With all that's going on with COVID-19, it had been unnaturally quiet heading into draft week...then Monday happened, and it's been an avalanche of news & rumors since. Two weeks ago, I felt fairly confident that either CeeDee Lamb or C.J. Henderson would be available at #13, and that it would be no-brainer to take one of them, but now it looks like both could be gone by then. Let's review the latest news and rumors, see what scenarios may unfold before pick #13 happens, and then what Lynch will do...trade back, or stand pat.
The talk of four Tackles going before pick #13 doesn't feel like pre-draft smoke to me, and I can absolutely see teams trading up to secure one of them. Tackles like Wirfs, Thomas, Willis, and Becton, are in short supply in this draft. It's also a safe bet for a GM, especially if it's a need.
I can see teams we assumed are going QB, choosing to go OL first, and seeing which QBs slide. I am not high on Herbert, and I have major concerns about drafting Tua in the top 6 due to his injury. I can absolutely see Miami and San Diego addressing OL first, and then going QB later on. I think if Tua slides to #12, the Raiders would be a great fit for him. Herbert, if he isn't taken by the Dolphins at #18, may slide to the end of Round 1. QBs sliding is great for Lynch's options at #13.
Simmons, Okudah, and Henderson
I think something funky happens with Simmons and Okudah tomorrow. Simmons is my favorite player in this draft, and if he slides to #13, the Niners would be insane not to take him (I put the odds of that happening at 3%). The combination of the run on OL, the discussion this week of Simmons not being an LB, and that's he's more of a hybrid LB/SS/S could hurt his positional value, so I can see him falling to the 7-10 range (I'll be shocked if it's further). Okudah may suffer a similar fate, due to the same reasons, as well as his 40 time, and chatter that Henderson is rated higher. I think both Henderson & Okudah are gone by #9...which is good for pick #13.
Kinlaw and Brown
Thoughts on these two are all over the place. Some have Brown going to Detroit at #3. Lots of mocks have Kinlaw in the top 10. Many mocks have both in the teens. Absolutely no idea where these guys go, but if one, or both, go in the top 10, that is very good for the Niners.
We've beaten this horse to death, but the run on Offensive Line, QBs sliding, and DL going in the Top 12 is huge for the Niners...it just depends on who they like. My guess is that it's Lamb at #13, or no WR at #13 for John Lynch.
Lynch's "6 foundational players"
That was an interesting tidbit to drop right before the draft, but who are those 6 players? Was he talking overall, or players that suit team needs? I'm guessing he's not including QB, so my guess is...two of them are Tackles (Wirfs and Becton?), Okudah, Simmons, Lamb, and Young. Truthfully, I'd be thrilled with any of them. Originally I didn't think we'd go with a Tackle, that we'd play at Guard for a year, but I do think it's possible now...especially if the other 4 guys are off the board.
Trading back from #13
I really hated the idea of trading back from #13 when I thought either Lamb or Henderson would be there. Now I really doubt Henderson will be there, and Lamb is going to be real close. If Lynch's "6 foundational players" are gone, and a team wants to trade up, so be it. I would hope it's a trade not further back than 20, and then I would be targeting Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU), Javon Kinlaw (DL, South Carolina), or Jeff Gladney (CB, TCU).
Guessing nothing happens until Day 1 wraps up, but have to think Lynch deals a player for a Day 2 or Day 3 pick. The most likely candidates are Brieda, Coleman, Pettis, Goodwin, and Beathard.
Top 13 mock draft
So after all of that rationale, here's how I see (and with a lot of hope) the first 13 picks shaking out, and who John Lynch selects for the Niners.
1) Cincinnati - Joe Burrow
2) Washington - Chase Young
3) Miami (trade up with Detroit) - Jedrick Wills
4) New York Giants - Tristan Wirfs
5) Detroit (trade with Miami) - Jeff Okudah
6) Los Angeles Chargers - Andrew Thomas
7) Carolina - Derrick Brown
8) Arizona - Mechi Becton
9) Jacksonville - C.J. Henderson
10) Cleveland - Isaiah Simmons
11) Denver (trade with New York Jets) - Jerry Jeudy
12) Las Vegas - Tua Tagovailoa
13) San Francisco - CeeDee Lamb
Looking forward to seeing who's available at #13 and #31, if John Lynch stands pat or trades, and most importantly...who he picks. Enjoy the NFL draft, and stay safe!