These are the players the 49ers should take in the upcoming draft given the players they already have signed in free agency.
Round 1: Andrus Peat, OT/G, Stanford
Andrus Peat is the most athletically gifted offensive lineman in the upcoming draft. He’s tall (6’7”), he has long arms (34 3/8 inches) and quick feet. He has the potential to become a Pro Bowl left tackle, but his rookie season he could replace Mike Iupati and play left guard.
Peat would be a better pass protector than Iupati, who gave up 7 sacks last season. Peat also would be a better run blocker than Iupati if the Niners incorporate more zone blocking into their running game. Iupati cannot move quickly enough to be a zone blocker.
Round 2: Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
If the 49ers are going to contend with Seattle, the Niners need someone who matches up with Jimmy Graham.
Clemson inside linebacker Stephone Anthony seems to match up.
Anthony: 6’3”, 243 pounds, 4.56 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical leap.
Graham: 6’6”, 260 pounds, 4.56 40-yard dash, 38 1/2-inch vertical leap.
Anthony is excellent at covering tight ends, but he is not a mere coverage specialist. He is a three-down linebacker. The 49ers recently lost one of those. He wore No.52.
The Niners are left with Chris Borland, a two-down linebacker at best, and NaVorro Bowman.
Bowman was a three-down linebacker before he tore the ACL and MCL in his left leg. The 49ers cannot expect him to be a three-down linebacker any more, cannot expect him to play every single defensive snap like he used to, especially not his first season back from a horrific injury.
Drafting a three-down linebacker like Anthony would take tremendous pressure off of Bowman.
Round 3: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
The 49ers need a future No.1 receiver. Phillip Dorsett may or may not be a future No.1, but he sure shares a lot of athletic traits with the Indianapolis Colts’ current No.1—T.Y. Hilton.
Dorsett: 5’10”, 185 pounds, 4.33 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical leap, 30 ¼-inch arms, 9 3/8-inch hands.
Hilton: 5’10”, 183 pounds, 4.34 40-yard dash, 35 ½-inch vertical leap, 32-inch arms, 8 ½-inch hands.
I’m just saying.
Round 4: Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB, USC
The Niners also need another power running back who can run both inside and outside the tackles.
Boise State’s Jay Ajayi would be perfect for the Niners, but they probably would have to draft him in the second round, and they spent a second-round pick on a running back last year.
Instead of drafting Ajayi, the Niners could wait until the fourth round and draft USC’s “Buck” Allen. Allen and Ajayi are similar.
Allen: 6’0”, 221 pounds, 4.53 40-yard dash, 5.5 yards per carry in 417 carries at USC.
Ajayi: 6’0”, 221 pounds, 4.57 40-yard dash, 5.6 yards per carry in 678 carries at Boise State.
Round 5: Nick Marshall, CB, Auburn
The 49ers don’t necessarily need to draft a starting cornerback. Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright are solid starters.
Still, the 49ers need a cornerback who could develop and replace Brock or Wright in the starting lineup down the line.
Nick Marshall needs to develop—he was a quarterback at Auburn. But he will play defensive back in the NFL. Compare his combine results to Richard Sherman’s combine results. Sherman was a fifth-round pick in 2011.
Marshall: 6’1’1/2, 207 pounds, 4.54 40-yard dash, 37 ½-inch vertical leap, 4.15 20-yard shuttle, 6.96 3-cone drill, 32 1/8-inch arms.
Sherman: 6’2’1/2, 195 pounds, 4.53 40-yard dash, 38-inch vertical leap, 4.33 20-yard shuttle, 6.82 3-cone drill, 32-inch arms.
Round 6: Kyle Emanuel, OLB, North Dakota State
The past four seasons, the 49ers have had a run-stopping outside linebacker. In 2011 and 2012, it was Parys Haralson. In 2013 and 2014, it was Dan Skuta.
Haralson was a fifth-round pick and Skuta wasn’t drafted, meaning the 49ers can find a run-stopping outside linebacker late in the draft.
Kyle Emanuel is projected to be a sixth-round pick, mostly because he went to a small school (North Dakota State). Skuta also went to a small school (Grand Valley State). Emanuel and Skuta have a lot in common.
Emanuel: 6’3”, 255 pounds, 4.77 40-yard dash, 27 bench-press reps of 225 pounds.
Skuta: 6’2”, 249 pounds, 4.72 40-yard dash, 20 bench-press reps of 225 pounds.
Round 7: Bryan Bennett, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
This year is a terrible year to draft a quarterback. At least Bennett has wheels and a strong arm—traits worth developing. Bennett backed up Marcus Mariota for a year at the University of Oregon, so he should feel right at home backing up Colin Kaepernick.