San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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With the luxury of hindsight, who are you siding with?

Some people make a big deal about mock drafts, while most of us understand it’s a pointless exercise meant to introduce us to names while giving us a general idea of where a player is set to be selected.

You have another week of mocks to go. But let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what life would be like for the San Francisco 49ers had they selected who the godfather of the NFL Draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., mocked them instead of who Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch wound up taking.

We’ll go back to 2017 and determine which would have been a better pick and how the roster would look today. We’ll also only use the first round.

2017 (No. 2)

Kiper’s pick: Jamal Adams, S, LSU (Actually picked: New York Jets, No. 6)

49ers pick: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford

Better pick: This was before the 49ers traded with the Chicago Bears. Thomas was severely overdrafted as he was a tweener. He would be viewed in a different light had he been drafted where he was supposed to — closer to 53 than 3.

Adams hasn’t exactly lived up to his lofty draft status as the game has evolved, but he’s objectively a better player.

2018 (No. 9)

Kiper’s pick: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State (Actually picked: Cleveland Browns, No. 4)

49ers pick: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Better pick: McGlinchey earned a contract for $87 million from the Denver Broncos. He wasn’t anywhere near as bad as 49ers fans made him out to be, but McGlinchey never performed like a top-10 pick.

Ward hasn’t done too bad for himself, earning $100 million from the Browns. He’s a star and a lockdown cornerback. He’s consistently been among the best in the league. Ward, like McGlinchey, has suffered from injury woes. But I’m not sure there’s a personnel person out there who wouldn’t take him over McGlinchey. Ward would have been the better pick.

2019 (No. 2)

Kiper’s pick: Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

49ers pick: Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

Here’s what Kiper said:

Bosa is my top-ranked prospect in this class, and the Niners have to improve their edge rush. Easy pick for GM John Lynch.

Bosa was the free space on the Niners’ (monopoly) draft board. He had a generational billing and has lived up to the pre-draft hype.

2020 (No. 14, No. 25)

Kiper’s pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (Actually picked: No. 15, Denver Broncos)
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota (Actually picked: No 45, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

49ers pick: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Bradon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

Better pick: Aiyuk is a significantly better pro player than Jeudy and a much better fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. On the contrary, Winfield Jr. is an All-Pro and one of the better players at his position.

If Jeudy and Kinlaw cancel each other out, would you rather have Winfield or Aiyuk? That’s not an easy decision. There are no wrong answers here. Winfield would have a field day playing behind the 49ers defensive line. However, if Aiyuk were targeted as much as Mike Evans or a true WR1, his production would be higher.


2021 (No. 3)

Kiper’s pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (Actually picked: No. 15, New England Patriots

49ers pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State


Better pick: I’m going down swinging with a talent like Lance over Jones every day of the week. What Jones put on the field was predictable. He has a limited skill set and was propped up by the talent around him at Alabama.

Like most rookie quarterbacks, Trey was not afforded the luxury of playing early and learning on the fly. I don’t understand why he’s viewed as a bust since we have no idea what he can do on a football field in a game setting. The sample size isn’t there to evaluate him. But because of the draft capital that was given up for the trade, nobody gives the player the benefit of the doubt.

In an alternate universe, Lance plays as a rookie, the 49ers make the playoffs, come up short, and hit his stride in his second season. I hope somebody gives him a chance. Based on the quarterbacks we’ve seen start during the past few seasons, it feels ignorant to say Lance couldn’t do better than some of them.


Adams, Ward, Bosa, Jeudy, Winfield Jr., and Jones. The secondary would be loaded, but the Niners are probably going to draft a quarterback this offseason due to Jones’ limitations. Could you imagine him attempting the throw to Aiyuk in the playoffs against the Green Bay Lions? Or needing to use his legs in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers?

Do you side with Kiper or ShanaLynch?

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About the Author: Insidethe49

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