What willthe San Francisco 49ers be thinking inthe 2017 NFL Draft?
Here webreakdown their fivecore draft questions and provide ourbest answers.
1. Should the 49ers think defenseat No. 2 overall?
Yes. Even afterTexas A&M edgerusher Myles Garrett (presumably) goesNo. 1 to the Browns, the 49erswould be reaching if they triedto jump on a quarterback. The teamalso is not in a luxury position to take another offensive skill player, and the best offensive linemen in this classaren't worth such high picks.
Although a safety such as LSU's Jamal Adams or Ohio State's Malik Hooker wouldn't be shocking, San Francisco'schoice should come down to a couple of defensive lineman, Stanford's Solomon Thomas orAlabama's Jonathan Allen. Thomas is a better scheme fit and has the better overall pass-rush potentialwherever he lines up in the 3-4. GM John Lynch can kickoff his drafting career with a fellow Cardinal product who can be a cornerstone.
2. When will the 49ersaddress QB?
The only way the Ninerswill come away with a quarterback after No. 2 overall is if they make a blockbuster trade involving that pickwith Washington (for Kirk Cousins) or New England (for Jimmy Garoppolo). Otherwise, they're staying put, likely taking Thomas and figuring out when to take a QB. There are some things they like about North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson above the rest, but not enough to think either is worth such a high first-rounder.
San Francisco's best-case scenario would bethree QBs comingoff the board betweenNo. 3and No. 33 — Trubisky, Watson and Texas Tech's Pat Mahomes —and one goes to the Browns at No. 12. That would give the 49ersa clear shot at either Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, whom Lynch loves, or Cal's Davis Webb, the rising local prospect, at No. 34. Otherwise, the 49ers can takea sleeper such as Tennessee's Josh Dobbs later in the draft knowingCousins is in the cards as a free agent in 2018.
3. How aggressivelywill the 49erstradeunder Lynch?
The Niners are sitting on 10 picks, so they have some decent ammunition to wiggle up and down the draft board. San Francisco has a ton of needs, especially defensively, sostockpiling will be preferred over settling forpicks.
This is Lynch's first chance to establish his smarts and mindset. Given the offseason of patience so far, the 49erscould end up with a boatload of selections in the end, trying to take advantage of this class' good combination of quantity and quality.
4. How many playmakers should the 49ers stockpile for Kyle Shanahan?
Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin were sneaky-good additions to the wideout corps in terms of roles Shanahan likes to fill, and Tim Hightower will provide key depth at running back. Don't forget about the re-signing of the versatile, underrated Jeremy Kerley. Still, there should be an emphasis on adding more dynamic athletes to complement the QB overhaul.
Third or fourth round seems right for wide receiver, as Michigan's Amara Darboh and Virginia Tech's Isaiah Ford have beenlinked to San Francisco. A little later on Day 3, unique targets such as North Carolina's Ryan Switzer and Clemson's Artavis Scott should come into play.
MORE: Top 10 WRs in NFL Draft
At running back, the 49ers should look for a Tevin Coleman-type change of pace for Shanahan's offense. The perfect prospectis San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey in the fifth round. North Carolina's T.J. Logan sets up as a potential steal in the sixth round.
5. Who should the 49ers target for later-round offensive linemen?
Offensive line wasa strength just a few years ago, at the end of the Jim Harbaugh era, anchored by left tackle JoeStaley. Now Staley is older (33 in August)andtop guards Alex Boone and Mike Iupati are long gone. There's one recent solution in 2016 first-rounder Josh Garnett at right guard, but both tackles need to beaddressed at some point.
If either Alabama's Cam Robinson or Western Michigan's Taylor Moton is available early in the second round, hewould get strong consideration over a quarterback. A couple rounds later, USC's Chad Wheeler and Bucknell's Julie'n Davenport are fine options. Either way, the 49ers are in excellent position to upgrade.
SN's 2017 Mock Drafts: 49erspicks
— Eric Galko (from April 11 Mock Draft)
No. 2: Thomas:The 49ers would love to trade down, but there aren’t any teams looking to move up. Thomas is a bit of a reach on our board, but he’ll be a long-time NFL player with great pass rush upside. There’s also a real chance this selection is Mitchell Trubisky … if the Redskins trade their current QB for this pick.
— Vinnie Iyer (from April 10 Mock Draft)
No. 2: Thomas:The second overall pick is too early for the Niners to force a quarterback solution, so here, they simply go for the next freakish edge player on the board.Thomas' stockhas risen as more have gotten wind of his jaw-dropping combination of size and agility. They now realizehe's more scheme- and alignment-proof andhas “next J.J. Watt"potential.
49ers 2017 NFL Draft picks
First round: No. 2overall
Second round: No. 34overall
Third round: No. 66 overall
Fourth round: No. 109 overall
Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
Fifth round: No. 146 overall
Fifth round: No. 161 overall (from Redskins)
Sixth round: No. 198 overall (from Ravens)
Sixth round: No. 202 overall (from Broncos)
Seventh round: No. 219 overall (from Browns)