Round 2, Pick No. 43 Overall: 49ers select cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
We said San Francisco would first draft Justin Fields, then support him in the later rounds of the draft. We didn’t say the 49ers would solely draft offensive players, though.
The Niners have a need at cornerback despite re-signing Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams and Emmanuel Moseley. Verrett and Williams are back solely on one-year deals, and both players have an injury history, too. And with veteran corner Richard Sherman still unsigned and probably not returning anyway, there’s still a long-term void for a boundary cornerback.
Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu has risen up draft boards steadily in recent weeks, and it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see him selected in Round 2.
The 6-foot-3, 213-pound defensive back moves exceptionally well for a player his size, considering his 4.48 40-yard time at his pro day. And while he wasn’t necessarily a massive ballhawk during his collegiate days, Melifonwu has done an exceptional job locking down his side of the field and discouraging throws there.
What could make Melifonwu an excellent add here in the second round is his fit in a zone-style system where he could keep much of the action in front of him, then use his ranginess and build to break up passes within a system designed to take advantage of his physique.