An exciting offseason awaits for the San Francisco 49ers.
Loaded with nine draft picks, including four in the top 75, the 49ers also have $80 million in cap space to improve their roster. Already signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year, $137 million extension, the next few months promise to be busy for general manager John Lynch and Company.
Winners of six of its last seven games with Garoppolo at quarterback, San Francisco is primed to compete in 2018. Part of taking that next step is improving defensively and adding pieces around Garoppolo on offense. The NFL Draft will be a prime opportunity to add even more talent to a young roster.
Using the FanSpeak On The Clock Mock Draft Simulator, here is one realistic scenario that would make sense for the 49ers.
Round 1, pick 9: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds is the type of talent a defense can be built around. He is among the blue-chip talents in this year’s class. He’s a rare physical specimen in terms of size, athleticism and play strength.
An Edmunds-Reuben Foster pairing on the second level would be reminiscent of the Patrick Willis-NaVorro Bowman days. Edmunds would also provide another high-quality linebacker should Foster’s off-field problems continue.
Round 2, pick 59: Austin Corbett, G, Nevada
The 49ers’ interior offensive line is in need of upgrades. Corbett has an exciting skill set that is reminiscent of former Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, who is a star for the Browns. Corbett offers an exciting blend of mobility and strength with plug-and-play upside.
Round 3, pick 70: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma
He’s not the tallest edge defender, but more importantly, Okoronkwo checked in with 34.5-inch arms at the Senior Bowl. A twitched-up pass rusher with exceptional burst, Okoronkwo tallied 29 tackles for loss and 17 sacks across his final two seasons at Oklahoma.
The 49ers’ pass rushers are more powerful, technically oriented rushers; Okoronkwo brings a speed dynamic to complement them.
Round 3, pick 74: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
Gallup’s ability to separate, then attack the football in the air, and make plays at all levels of the field makes him an ideal fit for any scheme, whether inside or outside. His ability to make tacklers miss is attractive, and his route-running prowess should demand targets in a variety of ways. It would add a versatile weapon to the 49er offense. Gallup’s physicality, secure hands and ability to run nuanced routes should allow him to be an early contributor.
Round 4, pick 128: Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
The 49ers need to find a counterpart to pair with Ahkello Witherspoon. Meeks is arguably the most intelligent corner in the class. He blends his awareness with length and physicality to become an asset in press and zone coverage. Meeks and Witherspoon would provide the 49ers a long corner tandem.
Round 5, pick 143: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
Ballage is a multifaceted back with rare athleticism for his size. While he needs development as a between-the-tackles runner, Ballage has immense upside as a receiver and in space. He could join Matt Breida to give San Francisco a potent duo.
Round 6, pick 184: Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
Christian is a long and athletic offensive tackle with the traits to play left tackle in the NFL. While he needs to add play strength and develop tenacity, Christian is an intriguing developmental option at this point in the draft.
Round 7, pick 227: Rashad Fant, CB, Indiana
Fant is a feisty, competitive slot corner with outstanding ball production. While he is grabby and light in the trunk, he has the upside to develop into an inside corner.
Round 7, pick 240: Dominick Sanders, S, Georgia
San Francisco can use some depth on the back end. Sanders enters the NFL after four years starting in the SEC. He has good ball skills despite modest physical ability and some misreads.