After a disappointing 2-14 season the 49ers are in the process of rebuilding the team from top to bottom. Owner Jed York is in the process of hiring a new general manager and new head coach for the 49ers franchise as we speak. Whoever gets the opportunity to take over as GM for the Niners is going to have a lot of cap space, as the team is approximately 65 million dollars under the cap. The 49ers also hold the #2 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, which marks their highest pick since the 2005 NFL Draft when they selected QB Alex Smith #1 overall. The question is, with so many needs on the roster, which direction will the 49ers take? Many mock drafts have the 49ers selecting either a quarterback or a player on the defensive side of the ball. The 49ers pick can go multiple ways but it depends on what they do in free agency that will determine who the Niners will select.
Option 1: With the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…
Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M
Garrett is arguably the #1 prospect in the draft according to ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. He should certainly be at the top of the 49ers board, as he would provide a huge upgrade to the team’s lackluster pass rush. Garrett is often compared to the likes of Von Miller and Joey Bosa. Garrett has been a dominant force in the NCAA since his freshman year, when he broke the NCAA sack record for a freshmen with 11.5 sacks, besting the previous record set by Jadeveon Clowney. Garrett decided to forgo his senior year and enter the draft. He finished his NCAA career with 31 sacks, 2x First-team All-SEC selections, and 2x All-American honors. This pick only happens if the Cleveland Browns decide to take a QB instead of Garrett.
Option 2: With the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…
Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Mike Williams is currently rated as the #1 wide receiver prospect according to ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. Williams is a big, physical receiver and will fight for the ball. Williams, at 6’3” and 225 pounds, is any defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare. Williams was a big factor for Clemson knocking off Alabama for the National Championship, finishing with 8 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. He has drawn comparisons to former Clemson and current Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. Williams going to the Niners will be a huge upgrade for the receiving corps.
Option 3: With the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…
Reuben Foster, Inside Linebacker, Alabama
After Pro Bowl linebacker Navarro Bowman went down mid-season due to a torn Achilles, the 49ers had no solid inside ‘backer to take over as leader of the defense. Foster is the #1 inside linebacker prospect in the draft according to Mel Kiper Jr. This past season Foster led the Alabama to a nearly perfect season, losing to Clemson in the National Championship. Foster is 6’1” 240 pounds and flies from sideline to sideline. Foster is explosive and fast, very instinctive and hunts ballcarriers like a heat-seeking missile. Not only does he deliver explosive hits, but he also wraps up on tackles. Drafting Foster at #2 would be very high for an inside ‘backer, but the last time the 49ers had two great inside linebackers, they had an outstanding and scary defense. The 49ers took Patrick Willis with 11th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, which turned out to be one of the better selections in franchise history. With the help of Bowman grooming Foster like Willis did for Bowman, 49ers could have the start of something great in the middle of that defense again.
Option 4: With the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…
Mitch Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
The 2016 season was one of the worst in franchise history for the ‘9ers. A huge part of that was the quarterback play. Blaine Gabbert just never hit his stride and Colin Kaepernick started to play better towards the end of the season, but he may not be on the team next season. The 49ers will be needing a quarterback and Mitch Trubisky can be that quarterback for the 49ers. Trubisky is the most accurate quarterback in the 2017 draft class and also possesses excellent field awareness. Critics point to Trubisky’s inexperience and “gunslinger” mentality. In the NFL he needs to learn not to force throws while still trusting his accuracy. Trubisky ranked fifth in the country with a 68.0 completion percentage and also threw for 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Option 5: With the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
Watson, the current National Champion is ranked the #2 quarterback prospect behind Trubisky. Watson is a great leader and competitor and knows what it takes to win. He is very mobile but only runs when necessary, as he has been sacked 32 times in his last 1,181 plays. Watson is very accurate while on the run, calm in the pocket, and willing to make throws under pressure. However, Watson’s accuracy his hot and cold and he is slow on his progressions at times. In the last two seasons he has thrown 30 interceptions due to his inconsistent accuracy and his lack of going through progressions. Watson did what no quarterback could do against Alabama this past season- he beat them and took the National Championship away from them. Deshaun Watson, like Trubisky, has great potential. If the 49ers take either Watson or Trubisky they need to build around them so they may succeed.
Option 6: With the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…
Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
The 49ers 2016 first-round pick, Deforest Buckner, played very well, leading all rookie defensive lineman in tackles and finished with 6 sacks on the season. Buckner was a little beat up in the beginning of the year but got healthy and earned a starting spot and delivered. Arik Armstead, the 49ers 2015 first round pick, has been battling injuries the past 2 seasons but when healthy has showed glimpses of how good he can be. If the Niners selected Allen it would be three straight drafts getting a defensive lineman. Allen may be too good to pass up. Reuben Foster played so well this season because of Allen. Allen was constantly getting double teamed by opposing offenses but even then he was unstoppable. He lead the Alabama defense in sacks with 10.5. He is an explosive player and a great run stopper with strong hands who often gets double teamed by offenses. Depending on his strength he may be able to fit in the defensive tackle position in a 3-4 scheme, which the 49ers run. Allen is easily the best defensive lineman prospect since Gerald Mccoy and Ndamukong Suh.
The final option is that the 49ers trade away the #2 overall pick to get more picks to help get more players for the roster. These are likely the top options in the draft for San Francisco as of now. A lot will change between now and the draft. The 49ers have a lot of time to do decide what they will do to get this franchise back as contenders.