We took a look at over 90 online mock drafts to determine the favorite for the San Francisco 49ers seventh overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft next month. If you have been looking at any mock drafts in recent weeks, you have noticed that an overwhelming number of them are not only leaning toward a specific position for the 49ers, but a specific player.
Let's take a look at the four most popular choices for the 49ers at the number seven spot, with two players currently tied for third. The entire growing database of mock drafts can be found here and will be updated frequently leading up to the draft.
QB Jared Goff, California
49ers selection in 53.3% of mock drafts
With so much uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position in San Francisco, it is clear why mock drafts would have the team targeting this position. Colin Kaepernick trade talks continue to stall and even if the 49ers were to keep him on the roster, which they can afford to do financially, there are many that believe the team may still look to acquire their quarterback of the future.
Most mock drafts have the lean Jared Goff as the second quarterback selected in the draft, behind North Dakota State's Carson Wentz. While Goff has also been inconsistent from time to time, the potential for something special is definitely there. Each year with the Golden Bears, his completion percentage has increased finally landing at 64.5 percent in 2015.
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein said that Goff is a "Rhythm passer who benefited from the uptempo and 'quick game' of Cal's Bear Raid offense." That is something that could actually intrigue new 49ers head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.
"Even if Colin Kaepernick remains at quarterback I don't know if Goff would be out of the equation here. I think he could develop into something special for Chip Kelly and would provide insurance for Kap," said ESPN's Mel Kiper in his mock.
QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
49ers selection in 21.7% of mock drafts
At 6-foot-5 and 232 lbs, Carson Wentz is considered to be a prototypical athletic NFL quarterback. Having played in a pro-style offense, Wentz will likely become the first non-FBS quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since the Baltimore Ravens selected Joe Flacco out of Delaware in 2008.
Most mock drafts have Wentz as the first quarterback taken in the draft, but there are some that have Goff going ahead of him, landing the North Dakota State product in the waiting arms of the 49ers.
Over his last two seasons as a starter for the Bison, Wentz amassed a record of 20-3. "He's got the stature you're looking for. He's got the intelligence you're looking for. There are so many positive to draw from," said Baalke in reference to Wentz. "Now, how ready is he going to be when he gets to the league? I think there will be a learning curve, but there is for everybody at that position."
Wentz impressed many at the Senior Bowl and was said to have quickly picked up the pro-style offense. "Wentz has the arm to thrive in a vertical passing offense, but he needs to work on his timing and decision making. The risk may be high, but Wentz's potential is through the roof and too difficult to pass up," said Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo.
OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
49ers selection in 4.3% of mock drafts
Myles Jack has been rehabilitating from a knee injury suffered in practice early in the UCLA Bruins' 2015 season. He wasn't cleared to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine last month and had to rely on a pro day on Tuesday to show scouts that he was NFL-ready.
UCLA LB Myles Jack did not run 40 or shuttles today. 40" vertical, 10-4" broad jump. Doing positional drills. To hold own Pro Day April 1.— Rob Rang (@RobRang) March 15, 2016
Jack is an elite talent that is rare for a player at his position. He can be an effective run defender or coverage linebacker. With some work, he could also develop into an effective pass rusher as well – something that he wasn't asked to do much at UCLA. He has the skill set and can play low enough to do it effectively.
Does anyone remember when Patrick Willis was asked to drop into coverage or shadow an elite running back? That is what you can ask of Jack and he has the speed to keep up with slot receivers too. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, he can play running back as well.
"After suffering through a mass exodus of playmakers at linebacker, the 49ers grab a sideline-to-sideline menace with exceptional speed, quickness and instincts," said NFL.com's Bucky Brooks.
With Jack coming off of an injury, he definitely sounds like a Baalke kind of guy and Baalke himself was in attendance during UCLA's pro day on Tuesday to see him. He will also hold an individual pro day on April 1.
DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
49ers selection in 4.3% of mock drafts
The 49ers drafted an Oregon defensive lineman in 2015 and their new head coach was once the head coach of that program, so why not look there again to infuse some more talent into your franchise? During each of his junior and senior years at Oregon, DeForest Buckner had over 80 tackles and during that final year, accounted for 10.5 sacks for the Ducks. During that two year span, over 18% of his tackles were for losses of a combined 134 yards, including 14.5 sacks.
The question for some is where you place Buckner on your defensive line. NFL Network's Mike Mayock rates the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year as the top interior defensive lineman in the draft while Bucky Brooks lists him as the third-best defensive end. The 49ers likely see him as an end in their 3-4 defense.
Pro Football Focus had Buckner rated as their top interior defensive lineman, with the top pass rushing grade and eighth-best grade against the run. In 2015, the 49ers ranked 29th in the league both against the run and in sack total.
"Assuming he won't have to play as many snaps in the NFL, Buckner may become one of those players that has to be double-teamed on almost every play, creating one-on-one opportunities for the 49ers' edge rushers. At his best, Buckner could disrupt like Seattle's Michael Bennett, but at a minimum, Buckner's quickness should compress the pocket and take away that step-up space that most QBs need," said Cris Collinsworth on Pro Football Focus.
Buckner's 6-7 height, 34 3/8 inch arms, and 11 3/4 inch hands make him a perfect Baalke candidate.
Below is a breakdown of the number of mocks that had the 49ers selecting each college prospect in the 92 surveyed. The entire database, which will be updated and grow as the draft approaches, can be found here.
|QB Jared Goff||California||49|
|QB Carson Wentz||North Dakota State||20|
|OLB Myles Jack||UCLA||4|
|DE DeForest Buckner||Oregon||4|
|WR Laquon Treadwell||Mississippi||3|
|OT Ronnie Stanley||Notre Dame||3|
|QB Paxton Lynch||Memphis||3|
|DE Joey Bosa||Ohio State||2|
|OT Laremy Tunsil||Mississippi||1|
|DT A'Shawn Robinson||Alabama||1|
|DE Shaq Lawson||Clemson||1|