The San Francisco 49ers may look to address the secondary early in the 2020 NFL Draft, and that’s what NFL.com suggests will happen in their latest mock.
Unlike last year, when the San Francisco 49ers were essentially split between then-2019 NFL Draft prospects in EDGE Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and EDGE Josh Allen, the 2020 Niners could go one of a huge number of directions with the No. 31 overall pick in this year’s draft.
General manager John Lynch could trade down out of that spot, accruing some much-needed draft capital. It’s also a deep wide receiver class, and it wouldn’t be overly shocking to see San Francisco take advantage of it, likely to head coach Kyle Shanahan’s satisfaction.
Brooks has Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler going to the 49ers at No. 31 overall, breaking down the selection as such:
"It’s time to find an eventual successor to Richard Sherman on the island. The Mississippi State product is a perfect fit for the 49ers’ Cover 3 scheme as a long, rangy athlete with a high IQ and good ball skills."
San Francisco does need to address the secondary, both for immediate and future needs. Safety Jimmie Ward is a pending free agent, while Sherman is entering a contract year. No. 2 cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley haven’t quite cemented themselves as established starters, either.
Needless to say, this is why Niner Noise tabbed cornerback as the team’s most pressing need this offseason.
Dantzler, 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, could stand to put on some weight on his long and lanky frame. But that kind of frame is ideal for coordinator Robert Saleh’s defense, relying heavily on zone coverage. But Dantzler has shown a knack for staying with his receiver, too, which can help him adapt to some of the more complex coverage schemes the Niners would ideally like to employ.
If he can work on his play strength, Dantzler should be a solid competitor for a starter his rookie season, perhaps solidifying a role here in year two.
Many a big board and mock have Dantzler hovering around the end of Round 1 and early into Round 2, meaning it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the 49ers trade back and still land the defensive back with their first pick. Like wide receiver, the 2020 NFL Draft cornerback class is pretty deep. Not quite as prolific, but deep.
Either way, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see San Francisco take this route.
If the Niners do, it’ll take place on Thursday, April 23, 2020 when Round 1 of the draft kicks off.