Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
49ers Team Needs Nos. 1-3: Football Players
This is not “mean.” This is reality. The 49ers do not have a legitimate strength on either side of the ball. Although the 49ers have devoted consecutive first-round picks to defensive lineman, DeForest Buckner (6’7”/291) and Arik Armstead (6’7”/292) were both drafted as tall, long, edge-setter five-technique 3-4 ends and are questionable fits for new DC Robert Saleh’s Seattle-style under-front scheme. Carlos Hyde is a talented runner with limited pass-catching value in a pass-first league. He’s also missed 14 games to injury over the past three seasons.
This draft is an opportunity for the new 49ers regime to “stick to its board” and draft the highest-rated player available at every spot.
2017 NFL Draft: More coverage here
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (2): EDGE/DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford - There isn’t a clear No. 2 pick in this class, meaning the 49ers could do a number of things. Trade out, take a quarterback, etc. Thomas plays a possible cornerstone position in terms of rushing the passer from a variety of alignments. Add in youth and athleticism, and Thomas is very intriguing. The team’s last two first round picks, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, might not be able to coexist on the same line in the 49ers scheme, and neither stars as a pass rusher. Plus, the new staff has no connection to either player.
Round 2 (34): QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame - This might be the earliest Kizer goes off the board. We have not heard his named mentioned as any team’s favorite, and this is a position where teams identify their guys. I really like Kizer’s ability to weave through pressure while keeping his eyes up.
Round 3 (66): WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama - I love Stewart’s game. He has big play potential both before and after the catch. Speed, speed, speed on crossers, overs and downfield routes.
Round 4 (109): RB Marlon Mack, USF - Shanahan’s version of Marlon Mack? Mack has big play skills with the ball in his hands in the open field. I trust Shanahan to create those spaces.
Round 4 (143): LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU - The hammer inside. Beckwith played next to a number of athletic linebackers, and could do the same with Bowman and Smith.
Round 5 (146): CB Treston DeCoud, Oregon State - Length on the outside. I’ve seen DeCoud connected with a number of teams, meaning he could go off the board in rounds three or four.
Round 5 (161): DL Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, USC - An older but strong run defending interior presence.
Round 6 (198): T Aviante Collins, TCU - Athletic tackle who is a project. I actually liked Collins after watching him after the Combine.
Round 6 (202): RB Elijah McGuire, Louisiana-Lafayette - Runner and passer. yes, I’m going to keep mocking McGuire to teams because I have #hope.
Round 7 (219): EDGE Darius English, South Carolina - Height, weight, length.