With both the Senior Bowl and Combine in the books, we’ve reached a perfect time for an updated mock draft. As usual, we’ll go pick by pick to make sure we discuss each pick thoroughly enough, and as usual, we’re assuming I’m the GM, so I’m not making picks based off who I actually think will go where, but rather who I’d take with the slot. And no, no trade scenarios because they’re infinite.
Here’s a quick rundown of our draft so far: no. 1 Houston Texans (Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina), no. 2 St. Louis Rams (Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M), no. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville), no. 4 Cleveland Browns (Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M), no. 5 Oakland Raiders (Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn), no. 6 Atlanta Falcons (Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan), no. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson), no. 8 Minnesota Vikings (Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State), no. 9 Buffalo Bills (Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo), no. 10 Detroit Lions (Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M), no. 11 Tennessee Titans (Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA), no. 12 New York Giants (C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama), no. 13 St. Louis Rams (Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama), no. 14 Chicago Bears (Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri). no. 15 Pittsburgh Steelers (Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State), no. 16 Dallas Cowboys (Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt), no. 17 Baltimore Ravens (Eric Ebron, TE, UNC), no. 18 New York Jets (Marqise Lee, WR, USC), no. 19 Miami Dolphins (Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame), no. 20 Arizona Cardinals (Ra’Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota), no. 21 Green Bay Packers (Lous Nix, NT, Notre Dame), no. 22 Philadelphia Eagles (Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn), no. 23 Kansas City Chiefs (Odell Beckham, WR, LSU), no. 24 Cincinnati Bengals (Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State), no. 25 San Diego Chargers (Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State), no. 26 Browns (Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State), no. 27 New Orleans Saints (Jason Verrett, CB, TCU), no. 28 Carolina Panthers (Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama) and no. 29 New England Patriots (Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State). With the 30th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the San Francisco 49ers select?
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State.
Like with the Pats who picked before us, there’s not a ton of glaring holes on this roster thanks to some solid scouting and drafting over the past few years. With that said, our receiving corps could use an infusion of both elite speed and athleticism, which is why I’m taking Cooks here.
This is tremendous value at no. 30. Cooks blew people away at the Combine with his numbers: 4.33 40-yard dash, 3.81 shuttle and a 6.76 3-cone. Granted, his size isn’t tremendous (5-foot 10, 190-pounds), but his speed and quickness give him the ability to play both inside and outside receiver for us. He has natural hands to pluck the ball from the air and does a good job exploding out of breaks. He’s got the deep speed to stretch the secondary, but the quickness and agility to catch the ball underneath and turn a short gain into a long one. Plus, he can immediately help our return game as well.
The bottom line is that Cooks would provide the electric playmaking ability our offense is craving. He’d be a natural slot receiver during his rookie year with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin on the outside, and could eventually replace the latter in a year or two. Plus, he’d provide insurance in case I can’t re-sign Crabtree at some point, who’s entering the last year of his rookie deal.
Who else was considered here? Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech) would be a good fit in our defense. He’s a polished CB with good size and physicality. Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame) was also a strong candidate here. He’s a natural 5-tech who can both rush the passer and stop the run, and would eventually take over for the 34-year old Justin Smith, who has one year left on his deal after this season.