49ers NFL Draft: 5 best players to target in Round 2
By Peter Panacy
49ers Round 2 Target No. 1: Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
While the Niners could invest in a pass-rusher or wide receiver in Round 2, and neither would be surprising at all, the sheer volume need for defensive backs almost pushes prospect targets for the secondary a smidge higher than the others.
By trading up to No. 3 overall, San Francisco essentially bid farewell to chances of landing cornerbacks like Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II or South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. And while corners like Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley or Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II are dark-horse candidates to fall to the 49ers at No. 43 overall, that’ll be awfully difficult to hope for.
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Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., is another one of those corners who could possibly sneak into Round 1, but nearly every big board out there has him listed behind Farley and Newsome, meaning the chances of Samuel slipping to No. 43 overall is notably higher.
At 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, some would ask the same questions about Samuel being undersized like Elijah Molden. But Samuel certainly doesn’t play like he’s smaller than the intended targets he’s covering, and he used his exemplary man-coverage skills to generate three interceptions over eight games last year, suggesting he can be a ballhawk at the next level.
And with the Niners being OK with sub-6-foot boundary corners like Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley, there’s no automatic assumption they’d rule out Samuel as a Round 2 pick or even just limit him to a slot-type player.
Especially if Samuel winds up flashing the same kind of production skills he had over the last two years.