Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Casserly has his top-rated pass rusher headed to 49ers in mock draft

Feb 25, 2021 at 11:27 AM--

NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly released his first mock draft and has the San Francisco 49ers landing his top-rated pass rusher, Kwity Paye of Michigan, with the No. 12 overall pick.

It is noteworthy that Casserly has quarterback Justin Fields of Ohio State enduring a massive fall in Round 1. In fact, he is available when San Francisco makes its first selection within this mock draft and is passed on by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Casserly has Fields falling all the way to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 24.

Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance are all off the board within the top four picks.

As for Paye, Casserly says the following about the projected 49ers selection of the defender:

"The 49ers need another outside presence opposite Nick Bosa, and Paye is my top-rated pass rusher in this year's class."

Paye recorded 11.5 sacks, 59 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, a pass defensed, and a forced fumble in four seasons with the Wolverines. He registered two sacks and 16 tackles through four games as a senior during the team's abbreviated 2020 season. The defensive lineman racked up a career-high 6.5 sacks a year earlier.

Bosa is coming off an ACL injury, and no one seems certain what is happening with veteran Dee Ford, who missed all but one game last season with neck and back injuries. Adding another young pass-rushing threat might be a good strategy for an organization that places a high value on flustering opposing quarterbacks.

Arik Armstead led the 49ers with 10 sacks in 2019 but mustered just 3.5 sacks in 2020. Veteran Kerry Hyder led the team with a career-high 8.5 sacks this past season but is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month.

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