There's never a bad time for a four-round mock draft, and that's what Bleacher Report's NFL Draft lead writer Matt Miller has provided for 49ers.com.
The San Francisco 49ers own five draft picks in the first four rounds, which includes one compensatory selection at the end of the fourth round. The first pick will take place on Day 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, rounds two and three will take place on Day 2 and rounds four through seven on Day 3.
Miller's predictions feature one significant change in the first round. The draft expert has long predicted that the 49ers would use the seventh overall pick on Cal quarterback Jared Goff. That is no longer the case.
Here is his forecast. Remember to follow Miler on twitter @nfldraftscout.Round 1: Pick 7 – DeForest Buckner, DE, OregonQuick Bio: Posted 83 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2015 … Named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year … First-Team All-American.
Miller: "The thing I like most about DeForest Buckner is that he never loses. When we look at defensive linemen, we often look at sacks, hurries and quarterback hits. But he's just a brick wall. He prevents the offensive line from getting to the second level and opening up rush lanes. He shuts that down. When you watch him play against Stanford, he controlled Josh Garnett, who I think is the best guard in the draft. You watch him against Michigan State, he did a great job against Jack Conklin, who might be a top-15 pick in this class at tackle. He has these stalemates that a lot of people might not recognize as a positive play, but they really are. He's playing assignment football and locking down his gap. He is a Day 1 starter at right defensive end and a guy you can build around."Round 2: Pick 6 (37th overall) – Josh Garnett, G, StanfordQuick Bio: The 2015 Outland Trophy Award winner given to the nation's best interior lineman … Unanimous All-American and Pac-12 Lineman of the Year recipient … First-Team All-Pac-12.
Miller: "In a PG-13 way of saying this, he's one of the meaner players in this year's draft. He's tough as nails. I think Stanford guys sometimes get a bad rap for being soft. Garnett should ruin that. He is a monster in the run game. He is the best run-blocker on the interior that I've seen in this year's draft. He gets up to the second level and has the agility to reach linebackers and chase them down. In the pass game, he has the length, and he has the vision. He can definitely reach and protect his quarterback. He also has the agility to slide and move with a mobile quarterback."Round 3: Pick 5 (68th overall) – Charone Peake, WR, ClemsonQuick Bio: Recorded 50 receptions for 716 yards and five touchdowns in 2015 … Posted six catches for 99 yards in the National Championship game against Alabama … Measured 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds at the combine.
Miller: "Peake is an eye-opener. He is explosive vertically. He had just five drops in two seasons, and so he has reliable hands. He has nice size at 210 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame. He ran a 4.45 40-time at the combine. He really showed off his agility there, too. On the positional drills, you see the raw ability that he has to get up the field. He tracks the ball well. He just has to be better at the catch point, which is why he's a Round 3 guy, not a Round 1 guy."Round 4: Pick 7 (105th overall) – Joe Haeg, T, North Dakota StateQuick Bio: An All-American in 2014 and 2015 … Two-time First-Team Missouri Valley Conference selection … Started 60 of a possible 61 games while at NDSU (29 at right tackle and 32 at left tackle) … Viewed as possibly the best FCS offensive lineman in this year's draft.
Miller: "I think he could play right tackle or even guard in the NFL. He's a zone-blocking scheme kid. He had a great combine, and he runs well. He has good length. Every time I've seen him play, he always performs well. I think he's a gamer who's going to rise to the level of competition. He has really shown something every time I watch him play. He could play pretty early on."Round 4. Pick 35 (133rd overall) – Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, West VirginiaQuick Bio: Posted 85 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2015 … Also grabbed three interceptions and one fumble recovery … Led the Mountaineers in tackles for the last three seasons.
Miller: "I just love this kid. I think he's instinctive. He's a better athlete than a lot of people are going to give him credit for because he ran a 4.8-second, 40-yard dash. His lateral agility is good. He has burst to close on the ball. He sees the field really, really well. He has ideal size to play inside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds. He's going to close those run gaps, but he's quick enough to stay on the field in coverage. He's a future starter in the NFL."