Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers add WR DeVonta Smith in latest PFF mock draft

Feb 15, 2021 at 9:41 AM--

If the San Francisco 49ers don't make a move for a quarterback in this year's draft, many can envision the team going after a cornerback or adding another defensive end. Several of San Francisco's top cornerbacks are scheduled to become free agents. It's a list that includes Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, and K'Waun Williams.

The 49ers didn't have their top two pass rushers — Nick Bosa or Dee Ford — for most of last season. Bosa is rehabbing an ACL injury, while the status of Ford's back and neck injuries remains unclear. If Ford isn't healthy by April 1, San Francisco will be on the hook for a significant portion of his 2021 salary — $11.6 million — regardless of whether he is on the roster.

Rather than target one of these positions, Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus has the 49ers selecting a wide receiver with the No. 12 overall pick in Pro Football Focus' latest mock draft, and he's a good one — DeVonta Smith of Alabama. The selection is dependent on the 49ers keeping Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, adding yet another offensive weapon to his arsenal. However, Gayle feels moving up in the draft would be the better move.

"While the 49ers would be smart to send a package of picks and players to a team drafting inside the top-three to land an upgrade at quarterback, pulling off such a blockbuster trade and finding a proper suitor for Jimmy Garoppolo's services is easier said than done," wrote Gayle. "If Kyle Shanahan & Co. do stay put at No. 12 and continue to work for a deep postseason run with Jimmy G. under center, they'll need to do everything they can to build an elite offense around him. Smith finished the year with the highest single-season receiving grade (94.9) in the PFF College era (2014-20) and currently ranks 8th overall on PFF's 2021 NFL Draft Board."

Gayle has the top four quarterbacks — Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance — all going with the first four selections. He has Smith as the third receiver selected, behind Ja'Marr Chase of LSU and Smith's college teammate, Jaylen Waddle.

In addition to his high Pro Football Focus marks, Smith (6-1, 175) recorded an impressive 117 catches for 1,856 yards with 23 touchdowns and added a rushing score through 13 games as a senior in 2020. That followed up a 68-catch, 1,256-yard, and 14-touchdown campaign as a junior.

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