There was a toss-up in Round 2, with the 49ers either going wide receiver or finding another stud linebacker to pair with the 2018 rookie, Fred Warner.
Given the problems the Niners had at both positions, it’s a tough choice. Yet one might bank on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s 2019 return from an ACL injury as a huge boost to the receiving corps, making the defense a slightly bigger priority.
Right now, Warner is the only bona fide starter at his position heading into the upcoming season. Fellow linebacker Elijah Lee, who played well enough in limited roles last season, is probably best suited to backup and special teams duties. Veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith has largely disappointed the last two seasons and may be a cap casualty between now and Week 1.
Attrition has hurt this position. Even if players return healthy, the Niners need someone to pair with Warner — an approach San Francisco thought it had with former linebacker Reuben Foster, who was let go back in November.
Instead, the 49ers use their second pick on another linebacker from Alabama, Mack Wilson.
One could argue the 6-foot-2, 239-pound Wilson is the NFL Draft’s second best linebacker behind LSU’s Devin White. It’s not a stretch. He’s excellent in coverage and could be that rangy coverage guy along the strong side (SAM) or act as a prime defensive playmaker at the weak-side (WILL) spot.