These are the picks I would make if I were the 49ers general manager and I couldn’t trade up or down.
Note: The 49ers should do everything in their power to trade down in Round 1.
Round 1, pick 2: Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky.
The 49ers don’t need another defensive lineman — they already have four first-round picks who are defensive linemen, and are spending more than $43 million of their cap space on that position, fifth-most in the NFL. Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams are defensive linemen. They would affect only one level of the 49ers defense, their strongest level — the front line. Allen would affect two levels. He can play linebacker in the base defense, and edge-rusher in the nickel defense. He’s a fantastic, versatile player.
Round 2, pick 4: Juan Thornhill, FS, Virginia.
The 49ers set a record last season by intercepting only two passes — a new single-season low for an NFL defense. The 49ers also ranked last in pass breakups. Which means secondary is the weakest position group on the 49ers. They need players who have a history of breaking up and intercepting passes. Thornhill intercepted 13 passes and broke up 26 the past three seasons. He has great instincts, terrific hands and experience playing cornerback, which is good for a free safety in the 49ers’ defensive scheme.
Round 3, pick 3: Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt.
Williams is better right now than Ahkello Witherspoon, who has intercepted just five passes since high school. Williams intercepted four passes just last season. He also recorded 13 pass breakups. And he was just a junior. He’s improving. Plus, he’s just as productive and athletic as the top corners in this draft, and he’s 6’4″. He’s the second coming of Brandon Browner. And he would be the fourth variation of the name “Juan” on the 49ers defense, along with Juan Thornhill, K’Waun Williams and Kwon Alexander. You never can have too many players whose names rhyme with Juan, as I always say.
Round 4, pick 2: Gary Jennings Jr., WR, West Virginia.
The 49ers need a possession receiver to play flanker and replace Pierre Garcon. Jennings can be a possession receiver — he caught 75 percent of his targets and 54 percent of his contested targets last season. He’s also a big-play threat — he averaged 17 yards per catch in 2018 and ran a 4.42 at the Combine. He is one the most well-rounded receivers in the draft. No idea why draft pundits aren’t higher on him.
Round 6, pick 3: Malik Wilson, WR/KR, North Carolina A&T.
This is my draft sleeper. You probably haven’t heard of him, but the NFL has — scouts from 13 teams were at his Pro Day. Wilson is an electric player who is similar to Tyreek Hill, Tarik Cohen and De’Anthony Thomas. In college last season, Wilson returned four kickoffs for touchdowns. He can return kicks and run jet sweeps right away, and develop as a receiver. He runs a 4.3.
Round 6, pick 39: Paul Adams, OT, Missouri.
The 49ers need someone to compete with Shon Coleman for the swing-tackle job, and potentially replace Joe Staley in the starting lineup in 2020. Adams is a good candidate — he started 38 games at right tackle in the SEC. He is a developmental tackle prospect who needs to get stronger. The 49ers also need a punter and possibly a kicker, but I would rather sign those players than draft them.