The NFL trade deadline is approaching, and that could impact how the 49ers make moves next year, but let’s get out a 2022 NFL Draft mock anyway real quick.
No, this isn’t automatically a surrendering of sorts for the San Francisco 49ers, giving up on the season despite the 2-4 start and all things going wrong for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.
Although doing that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Typically, bad teams prompt chatter about the following offseason, which means free agency and the NFL Draft. And in the Niners’ case, they’re without a first-round pick for the next two years because of last spring’s deal to move up and grab quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall. So, you won’t see too many first-round-only mocks involving San Francisco out there anytime soon.
But general manager John Lynch can certainly hope for some first-round talent falling to the 49ers in Round 2.
Instead, this first-edition 2022 mock draft for the Niners is prompted by the fact this year’s NFL trade deadline is just days away. And if Lynch winds up making some moves before the deadline, there’s a good chance the draft order and the number of picks receive a pretty good shakeup.
So, to help us out with our pre-trade deadline mock, let’s use FanSpeak’s’ trusty mock tool to break down all seven rounds (well, six for San Francisco) and which prospects should be on the radar.
FYI, FanSpeak has the 49ers Round 1 pick at No. 10 overall, which goes to the Miami Dolphins because of the Lance trade.
Round 2, No. 42 Overall: 49ers select cornerback Trent McDuffie, Washington
The Niners are currently paying the price for not putting a higher priority on cornerbacks the past few years, and they paid it even further by hoping veteran cornerback Jason Verrett could stay healthy another full season.
Verrett is out now with a torn ACL, and the two rookies San Francisco grabbed in the middle rounds of this year’s draft, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, haven’t made a substantial impact, particularly Thomas.
Even if both pan out, the 49ers need to go back and stockpile this position, and going after Washington corner Trent McDuffie would be an excellent move if he was to fall into Round 2.
McDuffie, 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, might be on the small side to deter other teams from using him as a boundary cornerback. But like Verrett, size doesn’t matter so much as does McDuffie’s anticipation and route-matching skills. The quick-twitch reaction and instincts have to be there for a coverage back in a pass-happy Pac-12 conference, and McDuffie possesses those and then some.
While the interceptions haven’t come McDuffie’s way much over his collegiate career, just two in 22 games played, his ability to blanket his portion of the field would be a welcomed bit of relief for the Niners secondary.