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Mock Draft 4.0: 49ers add another YAC monster

A tight end feels inevitable at this point. But how about two of them?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Indiana State at South Dakota State Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re almost there! 10 days away from the real deal, but until then, here is my latest mock draft that features a few different prospects I have grown very fond of during this pre drat process. Starting with...

Round 3, pick 99

Darius Rush - CB, South Carolina

The 49ers could some added depth in their secondary and Rush gives them a player with considerable upside who has the traits to be a starter at the next level. He possesses a rare blend of length and speed, with his 33 ⅜” arm length ranking in the 95th percentile at the position and a 4.36 second 40-yard dash time that would place him in the 92nd percentile among cornerbacks.

Round 3, pick 101

Jaelyn Duncan - OL, Maryland

A four-year starter in the Big Ten who registered over 2,600 snaps during his time at Maryland. Duncan has incredible lateral agility, and his ability to get into space quickly would translate extremely well in the 49ers ground attack.

He is a fantastic developmental prospect who could slot in as their right tackle of the future after some time fine-tuning his game with offensive line coach Chris Foerster.

Round 3, pick 102

Tucker Kraft - TE, South Dakota State

If there is any knock on Kraft, it’s the fact he was playing at the FCS level. However, he consistently dominated his competition and possesses the tools to be a difference maker at the position in the NFL, regardless of where he played his college ball. He was especially difficult to bring down with the ball in his hands, recording 25 broken tackles on 102 catches over the last two seasons.

Kraft’s 2.32 yards per route run in 2022 ranked sixth in the entire nation among tight ends, and he posted an impressive average of 7.7 yards after the catch. He has the physical tools to develop into an impact player at the position, and the tenacity after the catch that should pair well with the human bulldozer that is George Kittle.

Round 5, pick 155

Bryce Ford-Wheaton - WR, West Virginia

An exceptionally gifted athlete, Ford-Wheaton has traits that you can’t help but take a flier on at this point in the draft. Similar to Rush, he possesses a combination of speed and size that make him one of the most enticing developmental prospects in this class. Here are some of his testing numbers:

Height : 6’ 3½” - 87th percentile

Weight : 221 lbs - 90th percentile

Arm Length : 33½” - 89th percentile

40-Yard Dash : 4.38s - 90th percentile

Vertical Jump : 41” - 95th percentile

Broad Jump : 129” - 89th percentile

Round 5, pick 164

Daniel Scott - S, California

A rangy safety who clocked in a 4.45 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, Scott could slot in nicely with a safety group that lacks clarity beyond Tashaun Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga.

The biggest concern with Scott is likely his age, as he will turn 25 during the upcoming season. However, his six years of collegiate experience could also make it easier for him to contribute early on at the next level.

The 49ers are going to need a safety for the long term at some point, but that doesn’t mean they should reach for one in a class that many experts feel is very thin at the position with NFL talent. Scott gives them a high floor and is great value on day three.

Round 5, pick 173

Keaton Mitchell - RB, East Carolina

A home run waiting to happen who is a threat to make a house call every time he touches the football. Mitchell had 31 carries for 15 plus yards last season, which was the most in the country. The biggest knock is probably size, as he measures in at 5’8 179 pounds.

Given the 49ers deep running back room and Kyle Shanahan’s ability to get playmakers the ball in space, Mitchell could slot into a gadget role of sorts. Play him at running back, play him at receiver, it doesn’t matter. Find a way to get this guy the football and watch him wreak havoc on opposing defenses.

Round 6, pick 216

D.J. Johnson - Edge, Oregon

It wouldn’t be a proper 49ers mock draft if it didn’t include at least one edge rusher. Johnson ran in the 4.4’s with a 40 time that ranked in the 97th percentile at the position, while also posting an extremely impressive 28 reps on the bench press, which would fall into the 84th percentile among edge rushers.

Johnson was the definition of versatile during his career at Oregon, playing significant snaps at both tight end and outside linebacker during the 2021 season for the Ducks. This is the ultimate “Give Kris Kocurek a guy with tools and let him work” pick, as you would be betting far more on the potential with his traits than the limited sample size and production he had at the position relative to the majority of his peers in this class.

Also, worth noting, the 49ers did host Johnson at their facility on one of their official top-30 visits.

Round 7, pick 222

Ronnie Bell - WR, Michigan

Bell might not have measurements that jump off the page, but he is a dependable wideout who has great hands and flashed an ability to consistently win at the catch point. Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy made it a point to highlight the ability that Bell has to play through contact, something that will translate well to the press man looks he will see at the next level. The 49ers also were reported to have hosted a private workout for Bell, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

Round 7, pick 247

Cameron Latu - TE, Alabama

Recruited out of high school as a top defensive end prospect, Latu made the switch to tight end at Tuscaloosa and was a key contributor on an electric Crimson Tide offense. He set the school record for touchdowns in a season by a tight end with 8 in 2021, and also was one of only three collegiate tight ends to receive an invitation to George Kittle’s Tight End University in 2022.

Round 7, pick 253

Aubrey Miller Jr. - LB, Jackson State

Originally recruited to play at Missouri, he transferred to Jackson State in 2020. In his two years with the Tigers, he dominated SWAC competition, earning All-SWAC first team honors in 2021 and taking home the SWAC Defensive Player of the year award in 2022.

The 49ers have had great success developing late round and undrafted players at the position, and Miller is the kind of player who can carve out a role early on as a trusted contributor on special teams.

Round 7, pick 255

Earl Bostick Jr. - OL, Kansas

The 49ers round out their 2023 class with another developmental tackle prospect, selecting a multi-year starter with over 2,500 snaps worth of experience at the collegiate level. Bostick Jr. has plus athletic traits and could develop into a valuable asset as a long-term answer at swing tackle for the foreseeable future.

Here is a full summary of this mock:

Round 3, Pick 99 - Darius Rush, CB South Carolina

Round 3, Pick 101 - Jaelyn Duncan, OL Maryland

Round 3 Pick 102 - Tucker Kraft, TE South Dakota

Round 5 Pick 155 - Bryce Ford-Wheaton, WR West Virginia

Round 5 Pick 164 - Daniel Scott, S California

Round 5 Pick 173 - Keaton Mitchell, RB East Carolina

Round 6 Pick 216 - D.J. Johnson, Edge Oregon

Round 7 Pick 222 - Ronnie Bell, WR Michigan

Round 7 Pick 247 - Cameron Latu, TE Alabama

Round 7 Pick 253 - Aubrey Miller Jr., LB Jackson State

Round 7 Pick 255 - Earl Bostick Jr., OL Kansas