Niners' Draft-Day Intentions Remain a Mystery

NFL analysts believe 49ers could benefit from trading No. 2 overall choice for more picks, especially with no clear, consensus choice as the second-best player available

The first round of the NFL draft is now just three weeks away, and no one outside the 49ers organization has any idea what the team will do with the No. 2 overall pick.

In fact, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” echoed many NFL analysts this week when he wrote, “I’d be surprised if GM John Lynch doesn’t make an effort to try and deal down and accumulate more draft capital.”

With the Niners’ roster full of holes, trading away the No. 2 choice for extra high draft choices certainly could speed up the team’s development. And, Breer noted, such a deal might allow Lynch to acquire two Southeastern Conference stars it reportedly covets – Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

If the 49ers remain at No. 2, one player who could be worthy of the second pick is Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore, whose stock is on the rise.

The analytic website Pro Football Focus this week pointed to Lattimore as one of three players in the draft who could fill a need for the 49ers. The other two: Western Kentucky guard-offensive tackle Forrest Lamp, who could be a second-round choice, and North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked passer in the draft.

Lattimore – who visited with the 49ers this week – could be the playmaker the 49ers are seeking for their pass-coverage unit.

Wrote Zoltan Buday of PFF: “Lattimore is PFF’s top-ranked cornerback and is the consensus top player at the position in this year’s draft. As a result, he could start from Day 1 and make an immediate impact.

Buday pointed out that Lattimore -- a 6-foot, 193-pounder -- allowed an NFL passer rating of just 30.2 on throws into his coverage in 2016, while having four interceptions and seven pass break-ups in the 50 throws in his direction.

In a recent compilation of mock drafts by David Fucillo of SB Nation, Lattimore is the 49ers’ top pick in three. Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas is by far the leading candidate for the 49ers, cited 22 times. However, some have questioned whether the 49ers would take a third straight defensive lineman with their top pick, following the selections of DeForest Buckner in 2016 and Arik Armstead in 2015.

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