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Kiper gives 49ers Farley in his third 2021 NFL mock draft

/ by Dalton Johnson
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The 49ers nearly have checked every box in free agency thus far. They have addressed positions that could have been big holes at left tackle, cornerback, safety and edge rusher. So, what will they do in the 2021 NFL Draft? 

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the 49ers staying put at No. 12 overall and selecting Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley in his third mock draft, which was released Tuesday morning. This is a big change from Kiper's previous mock draft one month ago that had the 49ers trading up to No. 7 and taking Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Kiper still isn't sold on Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers' QB going forward, but is questioning if the 49ers would make a big trade to move up in the draft for a young QB. 

"My feeling is that San Francisco could instead stay put in Round 1 and address its biggest hole with one of the top cornerbacks," Kiper wrote. "Farley is one of the best pure cover corners in this class."

In Kiper's latest mock draft, four quarterbacks -- Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance -- went in the top four picks. However, Alabama's Mac Jones still was available when the 49ers were on the clock. 

Farley is battling with Alabama's Patrick Surtain II as the top cornerback in the draft this year. Surtain might be more polished while Farley is considered the superior athlete. Farley opted out of the 2020 season but turned heads his first two years in college. 

 

Over 23 games at Virginia Tech, Farley, who is a converted wide receiver, recorded six interceptions and 19 passes defensed. However, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that Farley is undergoing back surgery but should be ready to go before the start of training camp. 

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The 49ers re-signed Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley this offseason. Both are solid options but come with some concerns. Verrett, of course, has his injury history and both players might not be long-term options. 

Farley could be a lockdown cornerback for years to come. Even after bringing back Verrett and Moseley, it wouldn't be a shock to see the 49ers take a corner with their top pick.

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