We're days away from the 2018 NFL Draft, and it's about time for a final mock for the 49ers.
Using Joe Marino's updated rankings from NDT Scouting, I’ve assembled a seven-round mock that was actually simulated on Fanspeak. The picks are based on recent developments, free agency acquisitions, current team needs, and taking the best player available the time.
Round 1, Pick 9: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
As expected, Notre Dame product Quenton Nelson was off the board, having gone a pick before to the Bears. The best player available at that point was Roquan Smith, the off-ball linebacker and Butkus Award winner from Georgia. He fills in during a potential absence of Reuben Foster, or better yet, gets to play alongside him, as the two would form one of the best defensive nucleuses in the league.
Round 2, Pick 59: Austin Corbett, G, Nevada
When it came time to choose at No. 9, it was really between Smith and his teammate at Georgia, Isaiah Wynn. Having gone with the linebacker instead, the 49ers’ top need is a starting guard, so Austin Corbett is the pick on their second turn. He is an intelligent, technically proficient and powerful offensive lineman with an ability to start on Day 1. And since he’s a tackle converting inside, the 49ers would have the flexibility to put him at left or right guard, depending on what happens in camp.
Round 3, Pick 70: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State
“An FSU edge rusher coming off a knee injury? Not again!” Yes, again. Josh Sweat is too talented to be here. Had his 2017 season never been derailed, he might’ve been unanimously mocked as a late first-round, early second-round pick. He has a ton of ability as an every-down defensive end, and as a genetic freak, the NFL world has been high on him since he was a high school recruit. Sweat is the third consecutive pick that is had at tremendous value, and another one that fills a starting role right away.
Round 3, Pick 74: Holton Hill, CB, Texas
The 49ers were a candidate to take a cornerback as high as No. 9 overall, but it seemed best to hold off given that CB is one of the deeper positions in the draft. It panned out as the team lucks into the tall, playmaking defensive star from Texas, Holton Hill. He is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound corner, putting him right at eye level with Ahkello Witherspoon and Richard Sherman. Added to which that he has 4.4 speed, and Hill fully fits the profile of the cornerbacks they look for. He falls this far due to a suspension, but Hill could be a real mid-round steal for a team that needs starters.
Round 4, Pick 130: Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
The 49ers are fairly thin and vulnerable at linebacker. Even if Foster returns without suspension or worse, and Smith is everything as advertised, they could still use a third promising linebacker to complete the corps, particularly on the outside. While Malcolm Smith is in house, he is a real unknown. Shaquem Griffin can be far more. He is super athletic, quick, bendy, and always around the football. He can play Sam or Will linebacker, or line up outside in the Leo role where he is a dangerous pass rusher.
Round 5, Pick 145: Daesean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
The 49ers weren’t aggressive going after receivers in free agency. Though they had the money, the big names signed elsewhere. This tells us they like who they have, and if they’re going to add some bodies, it’s going to be via the NFL draft. While it’s not likely Daesean Hamilton is here, it is after all a fairly undefined class at wide receiver. If he slides, or someone talented like him falls to the fifth, the 49ers should pounce, adding a potential successor to Pierre Garçon, who is putting the finishing touches on his career.
Round 6, Pick 187: Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
It seems everyone’s forgotten about Bo. Injuries and a lack of carries at Alabama sort of keeps him in the shadows, especially in a bottomless running back class like the one we have this year. But he’s very much like ex-teammate Derrick Henry. He’s long, powerful, fast and agile, and seems like a threat to punch the ball in the end zone every time he gets a touch. Basically a freight train. With an undersized backfield made up of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Brieda, the 49ers could benefit from a giant bruiser with big-play potential that would work best in a committee. Scarbrough makes sense.
Round 7, Pick 227: Richie James, WR, MTSU
As the second receiver taken by the 49ers, the team really solidifies the fifth, sixth and maybe seventh spots on the depth chart. They have a chance to be really deep, dynamic, and have a plan for the future. James is a receiver in the design of Taylor Gabriel and Marquise Goodwin, quick-cutting flyers with game-breaking ability. He is undersized and had low volume at Middle Tennessee, but a receiver with his traits catching passes from Jimmy Garoppolo in Shanahan’s system has scary upside.
Round 7, Pick 240: Tyrone Crowder, G, Clemson
Offensive line is a mystery on the 49ers. They need depth, and options in case players like Laken Tomlinson, Zane Beadles, Jonathan Cooper and even Joshua Garnett don’t pan out. While the team secured Corbett in Round 2, another body to compete couldn’t hurt. Tigers right guard Tyrone Crowder makes sense to close out the draft.
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