49ers NFL Draft preview: Team with many needs could target top defenders
The 49ers are allowed to host 30 draft-eligible players at their team facility. Here’s the list of visitors, which likely will grow in coming weeks as those meetings are made:
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Allen (6-3, 286) was extremely disruptive in Alabama’s stellar defense, finishing the 2016 season with 18 tackles for loss and 10 1/2 sacks. He projects to left defensive end -- what the 49ers call ‘big end’ -- or defensive tackle in the 49ers’ scheme. He perhaps has better size to play on the interior than Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, but also is not overly bulky and has additional red flags because of shoulder issues. Allen is scheduled to visit April 13. Source: NFL Network
S Budda Baker, Washington
He’s undersized at 5-10, 193 pounds, but Baker has the leadership skills the 49ers seem to be seeking and is a good fit as the so-called “single-high safety” the 49ers want to use. That position must be able to cover a lot of ground and make plays on the ball. Baker, who drew comparisons to Seahawks’ safety Earl Thomas while at Washington, had two interceptions and six pass break ups last year. Source: NFL Network
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
LSU’s Leonard Fournette is considered the best running back in the draft and has been linked to the 49ers, but Cook may be the better fit. Kyle Shanahan likes runners who can catch the ball out of the backfield, and Cook had 33 receptions for 488 yards last year for the Seminoles. He also has had several surgeries and run ins with police (no convictions) since high school, which is perhaps the reason the 49ers wanted to see him in person. Source: NBC Bay Area
G/T Dion Dawkins, Temple.
At 6-4, 314 pounds with 35-inch arms, Dawkins is a powerfully built lineman who played his last two seasons at Temple at left tackle. With top-flight tackles and guards becoming scarce in the NFL, Dawkins is someone who could tempt the 49ers, perhaps in the second or third rounds. He projects to guard or right tackle in the NFL. The 49ers currently have very little depth behind starting tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. Source: The Bee.
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
He’s considered the best middle linebacker in the draft and has drawn comparisons to ex-49ers star Patrick Willis. There are negatives, however, including his size (229 pounds), recent shoulder surgery and a flap with a hospital technician at the NFL Scouting Combine that resulted in Foster being sent home early from Indianapolis. Given NaVorro Bowman’s injury history, Foster is someone the 49ers must consider with their first-round pick, especially if they end up trading back in the round. Source: ESPN.
RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo.
Hunt (5-10, 216) rushed for 1,475 yards last season with 10 touchdowns, and perhaps nearly as important on a Shanahan-coached team, he added 41 receptions for 403 yards and a touchdown. Both Shanahan and his dad, Mike, got excellent production from runners who were drafted in the middle or late rounds of the draft. Hunt is expected to be a mid-round selection. Source: ESPN
G Nico Siragusa, San Diego State
The 49ers obviously are looking at interior offensive linemen and Siragusa (6 foot 4, 319 pounds) is one of the ones on their list. A very strong run blocker with the Aztecs, Siragusa started 41 games at left guard and was a third-team AP all-American slection last year. Source: NBC Bay Area
CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The athletic Lattimore (6-0, 193) is considered the best cornerback in the draft, and unless the 49ers traded back in the first round, they would have to take him with their No. 2 overall pick. Lattimore, however, doesn’t have a lot of experience and has healthy with hamstring problems throughout college. He was an All-Big Ten selection in 2016 and had four interceptions and nine pass breakups in Ohio State’s talented secondary. Source: The NFL Network
T Cam Robinson, Alabama
The 49ers have two good starters at tackle in Joe Staley and Trent Brown, but very little depth behind them. They’d be smart to begin finding that depth and Robinson (6-2, 322) could be someone who tempts them. Robinson has rare size but he might not be as athletic as some other tackles in a draft that isn’t considered very deep at the position. Source: NFL Network
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Unlike last season, the 49ers are doing plenty of homework on quarterbacks, including on prospects like Watson, UNC’s Mitch Trubisky and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer who could be taken in the first two rounds. Watson worked out for the 49ers and Jets on March 22 and the 49ers already had a formal meeting with him at the scouting combine. Note: Watson is on the list of players to visit but a date has not yet been set. Source: The Bee.
DE-LB Jordan Willis, Kansas State
The 49ers could use help at both of their edge positions, strong-side linebacker and ‘elephant’ defensive end. Willis (6-4, 255) was one of the more athletic defensive linemen at the scouting combine and had 11 sacks last year at Kansas State. Source: The Bee
CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado
The Sacramento product has excellent size at 6-3, 198 pounds, especially for the type of press coverage the 49ers would like to play this season. They are looking for someone who can start opposite Rashard Robinson, who has a similar build. The 49ers also will host Witherspoon’s secondary mate Chidobe Awuzie because Awuzie is from San Jose and is eligible for the local pro day. Source: Witherspoon’s Instagram account.