SF 49ers mock NFL Draft: Constructing the ideal 2021 rookie class

Commissioner Roger Goodell names a pick by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 NFL Draft (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Commissioner Roger Goodell names a pick by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 NFL Draft (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Paulson Adebo, Stanford Cardinal
Paulson Adebo #11 of the Stanford Cardinal (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images) /

871. . Cornerback. Cardinal . Paulson Adebo. 31. player

SF 49ers Round 1, Pick No. 31 Overall: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

The situation with the Pac-12 in 2020 is interesting enough, meaning players from this conference might not have the same pedigree or status in the NFL draft in 2021 given the pandemic.

But Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo probably didn’t need another year within the college ranks to prove his worth as a potential first-round pick, especially someone San Francisco would be interested in anyway.

For starters, there’s the alma mater connection between Adebo and John Lynch, so one shouldn’t overlook that. Yet what makes Adebo a top target for the SF 49ers next year is his frame and play style. At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, the long and lanky Adebo appears to be a seamless fit for what coordinator Robert Saleh prefers in his boundary cornerbacks. On top of that, Adebo has already flashed some ballhawking traits, picking up four interceptions apiece in each of his previous two seasons.

Paulson Adebo Defense & Fumbles Table
Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2018 Stanford Pac-12 SO CB 13 46 18 64 5.0 0.0 4 45 11.3 0 17 0 1
2019 Stanford Pac-12 JR CB 9 23 10 33 0.0 0.0 4 4 1.0 0 10 0 0
2020 Stanford Pac-12 SR CB
Career Stanford 69 28 97 5.0 0.0 8 49 6.1 0 27 0 1

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2020.

Adebo is pegged as a better fit in zone schemes, which also boosts San Francisco’s interest.

And it isn’t as if the 49ers should avoid a defensive back early, particularly with Richard Sherman possibly leaving during the offseason and the Niners not exactly having a plethora of up-and-coming outside cornerbacks buried deep on the roster.

While young defensive backs often struggle in their transition to the pro ranks, San Francisco’s still-elite defense and reliance upon a zone system should help Adebo acclimate much more easily.