2019 Peach Bowl: LSU, Oklahoma NFL draft prospects 49ers fans should watch


2019 Peach Bowl: LSU, Oklahoma NFL draft prospects 49ers fans should watch

The NFC West and top seed in the playoffs are on the line for the 49ers come Sunday. All eyes will be on their showdown in Seattle against the Seahawks.

Prior to that, though, football fans will turn their attention to the College Football Playoff. It all starts in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers playing the No. 4-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. 

There will be talent all over the field, starting with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who took home the Heisman Trophy and likely is headed to the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. While the 49ers will be picking near the end of the first round and plenty of talent from this game already will be called, general manager John Lynch should be locked in on this semifinal game. 

Here are four players from the 2019 Peach Bowl who the 49ers should be watching. 

Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Delpit's draft stock has fallen after a sensational sophomore season, which should be a positive to 49ers fans. If Delpit falls to the end of the first round, he could wind up being the steal of the draft. 

Much of Delpit's less impressive stats come from him playing through multiple injuries as a junior. When healthy, the 6-foot-3, 203-pounder can play like Chargers star Derwin James. 

Entering the Peach Bowl, Delpit has 190 tackles -- 16 for loss -- in his three-year career with six sacks, eight interceptions and 23 passes defensed. He has struggled this season with missed tackles, but Delpit is a do-it-all safety who can be a star at the next level. 

Jimmie Ward will be a free agent after this season, and the 49ers need to make an upgrade at safety. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh would have a lot of fun with Delpit if the Jim Thorpe Award winner falls to San Francisco.

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Fulton will get a hell of a test in the Peach Bowl when he lines up against Sooners star receiver CeeDee Lamb. The senior cornerback is elite in coverage and can run with the best of them, though. 

Fulton has one interception and 12 passes defensed this season. The stats don't tell the whole story when it comes to this Tiger. Opposing quarterbacks simply don't look his way, and for good reason. 

Richard Sherman still is elite when healthy, but the 49ers should be eyeing the top cornerbacks in the draft. Ahkello Witherspoon only has been healthy for nine games this season and San Francisco needs a top corner opposite of Sherman. 

Fulton, 6-0, 200 pounds, doesn't fit the long body that Saleh usually looks for. That shouldn't be a red flag, though. He can be a top corner at the next level and should get a long look if he somehow is there when the 49ers are on the clock. 

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

It's no surprise the 49ers need to be looking at receivers in the draft. Deebo Samuel could turn into a star, Emmanuel Sanders will be a free agent and Kendrick Bourne is a solid role player. Outside of that, it's nothing more than a shoulder shrug. 

That can change when Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor are healthy, but that won't stop the 49ers from scouting this deep draft class. 

Jefferson broke out this season while Burrow turned into a superstar. The 6-3 target went from the outside to the inside and the change brought huge numbers. The junior enters Saturday with 88 receptions for 1,207 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Coach Kyle Shanahan has had success in the past with big slot receivers like Mohamed Sanu, and Jefferson has experience on the inside and outside. He certainly should be available for the 49ers in the first round and even if San Francisco decides to trade back into Round 2. 

The 49ers will have their eyes on a wide array of receivers and Jefferson is just one of them.

Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma

For a team that doesn't have too many holes, Humphrey could make a lot of sense at the end of the first round or if the 49ers trade back. 

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Seahawks]

Humphrey isn't the most athletic lineman, though he could be a versatile one. He lines up as the Sooners' center and should be able to transition to guard. The 49ers are locked on the outside at tackle but need help on the interior. 

Humphrey is a redshirt sophomore who has been the anchor for dominant offenses the last two seasons. He can move along the inside of the line and gets nasty in the trenches to make up for not having elite athleticism.

Check out the 49ers' fresh official 2020 NFL Draft hats from New Era


Check out the 49ers' fresh official 2020 NFL Draft hats from New Era

The NFL Draft is still scheduled to take place from April 23, through April 25, but it will look a bit different than what we’re used to.

Las Vegas will still host the draft, but without the usual pomp and circumstance events leading up to, and around it, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While we don’t know how it’ll ultimately look as we have nothing previous to compare it to, we do know the hats the draftees will sport after their name is called.

New Era dropped the Official NFL Draft Hats with each cap sporting the logo on all black with their taglines stitched on the sides. 

Here are what the 49ers hats look like:

[RELATED: Why NFL should award Raiders NFL Draft in 2022]

New Era also offers alternates with bigger logos.

At least one thing will remain familiar despite a lot of changes.

Emmanuel Sanders was down to 49ers, Saints, Packers in NFL free agency

Emmanuel Sanders was down to 49ers, Saints, Packers in NFL free agency

Emmanuel Sanders is a man of his word. He said he would prioritize an opportunity to contend for a Super Bowl when deciding which team he was going to sign with in free agency, and given the finalists for his services, that's precisely what he did.

Sanders joined "The Rich Eisen Show" on Monday and explained that his decision ultimately came down to the NFC's top three seeds from last season.

"I was talking to Green Bay, I was talking to the Niners and just trying to figure out what type of deal, what type of money are we talking about," Sanders explained. "And then the Saints called, and I was ecstatic about them calling. The opportunity to play with Drew Brees and everything. The numbers made sense -- Drew has two more years left on his deal, and I signed a two-year deal."

As you might recall, the 49ers and Packers earned the Nos. 1 and 2 overall seeds in the NFC last season -- and a first-round bye -- while the Saints finished as the No. 3 seed. New Orleans' season ended in the wild-card round, whereas San Francisco defeated Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl LIV.

While the 49ers and Saints didn't face each other in the playoffs, they did combine for a thrilling regular-season shootout in Week 14 -- a 48-46 San Francisco road win in which Sanders played a huge role, catching seven passes for 157 receiving yards and a touchdown. The next time he returns to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it won't be as a visiting player.

"I'm just excited to be a New Orleans Saint," Sanders continued. "I looked at the schedule -- we've got 11 or 12 games inside in a dome. Michael Thomas being my counterpart, Drew Brees throwing the ball, Sean Payton calling the plays -- a wide-open spread offense just like I was with Peyton [Manning] in 2014 -- it just set a new fire under me."

[RELATED: NFL will expand playoffs to seven teams beginning in 2020]

Though Sanders didn't elaborate on those indoor games, he was correct in that the Saints will play 11 regular-season games in a dome next season. In addition to road games against the Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders and Detroit Lions, they of course have their eight home games -- one of which might be circled as soon as the official schedule is released.

That one?

Against the 49ers.