The 49ers may go into the 2021 draft with their eye on a few more trades. They have the draft capital to move around the board, and they did well enough in free agency that they can target some specific needs during the draft. General manager John Lynch won’t need to sit back and let the draft happen – he can make some moves up to snag players the team wants.
We tried to simulate some of those moves in our regular Sunday session with the PFF mock draft simulator. This time we executed a three-round mock and pulled the trigger on one trade back and a couple trades up to fill out some specific needs for San Francisco. We also finished it up with a trade that did not involve a draft pick.
Here it is:
Round 1, Pick 3 | QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
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Fields checks a lot of boxes for a top draft pick, and in a lot of years he may be the first one off the board. He has great size at 6-3, 227 pounds, a big arm and a ton of athleticism. Fields also appears to carry a lot of the intangibles teams look for in a franchise signal caller. In two years at Ohio State, Fields completed 68.4 percent of his throws for 5,373 yards, 63 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also averaged 9.3 yards per attempt. The 49ers are in a spot too where they can let him sit and fix some of the warts on his game before taking over full-time as the starter.
Trade No. 1
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Jacksonville receives: Pick Nos. 43 (Round 2) and 155 (Round 5) San Francisco receives: Pick Nos. 45 (Round 2) and 106 (Round 4) Getting the top pick in the fourth round and giving up one of three fifth-round picks to move back two spots in the second round is a good value move with no specific need for a player available at the 43rd pick.
Round 2, Pick 45 | DB Elijah Molden, Washington
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Molden would be a really nice find after trading back in Round 2. He's a defensive back in the mold of a Tyrann Mathieu or Budda Baker who can line up and be effective at multiple spots. The 49ers could conceivably use him as more of a Swiss Army knife this year before moving him full time to the slot or safety in the coming seasons. Molden in four years with the Huskies posted 153 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, five interceptions and 19 pass breakups.
Trade No. 2
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Tennessee receives: Pick Nos. 102 (Round 3) and 117 (Round 4) San Francisco receives: Pick No. 85 This is the type of move we may see from the 49ers on Draft Day where they unload some of their mid-round capital to target a specific player they want rather than just letting the draft shake out.
Round 3, Pick 85 | CB Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky
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Joseph is going to be a popular Day 2 selection in our mocks. He's inexperienced with only 15 college games, but his combination of size, athleticism and production last season makes him a very intriguing prospect. The 49ers may need to let him sit a year to help him develop, but he projects long-term to be a starting-caliber outside corner.
Trade No. 3
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Baltimore receives: Pick Nos. 106 (Round 4) and 194 (Round 6) San Francisco receives: Pick No. 104 (Round 3) This is another liquidation of mid-round assets to fill a specific need. Jumping up two spots and shedding a sixth-round pick to do so is a good move if a starting-caliber player is around.
Round 3, Pick 104 | OL Kendrick Green, Illinois
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Green had a really impressive college career. He landed on campus at Illinois as a defensive tackle, and worked there while redshirting his freshman season. His jump to the offensive line came prior to the following year when he started all 12 games at left guard for the Illini. During his college tenure he also started games at center. His athleticism and versatility make him a strong prospect for the 49ers who need better depth on the interior.
Trade No. 4
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Chicago receives: Pick No. 172 San Francisco receives: WR Anthony Miller The Bears may actually be able to get more than this if there are multiple bidders for Miller. San Francisco may have to throw in a player or move an earlier selection to pry Miller away from Chicago. However, he's a good slot receiver who could seamlessly take over for Kendrick Bourne.