As the NFL draft approaches, two prevailing schools of thought have edged their way into the forefront as to what the 49ers are going to do with their second overall pick.
Most draft experts are projecting that John Lynch and co. will select Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, who will fill the void as a capable pass rusher that can also stop the run. Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have Thomas going to the 49ers in their most recent mock draft.
The other theory, is that San Francisco will look to trade back and select the likes of LSU running back Leonard Fournette or Alabama outside linebacker Reuben Foster, whom they have been rumored to be interested in by multiple sources. One of those sources is Albert Breer from the MMQB, who joined Ted Ramey on Thursday afternoon and explained the large roadblock that is likely to obstruct the 49ers from landing either of the SEC stars.
“This is a really strong draft, probably right up there with the 2014 or 2011 draft,” Breer began. “The problem for teams like the 49ers, the Bears, who might want to trade down because they’ve got a lot of holes, might want to build up some numbers on their roster, is that at the positions where this draft is strong, it’s also deep. I’m talking about corner, safety, the edge rushers, the receivers, the tight ends, the backs; so there’s a feeling that there’s not a lot of difference. As strong as the draft is, there’s not a huge difference between say 2 and 12, or 3 and 15, or 10 and 20. So, it doesn’t make sense for other teams to trade up to say get a corner, or an edge rusher, when there’s gonna be a pretty good player at that position at their natural pick.
“That brings the question for both the Bears and the Niners: What positions do you value?…I know the Niners like the running back from LSU Leonard Fournette, and they like the linebacker from Alabama Reuben Foster, but is that too high to take an outside linebacker who isn’t a pass rusher or a running back? So that’s the question they’re going through right now, and I think if either of those teams had their druthers, they would trade back a little bit, pick up a few picks, and maybe get those guys they like a little bit later on. The problem is the market to trade down just isn’t there right now.”
If that is indeed the case, conventional wisdom would suggest that in a draft where there isn’t a consensus No.2 pick, San Francisco would take whomever they indeed value the highest, regardless of where they could potentially fall. Whether that is Thomas, Fournette or Foster, will reveal itself three weeks from now.
Listen to the full interview below.