Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

PFF’s NFC West mock draft has 49ers landing surprising QB

Apr 12, 2021 at 6:19 AM--

While the rest of the media believes that the New York Jets drafting quarterback Zach Wilson of BYU to be a near-certainty, Seth Galina of Pro Football Focus doesn't sound too convinced of that. The analyst feels there may be a smokescreen in play, masking New York's true target—Justin Fields of Ohio State.

Galina took a look at the NFC West and created a mock draft for the entire division. In it, he has the Jets taking Fields, and Wilson falling to the No. 3 spot, where San Francisco pounces.

"There is a very real chance that we have been fed and will continue to be fed the proverbial serving of draft-related bull excrement," wrote Galina. "So, in this scenario, the Niners select BYU QB Zach Wilson.

"Wilson fits Shanahan's outside-zone boot scheme to a certain degree because he played in a similar system last season. The 49ers have run the sixth-most outside-zone play-action plays in the league over the previous two seasons, while BYU ran by far the most in college football last season. It's a like-for-like match."

Galina's mock draft went three rounds deep. In the second round, with pick No. 43, the analyst has the 49ers adding to the defensive backfield with cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. of Florida State, who can step in for the departed Richard Sherman.

"Samuel is a slightly different cornerback than Sherman is, and I think the Niners will like that," wrote Galina. "When we think of Sherman, he is the prototype press corner who has excelled in that press-bail zone style. However, he adapted his style to what the 49ers wanted, which was more of an off-coverage corner, and Asante Samuel Jr. happens to be just that.

"It ends up being a pretty solid replacement. Samuel Jr. loves to bait quarterbacks by making it look like receivers are open before coming down and getting his hands on passes. He forced an incompletion on just over 20% of the passes thrown his way over the last two years, tied for 14th in the country among players who saw at least 50 targets in coverage."

Galina has the Niners selecting wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette of Iowa with the No. 102 overall pick in the third round. The former Hawkeye has seen his draft stock rise over the last month after it plunged toward the end of this past season.

"Analysts and mock drafters alike are coming around to the fact that he played with an inaccurate quarterback in college, and we shouldn't let his lack of production affect his draft stock too much," wrote Galina. "He gets off the ball in a hurry and is someone the 49ers can use down the field right away. Only 12 of his 32 deep targets over the last two seasons were charted as accurate. He will get much more opportunity to make plays in the NFL."

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