These are the picks the 49ers should make in the upcoming draft.
Round 1. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
Huge wide receiver who moves and creates separation like a small wide receiver. And even when he doesn’t create separation, he’s open, because he’s 6-5. He can catch passes over cornerbacks’ heads. He has the talent to replace Anquan Boldin as the Niners No.1 receiver in 2016.
Round 2. Shaq Thompson, ILB, Washington
The best inside linebacker in the draft. An instinctual, fluid defender against the run and pass. Thompson is too small to play “Mike” as a rookie, but he can play “Jack” – NaVorro Bowman’s old position – and Bowman can move to “Mike.” Patrick Willis started his career at “Jack,” then he moved to “Mike” when he was 26 — Bowman’s age.
Round 3. Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State
Not big enough to be a great press-corner. Only 5-10. The Seahawks probably wouldn’t want him. But he might be the best off-man-coverage corner in the draft. The Niners defense has used that type of coverage frequently the past few years. Like Tramaine Brock, Nelson has great timing and burst to break on passes and knock them down.
Round 4. Jeremiah Poutasi, G, Utah
A powerful, slow lineman best suited to play right guard – similar to Mike Iupati. The Niners could move veteran guard Alex Boone to left guard to make room for Poutasi.
Round 4 (comp). MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois
The Niners need a tight end who can catch. Pruitt caught 81 passes his senior season at Southern Illinois. He has long arms, big hands and he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine. He can block, too.
Round 5. Max Valles, OLB, Virginia
Had nine sacks in 12 games last season, and he doesn’t turn 21 until August. Has the frame to add 10 to 20 pounds, and the talent to become the Niners’ starting left outside linebacker in a year or two. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein compares Valles to Aaron Lynch, whom the Niners drafted in Round 5 last year.
Round 6. Thomas Rawls, RB, Central Michigan
A 5-9-, 215-pound running back who ran a 4.42 at his pro day. He’s fast, physical and agile between the tackles. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry last season at Central Michigan, Joe Staley’s alma mater.
Round 7. John Timu, ILB, Washington
A 6-0-, 241-pound linebacker who ran a 4.73 40 and put up 33 reps on the bench at his pro day. A two-down “take-on” linebacker who can play “Mike” if NaVorro Bowman’s knee doesn’t recover.
Round 7 (comp). Bryan Bennett, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
Moves like Johnny Manziel. Throws harder than Manziel. Is flat-out better than Manziel. Bennett probably will be available in Round 7 because he played at a small school.