SF 49ers NFL Draft: 5 players who impressed most during CFB Playoff

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Najee Harris, Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22) against Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade (24) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The SF 49ers payed close attention to the 2021 CFB Playoff championship game, and these five players from Alabama and Ohio State impressed.

There’s a good chance the SF 49ers will select players from Alabama or Ohio State in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

Perhaps as early as Round 1 where the Niners currently own the No. 12 overall pick.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were able to add the last bit of film available for all eligible prospects from both schools participating in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship game, which went Alabama’s way early and often by the score of 52-24.

The bout featured two starting quarterbacks who could potentially be selected in the first round, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Alabama’s Mac Jones.

While San Francisco could easily land a quarterback, perhaps one of those two names, there were other players who impressed enough to earn some significant SF 49ers consideration, perhaps at some point in Round 1 or later in the draft with one of the Niners’ other picks.

Here are five players from Monday night’s championship who should have impressed San Francisco the most.

 

SF 49ers Draft Target No. 5: Running Back Najee Harris, Alabama

5

Najee Harris

Running Back, Crimson Tide

Alabama running back Najee Harris certainly has first-round talent, although the recent NFL trend of not placing too much emphasis on tailbacks in Round 1 could ultimately mean he drops into the second round.

So could Shanahan’s tendency not to spend early picks on running backs.

That said, should Harris somehow slip deeper into Round 2 because of how the first round pans out, it wouldn’t be overly shocking to see the SF 49ers spend a second-round pick on the talented rusher who opened up scoring in the CFB Playoff championship with a key fourth-down touchdown from the 1-yard line.

His open-field touchdown in the second quarter was even more impressive, dodging defenders with his one-cut abilities:

It’s hard not to envision that kind of dual-threat style in Shanahan’s offense.

Harris finished with 22 carries for 79 yards while adding seven catches for 79 yards through the air plus three total touchdowns — a net total of 158 all-purpose yards. There were multiple times where Ohio State appeared to have Harris bottled up, only to see him work his way through for positive yards. His combination of strength, elusiveness and breakaway speed could be attractive to Shanahan.

Especially if he elects to draft and develop a true bell cow-type running back to eventually replace rushers like Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.

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