Draft month has arrived – and speculation has ramped up accordingly.
While many still project the 49ers to take Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with their No. 2 overall pick, it’s not a clear consensus. Prognosticators are beginning to delve into the nitty gritty, going deeper into the drafts where countless scenarios could unfold, leaving their predictions in shambles.
Why not entertain the ideas to pass the time until April 27?
For more detailed analysis, The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows is breaking down the 49ers’ best draft fits, position by position, in a periodic series: nose tackle, three technique, left defensive end and strong-side linebacker.
Updated March 29
Chris Burke updated his mock draft to include the first 107 picks through three rounds, and he no longer has the 49ers taking Thomas at No. 2. He now believes it will be LSU safety Jamal Adams, though he says “it’s hard to entirely shake” the feeling that coach Kyle Shanahan will want to choose his quarterback of the future here.
But, in the second round, Burke projects San Francisco to call Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer’s name, with the caveat that if quarterbacks are flying off the board in the first round, the 49ers would likely try to move up to snag one.
Kizer had dinner with 49ers general manager John Lynch after nailing his combine interview. If the 49ers can land Adams and Kizer, Burke says they’ll get a “centerpiece on each side of the ball.” In the third round at No. 66, he has the 49ers taking USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who would provide a sizable target at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds.
Updates range from March 22-30
Of the six analysts, five have Thomas at No. 2. Daring to be different, Will Brinson has the 49ers taking North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who he says “would be a fantastic fit in Kyle Shanahan’s system because of his arm and athleticism, and they could redshirt him a year if they wanted.”
The Bee’s Matt Barrows early last month wrote that Trubisky would seem to be a good fit, as he’s quick to process information and unflinching against a pass rush, traits desired by Shanahan. But he only started one season for the Tar Heels, so there’s not much tape on him.
Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco writes of Thomas, “He is a kid who scouts have loved for a long time. Now the media is catching up.”
Published April 3
“Regardless of preparation, there is no such thing as a perfect mock draft.” That much is obvious, but cover32 brought together the minds of its writers covering every NFL team to strive for a mock “that attempted to genuinely replicate the NFL Draft in a way that would deliver the closest potential results.” They went all the way to Round 4.
They project Thomas to be taken at No. 2, saying, “Thomas comes with extreme versatility for a 4-3 scheme which will be implemented by the 49ers’ defense in 2017 and wouldn’t even need to move if he joins this NFL team.” In other 49ers predictions, they have Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes at No. 34; Toledo running back Kareem Hunt at No. 66; Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson at No. 109; and Florida linebacker Alex Anzalone at No. 143.
Last updated April 4
We now have a consensus among the six analysts that Thomas will be chosen second overall (though one has him being traded to Carolina). Two analysts have updated their mocks since our last roundup, with Chad Reuter changing his pick at No. 2 from Adams to Thomas, and Daniel Jeremiah standing pat with Thomas. Writes Reuter, “Whether the Niners play him hand down or standing up, Thomas will affect plays.”
Last updated March 22
Mel Kiper Jr. shifted course after the 49ers added quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in free agency, changing his prediction at No. 2 from Trubisky to Thomas. “Thomas (6-3, 273) is a different kind of player than the D-linemen the 49ers have taken in the first round the past two years (DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead); he’ll get after the quarterback from day one.”
Todd McShay also likes Thomas to the 49ers: “Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley … may free up the 49ers to take a top-tier talent like Thomas here before drafting a developmental QB on Day 2.”