49ers NFL Draft 2021: Grades for each pick based on value
By Peter Panacy
49ers draft CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan, at No. 102 overall
The Niners’ decision to take Trey Sermon with their first pick in Round 3 created a possible ripple effect that ultimately cost them a chance to grab higher-touted cornerbacks with their second of two third-round picks.
Promising corners Elijah Molden and Ifeatu Melifonwu went Nos. 100 and 101 overall to the Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions, respectively. Either would have been excellent pickups for San Francisco, which could lose veteran corners Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams to free agency a year from now.
It might have been a better idea for the 49ers to grab either Molden or Melifonwu earlier in the round instead of Sermon, meaning the Niners ultimately settled on Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas at No. 102 overall instead.
As far as need goes, Thomas is a wise pickup. San Francisco getting him now without having to force him into the starting lineup right away should help his development. Particularly with him not having played in 2020.
Thomas, 6-foot-0 and 191 pounds, is both feisty and aggressive, which works both ways. Playing physical can help frustrate wide receivers, but it could come at the cost of more yellow flags at the NFL level.
The 49ers ended up not having a fourth-round pick where Thomas likely would have been projected to go, and that hurts the value a lot.
But as far as the player is concerned, it’s not a terrible addition.