Perfect Picks: San Francisco 49ers

With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.

We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper. 

The 49ers could use a multitude of excuses for their backstep in 2020. A hangover from a failed Super Bowl appearance. An injury crisis that decimated the starting roster. However their aggressiveness in trading up into the first three picks in this year’s draft suggest their primary concern is at the Quarterback position.

Their draft will likely be defined by who they select in the first round. That said, John Lynch will have to find starters and contributors throughout the draft if he is to get back into contention in the NFC. Here we offer a blueprint for how he could do exactly that.

Round 1 - Pick 3 - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

The trade that took San Francisco from 12th overall to 3rd overall has been the key talking point of the draft cycle to date. It confirmed the 49ers are seeking to find a replacement for Jimmy Garoppolo. They believe their answer is one of the main QB’s outside of Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. The early leader appeared to be Mac Jones. His intelligence on the field and accuracy, seemingly a good fit for Shanahan and co. Since then, his lead has narrowed and both Justin Fields and Trey Lance remain in contention.

For me, the best selection would be Justin Fields. His combination of electric athleticism and elite arm talent make him the prototype modern offenses search for. He showed weakness against lesser opposition this year but showed great resolve and strength vs Clemson and even in the Championship loss to Alabama. Shanahan knows the importance of mismatch football and Fields’ ability as runner and passer make him a tricky player to defend against. It’s difficult to see an offensive mind like Shanahan not loving the upside of Fields.

Round 2 - Pick 43 - Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State

There are plenty of question marks at the cornerback spot for the 49ers since the departure of Richard Sherman. K’Waun Williams and Dontae Johnson will need big seasons as they hit free agency in the subsequent offseason. Jason Verrett is a projected starter but he also only has a year left on his deal. Verrett is yet to prove he can stay healthy long enough to show the clear talent he has. The old adage of the best ability is availability is particularly relevant to Verrett. 

One player who compares to Verrett is Asante Samuel Jr. The Florida State corner with NFL bloodlines is also undersized but it didn’t hinder his ability to play on the outside in college.

While it could be more detrimental at the next level, his speed and stickiness mean he should be able to overcome any lack of physicality. He added a ball hawking ability in 2020 with three picks and would immediately bolster the 49ers corner group. Samuel should be an elite nickel corner at worst in the NFL.

Mid Round Gem - Pick 117 - Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

The 49ers have two dynamic receiving threats in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Outside of that pair they use a lot of different personnel with varied traits. Richie James and Jalen Hurd will likely compete for the slot role but the versatility of the offense dictates that the 49ers will always be looking to add game changing athletes at the position.

Tutu Atwell fits that description to a tee. Atwell is 5’8 but has speed to burn. He played the majority of his snaps from the slot but his acceleration and elusiveness means that he comes up with huge, chunk plays deep down the field. NFL teams will rightly be concerned about his tiny frame holding up in the pros but his playmaking ability could persuade the 49ers to add him as a gadget, chess piece player.

Late Round Sleeper - Pick 194 - Demetric Felton, RB/WR, UCLA

We have the 49ers heading in the same direction with this pick. They have been able to get success from plugging in different running backs where needed. As long as they are versatile and solid in the passing game the personnel seems interchangeable. Raheem Mostert and Jeffery Wilson project to share the role for now but with neither signed long-term, adding a developmental piece seems likely.

In Demetric Felton they get the best of both worlds. Felton split his time at UCLA as both a wide receiver and running back. He projects well as a receiving back and has enough wiggle to get yards on the ground. The real benefit with Felton is his pass catching ability, perfectly demonstrated at the Senior Bowl. Felton showed himself as a proficient slot receiver, running sharp routes and gaining easy separation. He would be an additional arrow in Shanhan’s arsenal that is built on speed and versatility.

Draft In Full:

3. Justin Fields, Ohio State (QB)

43. Asante Samuel Jr, Florida State (CB)

102. Deonte Brown, Alabama (iOL)

117. Tutu Atwell, Louisville (WR)

155. Shaka Toney, Penn State (Edge)

172. Javian Hawkins, Louisville (RB)

180. Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan (OT)

180. Demetric Felton, UCLA (RB/WR)

230. Paris Ford, Pittsburgh (S)

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at