2016 NFL Draft: 5 Best Options for San Francisco 49ers in Round 1
By Jerod Brown
Carson Wentz- Quarterback- North Dakota State
At the top of the 49ers board should be Carson Wentz, the quarterback for the North Dakota State Bisons. As it stands, Goff is the better quarterback and will be chosen first. Whether the team is the 49ers or another, Goff is almost surely the first quarterback gone.
Wentz, however, may be the best value as the 49ers search for a new leader under center.
Throughout his time as the Bison’s quarterback, Wentz demonstrated strong leadership to pair with an accurate arm and quick release. With the right support system, Wentz will develop into a quality NFL quarterback.
Wentz should be available later in the first round and may allow Baalke an opportunity to trade out of the top 10 to get two picks and target multiple impact players on the first day. The 49ers turnaround occured in a similar manner when the team drafted both Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Wentz suffered a broken wrist early this season but returned to play in his team’s FCS Championship game on Saturday.
Wentz was impressive in the game and his name got hot quickly. Daniel Jeremiah was quick to cool the notion that Wentz is suddenly rising up boards.
Jon Ledyard of USA Today Sports recently published his report on the little-known quarterback that could be the hottest name in April.
Ledyard lists qualities that will have NFL teams drooling over the Bison come April and teams will have an opportunity to see him even sooner at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. After sitting out most of the season, scouts will be happy to see Wentz compete against top competition at the end of the month.
Blaine Gabbert is already on the roster and is the incumbent for the 49ers quarterback position throughout the offseason. Regardless of what quarterback the team selects, he will be sitting to begin the season. If Baalke is able to lure a strong coaching staff to Santa Clara, the 49ers can take Wentz later than Goff and pair him with strong teachers in preparation for future success.
For a team like the 49ers, dealing with multiple positions that need improvement, trading out of the top 10 to secure multiple picks early could be the key to a quick turnaround in 2016.
Baalke is in a rare position of owning a valuable pick while also not having one glaring weakness above any other. The 49ers can choose to target a specific player or may be able to play the board and move around to select a couple of players to introduce in 2016.
The scouting department will have plenty of time to evaluate prospects. With the Senior Bowl at the end of the month, the 49ers can begin to solidify their targets for the first round in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Fans can expect many names to be floated as options for the 49ers picking in the top 10 but Baalke’s vision is almost surely narrowed in on a few players by now. The process of evaluating the incoming rookies is slowing down as teams are working to verify information with coaches.
If a player is expected to go anywhere in the top 15 picks, there’s an excellent chance that the 49ers are well-versed in the player’s abilities. Baalke may have his pick in mind already. If the 49ers are expected to improve in 2016 it’ll need to be an immediate impact maker.
Whether they draft an edge defender, hard-hitting linebacker, stud receiver or franchise quarterback, Baalke and his staff must hit a home run on the first selection of 2016.
Next: 49ers Top 5 Positions Needing Improvement in 2016
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN.com unless otherwise indicated.