SF 49ers NFL Draft: 5 prospects to watch in 2021 CFB Playoff

The Ohio State Buckeyes against the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Ohio State Buckeyes against the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Patrick Surtain II, Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

SF 49ers NFL Draft Target No. 2: Cornerback Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

2. player. 829. . Cornerback. Crimson Tide . Patrick Surtain II

The battle for the No. 1 cornerback to be selected in this year’s NFL Draft will come down to one of two players: Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II.

Surtain already drew some praise from Niner Noise’s Jeremy Wohlfart earlier, and he did so for all the right reasons. Just by looking at Surtain’s 6-foot-2, 202-pound frame, it’s impossible to ignore the ideal fit as a boundary corner. Surtain is long, lanky and possesses all the traits to be effective in both man- and zone-style schemes.

While Surtain doesn’t figure to be the fastest defensive back in this year’s NFL Draft, he plays with a level of IQ not unlike a veteran corner San Francisco will likely lose in free agency this offseason, Richard Sherman, who has many of the same traits.

Speaking of losing players, the SF 49ers could end up bidding farewell to pending free agents like Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jason Verrett, Dontae Johnson and K’Waun Williams this offseason.

Yes, many have pegged the Niners going after a quarterback first in this year’s draft. But considering the likely major shakeups within the secondary, targeting a cornerback early wouldn’t be a surprise at all.

Surtain could ensure he winds up being San Francisco’s top pick this April if he winds up having an impressive final performance on college football’s biggest stage.