rondale Moore is selected at No. 43 overall, then Hurd’s time is over before it started.
Deebo Samuel has to stay healthy, and while Brandon Aiyuk is sure to take the next step, who could you confidently count on after those two?