49ers select safety, corner in Kiper and McShay alternating draft

Apr 19, 2022 at 8:33 AM--

ESPN analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay released their annual alternating mock draft. That means each takes a turn projecting selections through the third round, basing the decisions on team needs and what the analysts would do if they were the general managers.

To simplify things, no trades were allowed during the 105-pick run. McShay selected first, taking the odd-numbered picks. Kiper went with the evens. Because of that pattern, McShay makes all of the 49ers' selections in this mock draft.

The San Francisco 49ers don't own a first-round pick this or next year thanks to last year's trade to move up and acquire quarterback Trey Lance. So their first selection comes at No. 61 overall in the second round.

Round 2, Pick 61
Selection: Nick Cross, S, Maryland

San Francisco does need to add to its defensive backfield. Jaquiski Tartt remains unsigned and Jimmie Ward is slated to hit free agency next year.

"The Niners could look at someone like UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen, but the value is much better on Cross here when it comes to the secondary," wrote McShay. "Jimmie Ward is entering the final year of his deal, and Cross has size, range and versatility."

Cross registered 66 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two passes defensed, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles through 12 game appearances as a junior in 2021, per Sports Reference.

Round 3, Pick 93
Selection: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State

Bolstering the cornerback position is also an area of need for the 49ers. The team signed Charvarius Ward in free agency. However, Emmanuel Moseley is scheduled to become a free agent in 2023. San Francisco also used two selections on cornerbacks in last year's draft, adding Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir.

Two consecutive selections on defensive backs would bolster the group and prepare for the future.

"Time to check off the other defensive back need for San Francisco, after getting Cross at safety earlier," wrote McShay. "McCollum has speed, size and ball skills, and I think he could become a reliable No. 2 cornerback early on in his career."

McCollum started all 10 games at cornerback in 2021, finishing with 46 tackles, three tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and an interception, per the school's athletics site.

Round 3, Pick 105
Selection: David Bell, WR, Purdue

This is a compensatory pick, the team's first of four in this draft, and the final selection in his mock draft. With this selection, McShay shifts over to offense, adding a 6-foot-1, 212-pound wideout for second-year quarterback Trey Lance.

"Bell wasn't super impressive at the combine (4.65-second 40-yard dash), but he's a crafty route runner who would bring versatility to an offense likely undergoing a change under center," wrote McShay.

Bell registered 93 receptions for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns through 11 game appearances as a junior in 2021.

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