Round 1, Pick 9: Roquan Smith – LB – Georgia
If you’ve watched any of my appearances on the podcasts or if you’ve even glanced at my twitter you know that I am all aboard the train for drafting Roquan Smith. Smith is a special player with all kinds of talents including an elite speed that gets him from sideline to sideline very quickly, I dare a running back to race Roquan to the edge. His fluidity allows him to be a great coverage linebacker as well.
Roquan Smith has rare coverage skills for a linebacker. That's never been more important in the NFL. TV angle doesn't do this play justice, but it's elite-level coverage: pic.twitter.com/i4AitFDEMP
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) March 25, 2018
Roquan Smith plays with raw instincts and the football IQ to read the plays, shed the blocks, and get to the play. He has no problem going head up to tackle despite the fears that he is undersized. I don’t believe these fears though at 6’1, 236 lbs he is bigger than Reuben Foster, who did just fine last year. Roquan Smith is also praised as a team leader which this linebacker core and defense as a whole could use.
Round 2, Pick 59: Frank Ragnow – C – Arkansas
The interior lineman talk has been dominated by Quenton Nelson and rightfully so, but Frank Ragnow should not be forgotten. With a 99.6 pass-blocking efficiency according to PFF, Ragnow has elite potential in pass blocking. Ragnow is not the player to overpower his opponent but he sure won’t let them by him. Many may be wondering why draft a Center after signing Weston Richburg, but Richburg has an injury history and both Richburg and Ragnow have starting experience at guard as well. What Ragnow lacks in his athleticism he makes up for in grit and football IQ. If Joshua Garnett can realise his potential, I would love to see these two guys working together on the front line
Round 3, Pick 70: Dante Pettis – WR – Washington
With great route running, explosiveness, impressive height, and phenomenal hands Dante Pettis is a great candidate for the 49ers to improve their receiver core. Throughout all the tape I have watched I have failed to truly see a route type that Pettis is sub par on. Questions on Pettis as a prospect include physicality when facing higher level corners. Kyle Shanahan would love the versatility of the ball catcher as well as the superb talents he brings as a punt returner. Pettis was one of the player that was brought in for a pre-draft visit and I would love to see how he fits in the system.
Round 3, Pick 74 Josh Sweat – Edge – Florida State
Once you leave the first round, Josh Sweat is my favorite edge rusher on the board. Injury played a big part in his FSU career not reaching the expected heights it looked destined to reach when Sweat was recruited, but more importantly, FSU used him incorrectly. Sweat was criminally misused on this defense as a head up player on the tackle and determine his responsibilities based on his movements. His role as a 49er would be very different from this, and play far more to Sweat’s strengths. Sweat would work well as a LEO in our system and I believe with the right coaching his true rushing potential could be unlocked. Now the massive fear with Josh Sweat is lots of injury concern. If things clear out his ceiling is high, as he possesses elite athleticism and powerful hands.
Round 4, Pick 128: Kevin Toliver II – CB – LSU
When scouts were asked about Toliver they made it clear that you’re getting on high level player but you will also be getting a high level attitude to match it. With a veteran presence like Richard Sherman in the locker room hopefully he could teach Toliver to hone that attitude to be a dog on the field and a good teammate off it. Like many players to come from LSU, his technique is excellent and he has the size to carry over to the next level. It is notable that Toliver started at LSU as a freshman – the skill is there but can he fix what is not? He is a prototypical corner but are the question marks too much to look past.
Round 5, Pick 143 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Edge – Oklahoma
Okoronkwo could be another late round attempt to find an edge rusher. At 6’2 with 33 3/4” arms he lacks the size to be considered a premier edge player. He is definitely more cut out to be in the 4-3 defense that we run where he would play defensive end. That is where he played in college at Oklahoma and it suited him as he was a big part in that defense. While this player struggles with some shortcomings in his fundamentals as well as his size, when watching his tape it is very easy to see that when push comes to shove, Okoronkwo kicks into another gear and can be a force as a rusher. If he could harness that into every play at the next level, fundamentals can be fixed and he could be a force to deal with coming off the edge.
Round 6, Pick 184: Allen Lazard – WR – Iowa State
Allen Lazard has been one of my late round draft crushes since the beginning of the draft. Last season we had all the short shifty guys in the world but one thing we lacked in our receiving game was height. Lazard knows how to use his height to his advantage and he could help us out a lot in the red zone where we struggled. The reason Lazard has such a low stock is he is sub par in speed and route running but as a 6th round snag I would love to take a chance on this guy. While George Kittle and CJ Beathard may not be too thrilled at first to welcome someone form their rival University, once they see his playmaking ability they should welcome this big receiver with open arms.
Round 7, Pick 223: Brett Toth – OT – Army
We’ve all seen the mock drafts giving us McGlinchey, indicating the 49ers might be looking for a Joe Staley successor or someone to replace Trent Brown (who is in a contract year), but there is also a need for an additional depth piece at the position who has the potential to develop into something more. What I loved most from Toth is his athleticism and ability to get to whoever he needs to block at whatever level. He is nowhere near the size he needs to be to be even an NFL backup, but that is something that can be fixed in with some lifting. It is possible that Toth serves two years in the Army and he has stated that he would do that before his NFL career. I respect Brett’s decision and I thank him for his service, and that is a reason for his low draft stock. That being said I would not mind taking this chance on Toth for his potential.
Round 7 Pick 22: J.K. Scott – P – Alabama
I know everyone loves seeing punters in mock drafts, its so exciting. But it is obvious after the recent signing of Jeff Locke that the 49ers are not happy with Bradley Pinion. Since they are still looking for a solution this could be the guy. J.K. Scott handled punting and kickoff duties at Alabama and averaged almost 46 yards per punt. Rumor has it Scott won’t fall this far but when I saw him still on the board I knew I had to make the snag. Scott would be a fine addition to the team who could create competition for the position and help us get a long term answer.
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