5 Players the 49ers Should Take in the 2014 NFL Draft
When Mel Kiper Jr. is cranking out one NFL mock draft after another, you know that the big day must be coming soon. With the NFL draft almost two months away, teams like the San Francisco 49ers will soon know which players will become the pieces of their future.
The 49ers have some decisions to make come May 8. Will they try to rebuild their secondary? Should they find a running back as the successor for Frank Gore? Do they add another receiver?
Here are five players the 49ers should grab in this year's draft.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham Jr. would give the 49ers flexibility on offense and special teams. Although he is a projected first-round pick, according to CBS Sports, the 49ers have 12 selections, giving them plenty of ammunition to trade up.
In his last season with LSU, the speedy wideout hauled in 59 receptions for 1,152 yards, earning him second-team All-SEC honors. As a return man, he was ninth in the nation averaging 26.4 yards per return. Beckham Jr. would not only be a big upgrade to a 49ers kick return game that finished 19th in the NFL, but he would also help create a very good receiving corps with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
The 49ers have some familiarity with Murphy as he played for head coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio during his freshman year at Stanford.
Murphy is undersized for a defensive end and slow for a linebacker but was still able to lead the nation with 15 sacks last season. Running a 3-4 defense, the 49ers would be able to gain some flexibility with Murphy and use him to spell Aldon Smith.
Murphy understands the type of defense the 49ers run having played for Fangio. Would he be a good fit in San Francisco?
The 49ers have question marks in their secondary with cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Eric Wright being eligible for free agency. If one of these guys chooses to test the market, the 49ers should snag Joyner in the draft.
The All-American cornerback helped Florida State become one of the most dominant defenses in college football during his senior year when he collected 69 tackles, 5.5 sacks and forced three fumbles. Although he had a historic career at Florida State, Joyner is projected as a second-round pick by CBS Sports due to his small 5’8", 184-pound frame. Joyner is a tough and physical defender, just the kind of player the 49ers should target come May.
Think Eddie Lacy right here.
At 6’0" and 230 pounds, Hyde has the ability to pound the football and run over defenders. Despite missing the first three games of the 2013 season due to suspension, Hyde still had a great senior year as he carried the ball 208 times for 1,521 yards.
The 49ers understand that Frank Gore is 30 years old and that their ideal backup Marcus Lattimore has yet to play a down in the NFL. With question marks in the backfield, the Niners should select Hyde and give him the opportunity to learn from Gore. The combination of Hyde and Lattimore would make for a great duo in the 49ers’ future.
Thomas doesn’t have eye-popping numbers but as a projected sixth to seventh-round pick, the 49ers could afford to take a little bit of a risk here.
As a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, Thomas threw for 9,003 yards and ran for 1,359 on his career. He is a load at 6’6" and 257 pounds and is not afraid to run through contact as Myles Jack of UCLA knows all too well.
The 49ers desperately need a backup quarterback and Thomas would fit the read-option attack that Colin Kaepernick has been running in San Francisco. Should the 49ers take Thomas?
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