Seven potential targets for 49ers with No. 2 pick in NFL Draft
Who are Shanahan and Lynch targeting?
The NFL Draft figures to get interesting right around the time the 49ers go on the clock with the No. 2 overall pick on Thursday, April 27.
The 49ers are “open for business” to trade the second pick in the draft, according to general manager John Lynch. And that would appear to be the organization’s preferred route. But in order for the 49ers to bail out of that spot, they must find a team equally eager to move up.
Here’s a look at the top options to be selected with the second pick in the draft:
DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
If the Cleveland Browns go with a quarterback with the top selection, all of a sudden, the 49ers would not be nearly as determined to trade out of the No. 2 spot. After all, there is one clear top player in this draft and, then, about a dozen players that could be next in line.
The 49ers’ biggest game-changing need is at pass rusher, where the organization needs a dominant defensive presence. Garrett (6 foot 4 ½, 272 pounds) would be a perfect fit for coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme.
The 49ers need someone for the Leo position. Aaron Lynch has tremendous potential, but he has to prove to the new regime he is somebody in which the 49ers can trust.
QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
The 49ers would love to see Trubisky as the No. 2 overall selection. Why? Because that means they have managed to trade out of this spot. Trubisky is expected to be the top quarterback selected – and he is believed to be the best fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense – but it is doubtful the 49ers would invest the No. 2 overall pick in him.
If the Browns really are conducting internal debates about whether to select Garrett or Trubisky with the top selection, the 49ers could parlay this selection into multiple picks to enable Cleveland to move up from No. 12 overall to get both players.
The 49ers will draft a quarterback at some point to join Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. The team has been public with their interest in Trubisky, Deshaun Watson (Clemson), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and Davis Webb (Cal). But one player who might be a better fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense -- in a later round -- is Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh).
DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
The 49ers have chosen defensive linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner with the organization’s first pick in the past two drafts. But nothing former general manager Trent Baalke did in the past figures to have any impact on what John Lynch chooses to do in his first draft.
Thomas (6-2 5/8, 273) is versatile enough to play nearly anywhere along the defensive line. Is a perfect fit for the 49ers’ Leo position? Probably not. Could he play the position and be better than anyone the 49ers currently have in that role? Probably.
Jonathan Allen (Alabama) visited the 49ers. He is definitely more of an interior player. If the 49ers trade down, the best edge-rushers behind Garrett -- Charles Harris (Missouri), Derek Barnett (Tennessee) and Taco Charlton (Michigan) – become in-play.
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Foster is one of the best players in this draft. He was a wrecking ball during his college career, which he capped with 115 tackles, five sacks and the honor of being named as the Dick Butkus Award winner.
Foster (6-0, 229) was among the 49ers’ first visits to Santa Clara. He is rehabbing a shoulder injury, but his agent said he is ahead of schedule and will be ready for training camp.
The second overall pick might be too high for an inside linebacker – even one as dominant as Foster – but if the 49ers were to trade down, he could rise to the top of their targets.
S Jamal Adams, LSU
Adams recently visited the 49ers, the NFL Network reported. He is tough and smart, but probably a better fit as a box safety – the position where the 49ers envision Eric Reid as a starter this season.
Malik Hooker (Ohio State) is more instinctive in the passing game, but his inexperience as he continues to learn the game could lead to some problems in coverage. Hooker is a better fit for free safety, where Jimmie Ward will get a look during the 49ers’ offseason program.
In a draft that includes a lot of intriguing prospects at safety, it seems the 49ers’ best course of action is to focus on another position early in the draft because there will be plenty of options at safety throughout.
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
Fournette paid a visit to Santa Clara to meet with 49ers officials and coaches, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. Fournette figures to be the first running back off the board in the draft.
But family history indicates that there is no need to select a running back so early. Mike Shanahan had great success with under-the-radar running backs, and so has his son, Kyle. After all, the Atlanta Falcons last season got nearly 2,500 yards in total offense from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who were chosen in the fourth and third rounds.
And during his successful run as Broncos coach, Mike Shanahan spent late-round draft picks to acquire Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, as well as 1,000-yard rushers Mike Anderson and Olandis Gary.
CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Just prior to the start of the 49ers’ offseason program, the team released starting cornerback Tramaine Brock due to his arrest in connection with a domestic incident. Cornerback moved up a notch on the list of team needs.
Lattimore (6-0, 193) has visited the 49ers. He has good size and ran a blazing 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. But, much like the safety position, there are a lot of good corners to be found in this draft.
Kevin King (6-3, 200) of Washington and Chidobe Awuzie (6-0, 202) of Colorado are Bay Area prospects who were scheduled to visit the 49ers this week. Both have the kind of size the 49ers desire from this position.