Offensive Tackle, Cardinals
Most people expect the 49ers to take a wide receiver with the 13th overall pick. However, that is nowhere near enough to the edge of the box for this mock draft. Luckily, a run on wide receiver let one of this year’s elite offensive tackles to fall to San Francisco, Mekhi Becton of the Louisville Cardinals.
This pick may not actually be thought of as too far out-of-the-box, especially after 49ers general manager John Lynch was spotted scouting Becton from his home office, but really, the Niners taking anything but a wide receiver or defensive tackle here would be shocking, making this the perfect “edge-of-the-box” pick.
The Niners taking an offensive tackle in the first round makes a lot of sense. The 49ers offensive line was one of the better ones in football last year, and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense needs an elite offensive line. The Niners won in the trenches last year, so it makes sense that they would want to lock up an elite offensive tackle prospect.
It especially makes sense in light of some recent news from NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco that he thinks there is only a 50-50 chance left tackle Joe Staley returns next season, and that the 49ers are operating under the assumption that Staley will not return.
Staley is one of the best offensive tackles in the league and was an anchor this past season. If he was to leave, the 49ers would be at a significant loss next season. Although tackle Justin Skule performed admirably last season when Staley was injured, he is not the long-term future for the Niners at the position. Perhaps right tackle Mike McGlinchey could shift over to left tackle, but the Niners would still need to reload at the offensive tackle position.
Becton is one of the most intriguing prospects seen at offensive tackle in recent years. At 6-foot-7 and 364 pounds, he is a giant among a position of giants. Simply put, the man is humungous. At Louisville, he played both left and right tackle and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy last season, which goes to the most outstanding blocker in the ACC.
Becton has all the natural ability one could dream of at the left tackle position. He’s light on his feet and uses his size to crush opposing defenders. However, he is unpolished and would likely need time to develop his potential.
That is what makes him the perfect pick for the Niners. If Staley is out, Becton can produce from day one and learn by doing. If Staley stays, then Becton has a chance to learn from one of the NFL’s best.
Either way, Becton’s potential makes him a great option for the Niners if they decide to take an offensive tackle and he falls to No. 13, as he did in this mock draft.