San Francisco 49ers

49ers mock drafts: Why you can expect a pass rusher to be taken with the No. 2 pick

These are the three biggest needs the 49ers should address in the 2019 NFL Draft

Chris Biderman breaks down the 49ers’ three biggest needs they should address in the 2019 NFL Draft.
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Chris Biderman breaks down the 49ers’ three biggest needs they should address in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Two years ago, the 49ers entered the NFL Draft with the No. 2 pick. They traded down one spot and acquired three other picks in the process.

San Francisco has the second pick again this year. Will they look to move down again in a bid to acquire more choices in this and/or future drafts? They have a week to decide.

Assuming the 49ers stand pat, they’re expected to select a player to help boost their pass rush, even after a trade last month which brought in Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs.

The overwhelming favorite remains the same and is expected to be on the board, as the heavily presumed No. 1 pick will be a quarterback.

So who will the 49ers choose when the 2019 NFL Draft kicks off April 25 in Nashville, Tenn.? Here’s a sampling of what analysts are predicting:

ESPN+

Updated April 10

Longtime NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. predicts the 49ers will take Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, a player Kiper has mentioned in recent mocks.

According to his draft profile on NFL.com, Bosa is a “high-motor defensive end prospect possessing NFL play strength on a well-muscled, compact frame. ... His lack of fluidity in space could prevent him from becoming an elite rusher, but he understands how to play and should become an early starter and future Pro Bowler.”

Kiper: “Bosa is my top-ranked prospect, and he’s almost certainly going to go in the top two picks. Will it be to the 49ers? That’s not as clear. This is a prime spot for a team to trade up, and the 49ers can pick up extra assets by moving down. ... If San Francisco keeps this pick, Bosa is the pass-rusher to target.”

NFL.com

Updated April 16

The league’s official website provides mock drafts from multiple analysts. The latest to check in is Daniel Jeremiah, who is also putting the 49ers on Bosa.

Jeremiah: “There’s a lot of talk about Quinnen Williams going to San Francisco with this pick. I don’t think the Niners could go wrong with either him or Bosa.”

CBS Sports

Updated April 16

Like NFL.com, CBS Sports also offers mocks from multiple analysts. The most recent offering comes from Ryan Wilson, who has San Francisco taking Bosa.

Wilson: “This is the best-case scenario for the 49ers, who desperately need a pass rusher and get the best one in this class. Bosa is a game-changer from Day 1.”

Sports Illustrated

Updated April 17

Jenny Vrentas jokes that her latest post is “Mock Draft version 5,629,383,” though it’s listed as No. 11. Getting back to serious business, she also likes Bosa to wear red and gold.

Vrentas: “I get the sense that many around the league see Bosa and Alabama DT Quinnen Williams as in their own tier, a smidge above the rest of the class. Bosa makes a lot of sense for the Niners, adding him to a defensive front with first-rounders DeForest Buckner (2016) and Solomon Thomas (2017) on the interior, and new addition Dee Ford on the opposite edge.”

Draft Wire

Updated April 17

Luke Easterling makes it five for the first five with Bosa going to the 49ers.

Easterling: “The 49ers have to be hoping with all their might that the division-rival Cardinals leave Bosa on the board for them here. A complete prospect who can get after opposing quarterbacks in multiple ways, Bosa is exactly what San Francisco’s defensive front is missing. Widely regarded as the best overall prospect in this draft, Bosa would be a steal anywhere after the No. 1 pick.”

U-T San Diego

Updated April 17

Draft analyst Eddie Brown isn’t selecting Bosa for the 49ers – because he has him going No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. Brown pegs Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams as San Francisco’s pick.

According to his draft profile on NFL.com, “Williams is an instant starter with Pro Bowl potential. ... His play strength is good, but his lack of mass and length will show up at times against NFL competition.”

Brown: “Is this where a team trades up for Murray? If not, they either find a sidekick for DeForest Buckner or his future replacement. The 21-year-old was a revelation this season and put together an impressive performance in Indy — his 4.83 40-yard dash was the fourth fastest by a 300-pounder since 2003, according to NFL.com.”

Walter Football

Updated April 17

Walter Cherepinsky is known in NFL mock draft circles for his frequent updates to his site. In his latest post, he picks Bosa as the 49ers’ choice.

Cherepinsky: “The 49ers are currently deciding between Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams. ... Bosa has a tremendous skill set, and he was off to a great start in 2018 before injuring his knee. He’s a top-three lock unless some Laremy Tunsil-esque news breaks about him.”

The Ringer

Updated April 15

Danny Kelly’s fifth-version mock provides more commentary than past posts. He has Williams going to San Francisco.

Kelly: “Bosa has been my pick at this spot over the past couple months, but there’s a very real chance that Williams is the highest-graded player on the Niners’ board. Plus, when San Francisco patched their need at edge rusher by trading for and extending Dee Ford last month, it gave the team the freedom to go with the Best Player Available model instead of drafting for need. Williams is a dominant interior rusher, capable of collapsing the pocket or getting to the quarterback with a combination of speed, power and technique. Pairing him with DeForest Bucker would likely create one of the best interior defensive lines in the NFL.”

Bleacher Report

Updated April 17

Chris Roling, the managing editor for The Bengals Wire and a contributor for Bleacher Report, only gives detailed analysis on three players – including Folsom High graduate Jonah Williams, who he has going ninth to the Buffalo Bills.

For the 49ers, he has Kentucky edge Josh Allen as the 49ers’ choice.

According to NFL.com, Allen is a “true hybrid linebacker with elite physical traits who has the ability to float between coverage and pass rush duties. ... He’s fine-tuned a couple of go-to rush moves but will need to continue to diversify his rush portfolio as a pro.”

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.
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