49ers

49ers Insider Matt Maiocco's first-round NFL mock draft

49ers Insider Matt Maiocco's first-round NFL mock draft

1, Cleveland: QB Sam Darnold, USC
New Browns GM John Dorsey has done a nice job of creating some intrigue, but all the names you've heard within the past week are probably only smokescreens.

2, N.Y. Giants: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Eli Manning is 37, and the strong-armed Allen will spend a year as his understudy.

3, N.Y. Jets: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater can step aside for the new guy to take over sooner than later.

4, Cleveland: DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Chubb teams up with Myles Garrett on the other side to provide a lethal pass rush.

5, Denver: RB Saquan Barkley, Penn State
If Barkley is not here, they will gladly go with Denzel Ward to shore up the secondary.

6, Indianapolis: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
The Colts finally supply Andrew Luck with a bodyguard . . . assuming he ever gets healthy enough to benefit from the presence of the draft’s best O-lineman.

7, Tampa Bay: DB Derwin James, Florida State
The Bucs add a defensive back who also gives their poor run defense a lift with his play close to the line of scrimmage.

8, Chicago: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
The Bears have a lot of options for providing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with some help, but settle on the best cover man.

9, 49ERS: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Versatile. High character. Great leader. Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are both entering the final year of their contracts. He fits an immediate need, too. What’s not to like about this pick? With Reuben Foster’s status being uncertain, either Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds would make a lot of sense, too.

10, RAIDERS: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
The Raiders have a hole in the middle of their defense as NaVorro Bowman remains a free agent. The Raiders finally address what has been a need for several seasons.

11, Miami: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Coach Adam Gase has no issues taking a QB who is strong-willed enough to ask a lot of questions and flash some attitude from time to time.

12, Buffalo: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
If the Bills do not move up to get a quarterback, they can remain right here and get a player who is easily a top-10 defensive talent.

13, Washington: DT Vita Vea, Washington
Oh, Jim Tomsula is going to love working with this huge, athletic presence in the middle of the line.

14, Green Bay: DE Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio
He's a unique personality with unique size and athleticism. But he’s going to have to develop more than just a bull rush to get to QBs in the NFL.

15, Arizona: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
The Cardinals might have a need at quarterback, but the Jackson they select is the guy who led the nation in interceptions last season.

16, Baltimore: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
This is a tough call, but the Ravens remain local instead of selecting the pass-catcher from Alabama.

17, L.A. Chargers: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
His versatility to play both interior positions and rush the passer should fit well in Gus Bradley’s scheme.

18, Seattle: DE Harold Landry, Boston College
He might be undersized, but he fits in the scheme as the Seahawks try to replenish their pass rush.

19, Dallas: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
This is a tough call, but the Cowboys remain local instead of selecting the pass-catcher from Alabama.

20, Detroit: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Hey, the guy played eight-man football in high school, so he knows how to cover some ground to make plays.

21, Cincinnati: T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Don’t be surprised if McGlinchey, the best offensive tackle available, goes much earlier than this – like within the top 12 picks.

22, Buffalo: G/C James Daniels, Iowa
After the retirements of Eric Wood and Richie Incognito, Daniels represents the intersection of need and best-player available.

23, New England: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Bill Belichick needs a linebacker and his old buddy, Nick Saban, has just the man for him.

24, Carolina: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
The Panthers agreed to a deal with free-agent Bashaud Breeland but he failed the physical. Alexander steps in to fill a hole.

25, Tennessee: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
Bryan takes the spot the Titans tried to fill with Ndamukong Suh, who signed with the L.A. Rams, instead.

26, Atlanta: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst and Dallas Goedert are first-round talents at TE, but Hurst gets his name called here.

27, New Orleans: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The Saints stop the fall of the guy whom many considered to be the top receiver in the draft.

28, Pittsburgh: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
The Steelers traded for Vance McDonald last year and, obviously, they remain in the market for a playmaker in this spot.

29, Jacksonville: G Will Hernandez, UTEP
The Jags broke the bank to land Andrew Norwell in free agency, and they bring in another powerful presence to open holes for Leonard Fournette.

30, Minnesota: T Kolton Miller, UCLA
If they’re going to guarantee Kirk Cousins all that money, they better bring along someone to protect their investment.

31, New England: QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
There are still a lot of questions why Belichick gave away Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for just a second-round pick. In Lauletta, they’re getting the closest thing in this draft to Garoppolo. Just to bring it full circle, they could just wait until No. 43 – the pick acquired from the 49ers for Garoppolo – to make this selection.

32, Philadelphia: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk is a perfect fit for this offense and gives Carson Wentz a nice welcome-back gift upon his return to the playing field.

Cornerbacks at Senior Bowl have a distinct 49ers, Seahawks look

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MATT MAIOCCO

Cornerbacks at Senior Bowl have a distinct 49ers, Seahawks look

Jim Nagy, whose job as executive director of the Senior Bowl is to piece together the lineup of invited participants, arranged for a group of familiar-looking cornerbacks.

Nagy worked for the Seattle Seahawks for five seasons as a Southeast region scout. The Seahawks’ prototype for cornerbacks is the same the 49ers have adopted under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme.

Richard Sherman is the prototype. The Seahawks and 49ers look for tall, physical corners to re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupt timing in the passing game.

“A lot of people in the league probably look at this roster and say, ‘Man, Jim is looking for the same thing he did in Seattle.’ There are a bunch of big, long guys in this group,” Nagy said. “The league is going that way as a whole just because of the success that Seattle’s had.

“There are a slew of guys coming down here who are perfect fits for the Niners.”

The 49ers invested third-round picks the past two years in Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore. Promoting more competition and increasing depth is a priority this offseason.

Here’s a look at some of the top prospects for the 49ers’ scheme at the Senior Bowl:

Lonnie Johnson Jr., Kentucky, 6-3, 206
With his size and athleticism, Johnson fits the model of what teams that play the cover-3 system are coveting. However, he recorded just one interception in his two seasons at Kentucky.
Projected: Early rounds

Rock Ya-Sin, Temple, 6-2, 190
Played completely under the radar during his three seasons at Presbyterian College before a transfer to Temple for his final season. He is relatively new to the sport but he has the smarts and skill to rise up draft boards.
Projected: Mid rounds

Isaiah Johnson, Houston, 6-4, 203
He’s got the attributes with his height and 33-inch arms. Nagy said he expects him to run in the low-4.4s. If he can stick with wideouts during the one-on-ones, he will help himself tremendously.
Projected: Mid rounds

Mark Fields, Clemson, 5-11. 180
When the Senior Bowl was looking to add a cornerback this week, the 49ers were consulted. This is the guy they wanted to be added to the group.
Projected: Late rounds

North cornerbacks

Amani Oruwariye, Penn State, 6-1, 201
He has the size and movements to be one of the first cornerbacks off the board. He also has the ball skills, as he showed with seven interceptions over the past two seasons. He will be rested this week in man coverage.
Projected: Early rounds

Kris Boyd, Texas, 6-0, 195
He is smart and experienced. He has the toughness in run support, too. The big question is whether he has the top-flight speed to keep plays in front of him.
Projected: Early rounds

Richard Sherman has message for Antonio Brown in his bid to join 49ers

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USATSI

Richard Sherman has message for Antonio Brown in his bid to join 49ers

Richard Sherman knows what it's like to leave the only franchise he's ever known to join the 49ers.

So, what does he think about Antonio Brown's desire to play in San Francisco?

"Good luck to him," Sherman told TMZ on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The All-Pro receiver wants out of Pittsburgh and to come to the 49ers "really badly," according to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II has said the team won't release Brown but will explore all other options, including a trade. Rooney also said he expects discussions regarding Brown's future to heat up in mid-March when the new league year begins.

Sherman, who signed a three-year, $27.15 million contract with the 49ers last March, was asked about his time in the Bay Area.

"So far, so good," Sherman told TMZ.

Before Sherman could get away, he was asked if he had a message for Brown.

"Go wherever it makes him happy," Sherman said.