College Football

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

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USATSI

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

SANTA CLARA -- Quinnen Williams proved Monday night that he can talk a big game, even if he doesn’t play one.

The Alabama defensive tackle, whom many project to be a top-five pick if he leaves school for the 2019 NFL draft, didn’t exactly show out in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. The redshirt sophomore finished with just four total tackles (three solo, one assist) and 1.5 for loss.

Williams went relatively unnoticed in Clemson’s 44-16 rout, except for this first-quarter stop that showcased his power.

Williams, who entered the game tied for second on the Crimson Tide with eight sacks this season, didn’t register any noticeable pass rush -- to be fair, no one on Alabama did -- as the Tigers handily won the title.

Still, Williams wasn’t that impressed by what he saw from the now-national champions.

“They really didn’t do anything that caught us off guard,” Williams said. “We knew everything that was coming. They ran zone. They ran go routes, 50-50 balls.

“[Clemson QB] Trevor Lawrence threw the ball, and it looked like he put it on the money. He didn’t drop dimes, none of that. He threw it up, and the receivers made plays. All the respect to the receivers.”

While Williams later called Lawrence “good,” his comments were reminiscent of his pre-Orange Bowl words on Kyler Murray, when he smartly stopped himself from criticizing Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Williams showed no such restraint this time, and while you could chalk it up to the hurt of losing a national title game, NFL teams surely will ask him in pre-draft interviews about how he'll handle such situations.

As for his NFL draft status, Williams didn’t want to say much, claiming he really hadn’t thought about the possibility of turning pro after the season.

“I don’t know yet, man,” he said. “I got to go home, watch this film first, get with my teammates and let them know, man, everything.”

New Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, whose team has been linked to Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in numerous mock drafts, saw the defensive tackle in person Monday. Whether he liked what he saw or heard remains to be seen over the next three months.

NFL mock draft 2019: Pundits agree 49ers should pick defense at No. 4

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NFL mock draft 2019: Pundits agree 49ers should pick defense at No. 4

The 49ers would own the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, if the season ended today. And while no one truly knows whom the team would choose, there seems to be a consensus that the pick should be used on a defensive player.

That makes sense, given the 49ers’ holes at pass rusher and cornerback on a defense that has allowed 26.6 points per game -- seventh-worst in the league -- and ranks dead last in takeaways with just five (two interceptions and three fumbles)

Here’s a selection from various NFL mock drafts highlighting players the 49ers might/should/could take, come April:

SI.com: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
What they said: “San Francisco is set with interior linemen, and pairing Allen with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner would give the 49ers defense a chance to get very good quickly. Allen’s decision to return for his senior season has paid off — he’s bigger, stronger, has improved his pass-rush technique and proven himself a run defender.”

SB Nation: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
What they said: “Allen surprised some by returning to Kentucky for another season, but it paid off for him. He rounded out his game and asserted himself as a likely top 10 pick in April. For the 49ers he would give them a versatile pass rusher who can attack from different positions. If the 49ers can’t get [Nick] Bosa, Allen should be their first priority.”

CBSSports.com: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
What they said: “Ferrell had 10 sacks for Clemson while playing on the best defensive line in football. He may not go this high but the 49ers need to find pass rushers despite taking defensive linemen in the first round from 2015-17.”

WalterFootball.com: Devin White, LB, LSU
What they said: “Devin White was extremely productive this past season, logging 133 tackles. A projected running back, White is still learning the position, which is crazy considering how great he was in 2017.”

NBC Sports Washington: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
What they said: “Gary was the No. 1 overall recruit in 2016, and the pass rusher looks like a top 5 selection in 2019. The 49ers lost Jerick McKinnon to a season-ending knee injury, but there are no running backs worthy of a top-10 selection.”

The Draft Network: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
What they said: “The 49ers desperately need cornerback help and Murphy is … not the ideal fit for Robert Saleh’s prototype at the position at all. But sometimes rules are meant to be broken. … Murphy is unbelievably instinctive in zone coverage, showing ball skills, physicality and easy movement skills from various alignments.”

A's prospect Kyler Murray would rather win Heisman Trophy than World Series

A's prospect Kyler Murray would rather win Heisman Trophy than World Series

Hours before winning the Heisman Trophy, Kyler Murray was presented with a hypothetical.

The A's prospect/Oklahoma Sooners quarterback was asked whether he'd rather win a Heisman, or a World Series trophy. A's fans, you might want to look away. 

"I'd rather win a Heisman," Murray said. "I mean, no disrespect to a World Series, but ..."

Can you blame the kid? The 21-year-old became one of just over 80 college football players to win the Heisman, while (at least) 25 players win a World Series every season.  

Still, the answer came days after Murray hinted he was open to exploring an NFL future. 

"I think that's something me and my family will talk about at the end of the season and weigh out the options of what the NFL thinks of me," Murray told ESPN's Tim Tebow. "Right now my future is already kind of planned out, but we'll see what happens."

The A's drafted Murray ninth overall in June's draft, and agent Scott Boras told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser this week that the A's had nothing to worry about. 

“Kyler has every intention of fulfilling his agreement with the A’s, and he’s grateful he has had the chance to pursue his college goals,” Boras told Slusser. “He will be in spring training with the A’s.”

Now that his preferred is checked off his bucket list, maybe Boras' words will ultimately prove correct.