5 draft prospects 49ers trade back into Round 1 for

Reggie Roberson Jr. #8 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs against Trevon Moehrig #7 of the TCU Horned Frogs (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Reggie Roberson Jr. #8 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs against Trevon Moehrig #7 of the TCU Horned Frogs (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Jaycee Horn, South Carolina Gamecocks, SF 49ers
South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Jaycee Horn (7) with defensive back Jaylan Foster (47) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers hold the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but these five prospects may prompt them to move back into Round 1.

In a roundabout way, the San Francisco 49ers are currently trying to make up for their mistakes in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Back in 2017, the Niners also engineered their way to the No. 3 overall pick, although that year saw a draft-day trade involving the movement of just one spot, whereas the 2021 edition featured general manager John Lynch moving up from No. 12 overall.

In 2017, San Francisco passed on a quarterback and selected a defensive end, Solomon Thomas, who never came close to meeting expectations. The 49ers won’t pass on a quarterback in 2021.

There’s another potential parallel, however.

The Niners traded back into Round 1 back in 2017 to land linebacker Reuben Foster at No. 31 overall in that year’s draft. And while Foster also flamed out not long after being selected by San Francisco, it’s important to acknowledge Lynch and Co. being more than willing to act aggressively.

It might be a bit more difficult this time around, as the 49ers would have to move up from the No. 43 overall pick to the tail and of the first round.

That said, one of these five prospects expected to be available late on day one of the draft could convince the Niners to make the move into the back end of Round 1.

850. . Cornerback. Gamecocks . Jaycee Horn. 5. player

49ers Trade-Up Target No. 5: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

There’s an awfully good chance South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn winds up going in the first half of Round 1, all but eliminating any hopes he’d fall to San Francisco via a would-be trade-up back into the first round.

Horn is essentially neck and neck alongside Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II to be the top corner selected on draft day, and whichever player goes first is going to be contingent on the drafting team’s priorities and preference.

The 49ers do have long-term cornerback needs, particularly with Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams back on one-year deals only, and getting someone who could contribute that way now would be excellent.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Horn can do it all. As far as a shutdown corner eliminating pass attempts to his side of the field, he’s got that. Press-man coverage? Horn has that ability, too. And with some minor technique refinement, he should be an excellent fit in zone coverage.

Horn probably wouldn’t fall back into the late 20s or even early 30s. But if he somehow did, and even Round 1 can see fallers, the Niners may be more than happy to jump up and grab him.