The 49ers had an obvious need for a cornerback, so why didn’t they take one earlier in the draft?
They allowed 19 defensive backs to come off the board before drafting Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon with the 66th pick. The Niners must feel Witherspoon is as good as those other 19 DBs who were drafted before him, otherwise they would have traded up for someone else.
But Witherspoon is a project. He has only four years of experience playing football, he’s a bad tackler and he intercepted just three passes in college. He probably won’t help the 49ers as a rookie.
Why weren’t the 49ers more aggressive about drafting a corner? They currently have eight picks on Day 3 — all eight of those players won’t make the final roster. The Niners could have traded a few of those picks to move up seven or eight spots and take the better cornerback from Colorado, Chidobe Awuzie, whom the Dallas Cowboys drafted with the 60th pick.
That would have been an A-plus move.
Waiting for Witherspoon was a B-minus move.
But the 49ers weren’t done. They also owned the next pick — No. 67. They could have spent it on a running back or a quarterback or a pass rusher, but but they traded down with the New Orleans Saints and turned the 67th pick into a seventh rounder this year and a second rounder next year.
Whomever the Niners get with that second rounder next year will be much better than anyone they could have gotten with the 67th pick this year. Excellent trade.