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Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports


49ers double up on edge rushers, cornerbacks in latest mock draft from The Athletic

Apr 14, 2022 at 8:57 AM--


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Mock drafts, especially ones that go seven rounds deep, will never serve as a reasonable projection of what NFL teams might do in the league's annual rookie selection event. Nothing ever turns out exactly as a mock draft predicts, whether it be one round or seven. Still, they are a good indicator of the perceived needs of each team.

The Athletic's Dane Brugler is the latest of the big-name analysts to post a seven-round mock draft.

"Putting together a seven-round mock draft can feel like an exercise in futility, because a few trades on draft night will completely blow it up," wrote Brugler. "But it is still a worthwhile exercise because it is more than simply matching player with team."

How did the San Francisco 49ers do in Brugler's mock draft? Below is a list of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan's nine projected selections.

  1. Rd 2, Pk 61: Josh Paschal, Edge, Kentucky
  2. Rd 3, Pk 93: Cole Strange, OG/C, Chattanooga
  3. Rd 3, Pk 105: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
  4. Rd 4, Pk 134: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers
  5. Rd 5, Pk 172: Jesse Luketa, Edge, Penn State
  6. Rd 6, Pk 187: Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati
  7. Rd 6, Pk 220: Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
  8. Rd 6, Pk 221: Zachary Thomas, OT/G, San Diego State
  9. Rd 7, Pk 262: Zyon Gilbert, CB, Florida Atlantic

It's worth noting that Brugler has the 49ers double-dipping at edge rusher and cornerback while also using two selections to address the offensive line.

The draft analyst has San Francisco selecting Paschal with their first pick of the draft, which doesn't come until No. 61 overall thanks to last year's trade to move up and select quarterback Trey Lance. The team lacks a first-round pick in 2022 and 2023.

Paschal registered 52 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and a forced fumble through 12 game appearances as a senior in 2021, per Sports Reference. He recorded 137 tackles, 35.5 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, a pass defensed, an interception, and three forced fumbles through his five collegiate seasons.

Adding depth along the edge of the defensive line will help former NFL Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa, who was a force for the Niners in 2021, leading the team with 15.5 sacks.

Several mock drafts have had Jones, the cornerback out of Houston, projected to the 49ers. San Francisco lost nickel cornerback K'Waun Williams, who signed with the Denver Broncos in free agency.

Jones registered 47 tackles, one tackle for a loss, 13 passes defensed, five interceptions, and a forced fumble through 13 game appearances as a senior in 2021. He recorded 153 tackles, five tackles for a loss, 31 passes defensed, nine interceptions, a touchdown, and a forced fumble through his four collegiate seasons.

"Mr. Irrelevant in this exercise is a toolsy cornerback who checks a lot of boxes with the 49ers," notes Brugler of San Francisco's last projected pick. "Zyon Gilbert is north of six feet, impressed at his pro day (4.42 40-yard dash, 40-inch vertical, 11-feet-6 broad jump) and posted double-digit passes defended last season. Gilbert has projectable traits in the Niners' scheme."



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