On Wednesday morning, it was reported that All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel had officially requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers. While that doesn’t necessarily mean Samuel will be dealt with, the possibility of it happening certainly exists.
Before I get into the mock, I want to clarify that I am not advocating for trading Samuel. Instead, I think the utmost priority for the 49ers at this point in time should be to find a way to mend the relationship with Samuel and figure out a long-term extension that would keep the budding superstar wideout in a 49ers uniform for the foreseeable future.
However, this situation has certainly taken an abrupt turn in recent days. In an offseason that’s seen players like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill traded, nothing can be ruled out in regards to potentially moving Samuel.
If the 49ers are ultimately in a position where they reach the point of no return and the relationship with their superstar wideout, it would be in their best interest to pull the trigger on a trade before next Thursday’s draft. This way, they know exactly where the picks that they net will fall while also adding extra ammunition to replenish a roster dealing with the fallout of shipping out an All-Pro player.
49ers trade wide receiver Deebo Samuel, to the New York Jets in exchange for picks 35, 38, & 111
The Jets reportedly offered 35, 38, & 69 to Kansas City in exchange for Tyreek Hill and pick 104, so for the sake of having a jumping-off point, I had them send a similar package to the 49ers for Samuel.
Coming away with two picks in the top half of the second round is the main focus here, as there are several quality players projected to come off the board in that range, including...
Round 2, pick 35
Boye Mafe, Edge - Minnesota
Mafe is hands down my favorite prospect in this draft class. This is an electric prospect edge who has the physical gifts to develop into a game-wrecking force in the NFL. The 49ers have a need for an explosive threat to pair with Nick Bosa on the edges, and Mafe gives the 49ers the potential to have one of the best pass-rushing tandems in the league in the near future.
Mafe ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine last month, which was the 9th fastest time recorded by a defensive end at the combine since the year 1987. That’s among 1,355 qualified players, which is even more impressive when you consider Mafe weighs in at 261 pounds.
Mafe’s incredible size is paired with a tremendous amount of explosion, as he might have the best get off of any edge player in this entire class. The only real concern is that his production doesn’t quite match the eye test when you evaluate him as a pass rusher. Mafe recorded 40 pressures and six sacks in 2021 but regularly displayed the elite athletic traits that make him such a coveted asset in this draft.
Here are Mafe’s measurables from the combine last month
Weight: 261 lbs
Arm length: 32 5/8”
Hand size: 9 7/8”
Mafe’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS) scored a perfect 10.0 out of 10, which ranked 2nd among 2,188 linebackers dating back to 1987. That score would translate to 9.91 out of 10 among defensive ends over that same time frame.
On top of the generational athleticism Mafe possesses, I was repeatedly told at the combine he was a player whose intangibles and personality are just as, if not more impressive than the physical gifts.
The fascinating thing about Mafe is that he likely hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his potential yet. Pairing an athlete like this with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek is a match made in heaven.
At the scouting combine, I asked Mafe about his meeting that occurred that week in Indianapolis with the 49ers, to which he responded.
“I like that organization a lot.”
He also touched on potentially pairing up on the same defensive line as Nick Bosa.
“That would be great, honestly, having two great pass rushers on the same team. And especially learning from him would be a tremendous thing for me. I like watching his game the way he plays the game, and I feel like I could learn a lot from him. And going in there and obtaining all that knowledge, I feel like that’d be great for me.”
This pick gives the 49ers high upside at a premium position and sets them up well to get solid pass-rushing production from a secondary option for the foreseeable future. That kind of financial flexibility could prove invaluable as Bosa is in line to get an extension that will likely make him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
Round 2, pick 28
Jalen Pitre, Defensive back - Baylor
The 49ers still have a couple of holes in their secondary at safety and slot corner, both roles that Pitre could contribute to right away. Pitre was a player who primarily took his snaps out of the slot at Baylor but is someone who has the physical tools to make the switch to a role on the back end at safety.
Pitre is fast, has good instincts, and his motion is extremely fluid. This is a player who looks extremely comfortable covering in space and has a very quick trigger, showing off an eye-popping amount of range in the secondary.
The versatility is extremely valuable as well, as it would give the 49ers two safeties who could hypothetically spin down and play near the box, as well as lineup in the slot. A flexibility that cannot be overlooked when you face Cooper Kupp at least twice a year.
The value here is too good to pass up, Pitre is the best player left on the board, and he immediately gives the 49ers' secondary a big boost. Worth noting that the 5’11 195 pound Pitre has drawn comparisons to current 49ers safety Jimmie Ward, which potentially gives the 49ers a long term answer at the position beyond Ward’s tenure as well
49ers trade pick 61 to Giants in exchange for picks 67 & 112
Just like last year, the 49ers trade back in the second round while picking up an extra pick in the fourth round.
Round 2, pick 67
Dylan Parham, IOL - Memphis
After spending the first two picks addressing the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers switch gears and add a promising prospect to beef up the interior of their offensive line. Parham is a massive human standing at 6’3 311 pounds, who is also a player with good burst for his size, clocking a 4.93 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.
Parham is a strong run blocker, regularly displaying a fluid range of motion laterally that would translate well into the 49ers' zone-based scheme. Where he really stood out, however, was in pass protection. Over the last two seasons, Parham has only allowed one sack across 941 pass-blocking snaps.
Parham also comes with a tremendous amount of versatility as well, logging at least 600 snaps at left guard, right guard, and right tackle, respectively. He’s also capable of playing center, which could be a need if Alex Mack decides to retire.
The ability to have a player capable of playing multiple different positions on the offensive line while also making an investment into protecting their franchise quarterback makes this pick a no-brainer.
49ers send picks 93 & 134 to Steelers in exchange for pick 84
With the extra picks the 49ers have in the fourth round, there is a bit of wiggle room to move up nine spots to guarantee the ability to select a player who can make an immediate contribution to this team.
Round 3, pick 84
Marcus Jones, Cornerback - Houston
I don’t think I have ever seen the 49ers fanbase as unified on a prospect before the draft the way they are with Jones. It’s very easy to see why Jones is a very talented player. At 5’8 185, Jones may be a bit undersized, but you'd never know that based on the way he played.
This is a cornerback who not only has good coverage skills and the athletic talent to keep up with receivers downfield and in open space. He also is a more than willing run defender and someone with strong IQ who regularly fills their run gaps effectively.
On top of all the production you get from Jones as a defensive back, Jones was also a special teams ace and one of the best punt returners in the nation during his time at Houston. The 49ers adding a player who can moonlight as an explosive return threat would certainly give the revamped special teams an added spark.
Jones is someone who can be the long-term answer for the 49ers at the slot corner position following the departure of K’Waun Williams and also have the ability to kick outside if need be. Finding good corners is hard, and you can never have too many strong options at the position on your roster at any given time. Trading up for Jones here is absolutely worth giving up pick 134.
Round 3, Pick 105
Danny Gray, Wide receiver - SMU
I don’t envy any player at the receiver position who would hypothetically get drafted after the 49ers trade Samuel. Regardless of the capital invested, they will be looked at as the player picked to replace a generational talent. I want to make it clear, there is not a receiver in this class who can step in from day one and have the level of impact Samuel did.
However, Gray doesn’t have to be the next Deebo to help this offense, simply being the first Danny Gray would be enough to boost the 49ers' passing attack. One thing the 49ers have been lacking is a true deep threat that is capable of taking the top off of a defense consistently.
Gray is that guy, recording a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. Gray has an immense amount of north-to-south speed and could be a very important complementary piece in a passing attack with a quarterback that has the arm talent to challenge defenses vertically.
This pick helps insulate a wide receiver room recovering from the loss of Samuel and gives the 49ers a player who could have a nice future as a second or third option in the passing game on this team.
Round 4, pick 111
Kellen Diesch, Tackle - Arizona State
The 49ers use the third pick they received from the Jets in the Samuel trade to continue to invest in the offensive line. At 6’7 300 pounds, Diesch has the size and the traits to develop into a starter at the tackle position at the NFL level. This would give the 49ers a solid in-house contingency plan should Mike McGlinchey’s injury or financial situation complicate his future with the team.
Diesch was exceptional in pass protection, allowing only seven total pressures on 393 pass-blocking snaps in 2021. That's only one pressure allowed for every 56 pass-blocking snaps that Diesch logged during his final collegiate season.
Any investment into the offensive line is a good move, and the 49ers are able to grab a solid depth piece that could potentially be a starter down the road.
49ers send picks 112 & 172 to Broncos in exchange for picks 115 & 145
The 49ers move back three spots in the fourth round to jump up 27 spots in the fifth round
Round 4, pick 115
Zamir White, Running back - Georgia
Right now, the thing that the 49ers running back room is missing the most is an explosive runner with a noticeable level of burst. White not only provides the home-run speed but is overall a complete player who has the physical profile to carve out an integral role on this 49ers offense.
At 6’0 214 pounds, White has a strong frame and has showed the ability to excel running between the tackles on gap concepts. He also has fantastic top-end speed, which he put on display while running a 4.4 40-yard dash at the combine.
White pairs that high-end burst with an eye-opening amount of physicality, averaging over 3.66 yards after contact per carry this past season. That combination of size, speed, and physicality makes White a strong candidate to come in and have an impact right out of the gate, just a year after we saw the 49ers have a rookie running back eclipse 1000 yards on the ground in 2021.
Round 5, pick 145
JoJo Domann, Linebacker - Nebraska
At this point in the draft, I am more interested in finding players who can make an immediate impact on special teams while developing into a potentially larger role down the line. The odds are slim of finding immediate starters in this range, so a player like Domann is fantastic value that doesn’t add dead weight to the 53-man roster due to the contributions made in the third phase of the game.
Listed as a linebacker, Domann was actually primarily utilized as a in the slot during his time at Nebraska. This kind of hybrid player is something that carries tremendous value as the NFL continues to evolve while offenses spread the field. It gives the 49ers great flexibility schematically while also giving the roster flexibility moving forward should Dre Greenlaw depart via free agency next season.
Domann is a player who can potentially fill that hole in the 49ers linebacker corps if and when that time comes while making contributions on special teams in the interim.
Round 6, pick 187
Jason Poe, IOL - Mercer
With the uncertainty surrounding Alex Mack’s future, and the lack of defined roles on the interior of the offensive line at the moment, the 49ers decided to add another promising guard prospect.
Poe is freakishly fast for his size and has a very impressive physical makeup from a traits standpoint. Poe didn’t attend the scouting combine, but here’s how his testing numbers would have stacked up against the offensive line group in this draft class. Rank amongst this class in parentheses.
40-yard dash - 4.89 seconds (2nd)
Benchpress - 34 reps (1st)
Vertical - 31.5 inches (5th)
Broad Jump - 9’3” (10th)
Poe’s eye-popping athletic gifts have actually led to teams toying with the idea of deploying the nimble 300-pounder as a fullback. Here’s what Poe had to say about his potential usage in the backfield.
“They’ve never seen anything like this,” Poe told HERO Sports. “Usually, you take a d-linemen or a linebacker, and you put him in the backfield, and he can play fullback. They’ve never seen an offensive lineman that’s athletic enough and knows how to do the job of a fullback. I’m a unique guy. A lot of teams like me at guard or center. But some teams like me at fullback.”
Poe projects as a solid option anywhere on the interior, but there seems to be a very realistic possibility that he is actually going to be used occasionally as a fullback. Think about how fun it would be to see Kyle Shanahan scheming up a 300-pound wrecking ball as a lead blocker out of the backfield.
49ers trade picks 220 & 221 to Broncos in exchange for pick 206
The 49ers part with one of their compensatory sixth-round selections to ensure they are able to select a player with an intriguing physical profile.
Round 6, pick 206
Markquese Bell, Safety - Florida A&M
Bell is much closer physically to what the 49ers have had in recent years at the safety spot alongside Jimmie Ward. At 6’2 212 pounds, Bell compares very favorably to longtime starter Jaquiski Tartt.
That big frame goes a long way in the box, where the 49ers' defense is dependent on whoever is playing the strong safety position to be physical near the line of scrimmage while filling their gaps in the run game.
Bell also happens to run a 4.41 40-yard dash, showing off an impressive amount of speed in the open field. This is a player who also brings great versatility, as Bell took a considerable amount of snaps as a deep safety as well as a slot corner, despite primarily lining up in the box.
At this point in the draft, there is tremendous value in adding a player who potentially makes the team and contributes to special teams while serving in a depth role. Worst case, you get a physical camp body who competes for a roster spot during camp. The athleticism and upside from Bell is too good to pass up here.
Round 7, pick 262
D’Eriq King, Quarterback - Miami (FL)
Mr. Irrelevant! All due respect to Nate Sudfeld and the 2 million guaranteed he got for this season. The 49ers would be wise to add a cheap backup behind Trey Lance. King is not going to blow anyone away but has a solid all-around game that makes him an appealing option as a depth piece in a quarterback room.
I think one of the best traits a backup quarterback can possess is the ability to run the football. The floor that provides for an offense missing its top signal-caller is extremely valuable and can be the difference in winning or losing games should the starter miss any time.
King had at least eight carries in his last 13 games, recording double-digit rushing attempts in ten of those contests. King also comes with a considerable amount of experience, appearing in 48 games at the collegiate level and throwing for over 8000 yards during his time at Houston and Miami.
King delivers a clean ball and would be a great practice squad quarterback that can have a chance to develop into Lance’s primary backup going forward.