4 best-case scenarios for 49ers in 2021 NFL Draft

Nico Collins #4 of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Nico Collins #4 of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse Orange
Ifeatu Melifonwu #23 of the Syracuse Orange (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

No. 3: 49ers figure out how to land Ifeatu Melifonwu

Despite re-signing boundary cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley, the 49ers should still use at least one pick to find a long-term replacement. Particularly with Verrett back on only a one-year deal and Moseley’s back-and-forth status in the starting lineup.

While both Verrett and Moseley don’t fit the Niners’ traditional mold of big-bodied outside corners, it would be easy to revert back to that trend and target Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, preferably with their compensatory pick at the back end of Round 3.

That’ll be a tough hope, though, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see San Francisco attempt a trade-up to get into a better position to land the 6-foot-3, 205-pound defensive back who has the following NFL-level traits, according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:

"Melifonwu has the size and toughness of a starting safety but it’s wrapped in an elite package of traits that makes him a very intriguing press-corner prospect. Tape can be a tale of two coverages. His length, strength and athleticism help him blanket and smother targets underneath when he’s tighter to receivers off the snap."

Melifonwu should be able to thrive in a zone-style system, and the 49ers run such a scheme, so that’s a plus. The only concern, however, is Melifonwu could easily be a second-round pick with only a slight chance of slipping into the back end of Round 3.

Even if a trade from the tail end of the round with Melifonwu as the target would be an excellent grab from the Niners’ vantage point.