2016 NFL Draft: Way Too Early Mock for San Francisco 49ers, Version 1.0B

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Oct 31, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith (9) leaves the field after Notre Dame defeated the Temple Owls 24-20 at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Round 1: Own Pick

Selection: ILB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame


The 49ers’ Week 14 loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns revealed one major thing: San Francisco needs surefire tacklers who can bring ball-carriers down at the point of attack.

And they also need help up the middle alongside inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is that tackling machine, and his 114 total tackles in 2015 is a perfect indication of this.

Check out what Ryan Sakamoto of NinerFans.com said about why San Francisco should target the talented linebacker:

"No linebacker in the country has the range, speed, and natural instincts to run sideline-to-sideline like Smith. A true football player in every sense of the word — Smith would instantly become a dominant force in the middle of the 49ers defense. “He’s definitely a top 10 pick,” said NT Ian Williams. No offense to ILB Michael Wilhoite, but he’s a huge liability in pass-protection while bringing a non-existent pass-rush (no sacks in four-year career). That’s why Smith makes sense not only from a need based perspective but from selecting the best overall player. It’s a win-win situation where need meets BPA."

Smith would solidify and upgrade the middle of the 49ers defense — an area that used to be strong when Bowman and retired linebacker Patrick Willis once patrolled the front seven.

Next: Round 2