3-person 49ers 7-round mock drafts have team going defense with first pick

Apr 12, 2018 at 11:57 AM--

The 2018 NFL Draft is just two weeks away, and fans of our No Huddle Podcast have been waiting to hear Al Sacco and Zain Naqvi's projected picks for the San Francisco 49ers. The two are joined by writer Aaron Erickson and the trio run through a massive seven-round mock draft for the 49ers.

Round 1

Aaron Erickson: DE Harold Landry, Boston College
Al Sacco: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Zain Naqvi: DE Harold Landry, Boston College

While Landry isn't Erickson's favorite player in the draft, he's the player Erickson would select even if his favorite player fell to the 49ers.

"I think he's a prototypical Leo," Erickson says regarding his choice of Landry. "His get-off is outstanding. His bend is ridiculous. The big knock on him is that he doesn't use enough counter moves, but if you dig deep, you see a great stab when he converts speed to power. You see an effective – not an explosive – but an effective inside-counter and he just didn't use them a lot."

Sacco believes Smith will be the best available player when the 49ers select at No. 9 and that he's a "plug-and-play Pro Bowler."

"To me, he's a linebacker for the modern game," Sacco said regarding his selection of Smith. "This isn't 10 or 15 years ago when you needed this huge linebacker to hit the hole and take out a fullback and that sort of thing. You need quicker players to play in the passing game.

"I think Smith gets a bad wrap too with tackling. He only missed two tackles in the run game all of last season. If he's a little on the smaller side (and) he has trouble shedding blocks, it's up to the D-line to kind of keep him clean.

"To me, I just think he can come in for the Niners and start at Will."

Naqvi notes that Smith, who he also would love to see the 49ers select, doesn't come with the off-the-field concerns that made Reuben Foster fall in last year's draft and continue to plague the young linebacker this offseason. However, Smith wasn't Naqvi's pick in the first round. He went with Landry as well.

"If you draft a generational pass rusher, a pass rusher who can really disrupt things in the backfield, that makes everybody else better," Naqvi said. "That throws off the timing for the quarterback. That doesn't allow them to allocate blockers up the middle for DeForest Buckner and I think Solomon Thomas will probably play beside him at some point. That will allow them to bring more pressure up the middle. That will give the corners less time that they need to cover because the quarterback will have to get it out faster.

"It changes the whole outlook of a defense when you draft a really good pass rusher."

You can learn each of Erickson, Sacco, and Naqvi's eight other selections for the 49ers in the latest episode of the No Huddle Podcast, which you can listen to below. You can also find it, along with all of our previous episodes, on our dedicated podcast page, iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.

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