49ers

Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: 49ers land Jerry Jeudy, pick cornerback

Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: 49ers land Jerry Jeudy, pick cornerback

Attention, other 15 teams in the NFC: Do not let Jerry Jeudy make his way to the 49ers.

That essentially was ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky's take when it came time to discuss San Francisco's selection during Mel Kiper Jr.'s televised mock draft Tuesday.

Kiper released his NFL Mock Draft 3.0 earlier Tuesday -- his first since before the NFL Scouting Combine and first since the opening of free agency -- in which he projects all 32 first-round picks of the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. The 49ers picked up an additional first-round selection in the DeForest Buckner trade with the Colts, and Kiper has San Francisco using it on the same player that would create a nightmare scenario for the rest of the NFC in Orlovsky's estimation.

While Buckner's departure creates a hole in the middle of San Francisco's defense, Kiper believes Jeudy would fill a more pressing need.

"San Francisco could use the pick for a straight replacement for Buckner at defensive tackle -- if [South Carolina defensive lineman] Javon Kinlaw drops out of the top 10, he could do damage in the middle of its defense -- but I see wide receiver as a higher priority, particularly after Emmanuel Sanders walked in free agency," Kiper wrote. "Adding Jeudy, who caught 77 passes for 1,163 yards and 10 TDs last season, to a group with Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne makes this a really exciting (and young) trio of wideouts for Jimmy Garoppolo."

NBC Sports' Dalton Johnson and Josh Schrock recently released an updated mock draft in which San Francisco ended up with a different wide-receiver prospect, Henry Ruggs, who just happens to have been Jeudy's teammate at Alabama. In that mock, both Jeudy and Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb had each come off the board in the two picks prior to the 49ers'. 

As things currently stand, San Francisco would not pick again until the fifth round following its second first-round selection -- No. 31 overall -- and for that reason, Kiper has the 49ers as potential trade-down candidates. He doesn't project trades in his mock drafts, however, so at No. 31, Kiper has San Francisco addressing the secondary with the selection of Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.

"With DeForest Buckner gone, I thought about defensive tackle, but they still have some talent there with former top-five pick Solomon Thomas moving inside permanently," Kiper wrote. "[Texas A&M defensive lineman] Justin Madubuike could be an option. But corner is a more pressing need, and you only have to watch Super Bowl LIV to see that. Richard Sherman, who turns 32 later this month, is only signed through 2020, and the Niners don't have a set No. 2 corner. Igbinoghene, a track athlete who is still raw, is my third-ranked corner, and he could also help as a return man."

Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley each served as San Francisco's No. 2 cornerback at different periods of last season, but just like Sherman, neither of them are signed beyond 2020. As such, Igbinoghene would provide the 49ers with both youth and some long-term security at the position -- provided that he lived up to his selection.

[RELATED: 49ers, Colts approached Buckner trade with opposite logic]

While Kiper has San Francisco foregoing Buckner's position with both first-round draft picks, Johnson and Schrock didn't afford the 49ers that luxury. At No. 31 overall, they had the Niners selecting Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, who ran a 4.79 40-yard dash at 304 pounds at the combine.

Which prospects the 49ers select -- and when -- remains to be seen. But, in the meantime, it would appear a consensus as to which positions they're targeting is being formed.

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

[RELATED: Here's what McGlinchey had to say on Staley's 49ers future]

After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL draft demonstrates to fans just how bold their team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and the lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

[RELATED: 49ers' Thieneman teams with non-profit to make ventilators]

Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely rather would see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time.