49ers seven-round NFL mock draft: Projected picks in each round
First round (No. 2 overall) Nick Bosa, edge, Ohio State
If Bosa is available, that’s the pick. If the Arizona Cardinals select Bosa at No. 1, then the 49ers go with Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. The 49ers have to be pleased to get either player.
Bosa was born to play defensive end – like his father, his uncle and his brother. His dad, John Bosa, and his uncle, Eric Kumerow, were first-round draft picks of the Miami Dolphins in back-to-back years in the 1980s. Three years ago, the Chargers selected brother Joey Bosa with the No. 3 overall pick. Nick will become the highest-drafted player in the family.
The 49ers’ outside pass rush was severely lacking last season. The addition of Bosa, coupled with the acquisition of Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, all of a sudden turns a weakness into a strength of the defense.
Second round (No. 36 overall) Deebo Samuel, receiver, South Carolina
The 49ers used nearly half of their 30 pre-draft visits on wide receivers. The 49ers could go with another position in this round and look for a receiver in the third round. But why wait? Why not get the receiver they like the most of those remaining on their draft board?
N’Keal Harry (Arizona State) and Hakeem Butler (Iowa State) are large red-zone targets. But there are questions whether they can get open in the middle of the field. A.J. Brown (Ole Miss) might be available, but he did most of his damage from the slot in college. Samuel makes the most sense.
Samuel has speed and a great feel for setting up cornerbacks and running crisp routes. He is tough, and he is tough to bring down in the open field. Samuel steps in as an immediate starter.
Third round (No. 67 overall) Lonnie Johnson, cornerback, Kentucky
Johnson has the size, athleticism and aggressiveness to thrive in the 49ers’ cover-three scheme. He will be challenged greatly to earn his way into the starting lineup as a rookie with a group that includes Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore.
Johnson has a chance to be a core special-teams player as a rookie and work his way into a solid starter in the long term. He also adds to the depth at a spot where it is difficult to remain healthy through the course of an entire season.
Fourth round (No. 104 overall) Jace Sternberger, tight end, Texas A&M
The 49ers certainly do not need a starter after George Kittle emerged as one of the top playmaking tight ends in the league in Year 2. But the 49ers do not have much depth behind him.
The team could definitely use an upgrade – or, at least, more competition – for veteran Garrett Celek and Ross Dwelley, who made the team last season as an undrafted rookie. The 49ers showed interest in Sternberger in the pre-draft process, bringing him into the team’s Santa Clara facility for one of their 30 visits. He had 48 receptions for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season at A&M.
Sixth round, No. 176 overall Mitch Wishnowsky, punter, Utah
The 49ers might have to burn a pick on a specialist to replace Bradley Pinion. Wishnowsky gets the nod over Stanford’s Jake Bailey because of his hang time and the fact that nearly half of his punts ended with a fair catch.
The 49ers have some issues in their kicking game. Not only did Pinion sign with Tampa Bay as a free agent, but veteran kicker Robbie Gould is upset with the 49ers for placing the franchise tag on him. Gould has asked for a trade. So the team might need a kicker, too.
Sixth round (No. 212 overall) Marquise Blair, safety, Utah
The cupboard is not bare at safety, where the 49ers have free safeties Jimmie Ward, Adrian Colbert and D.J. Reed, to go along with strong safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Marcell Harris.
Blair would certainly not step in as a starter. He would earn his keep initially as a special-teams player. If he continues to develop, he could work his way into a starting role or a key reserve to be relied upon if needed to step him.