While quarterback speculation is leading the rumor mill for the 49ers, draft season has started in Santa Clara.
The 49ers will be monitoring plenty of prospects at the Senior Bowl this week, but they of course could use their top pick on a player who isn't in Mobile, Ala., this week.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has them doing just that.
Kiper released his first full 2021 NFL mock draft Tuesday morning, and it couldn't have gone much better for the 49ers. Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II went to them with the No. 12 overall pick, which would fill a huge need.
"The 49ers will likely undergo big changes on defense this offseason, with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh gone and cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jason Verrett all unrestricted free agents. That's why it makes sense to target a corner early. Surtain, my top-ranked corner, could be a starter on Day 1," Kiper wrote.
The 49ers could lose every cornerback to free agency who played significant snaps this season. Every single one. Surtain is the most polished cornerback in the draft, and should make an immediate impact at the next level.
Surtain finished his three-year Alabama career with four interceptions, four forced fumbles and 24 passes defensed. He and Caleb Farley are seen as the top two corners in the draft. Farley might be the better natural athlete, but Surtain seems more NFL ready right now.
If the 49ers don't add a young quarterback with their top pick, selecting Surtain certainly could make a lot of sense.