Major news broke Wednesday, as Reuben Foster's girlfriend, who previously accused Foster of assaulting her, told authorities that she had lied about the incident. There apparently happens to be video evidence corroborating this story.
Hopefully what she's currently saying is true. It now sounds like Foster will be available for 2018, so the 49ers don't have to push the panic button with a linebacker. Thus, they can pursue Minkah Fitzpatrick, whom they covet.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Roquan Smith, LB - Smith wouldn't be out of the picture if available, but he's off the board.
2. Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Both of the top linebackers are in play here, as either can play with Foster.
Rd. 2, Pk. 27
Kemoko Turay, DE/3-4OLB, Rutgers
The 49ers need to find someone to play the Uncle LEO position in their defense, and Kemoko Turay seems like he'd be a perfect fit.
Rd. 3, Pk. 6
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
The 49ers tried to sign Allen Robinson this offseason, but failed. They'll want to find a receiver early in the 2018 NFL Draft as a result.
Rd. 3, Pk. 10
Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
The 49ers lost Eric Reid to free agency, so they may use one of their second-day selections on a replacement.
Rd. 4, Pk. 28
Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
The 49ers signed Weston Richburg, but he doesn't have the best injury history. Here's an insurance policy.
Rd. 5, Pk. 6
Marcel Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
The 49ers have shown interest in Marcell Ateman, so he's someone they could target in the middle rounds, even if they grab a wideout earlier.
Rd. 6, Pk. 10
Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan
The 49ers signed Richard Sherman this offseason, but they still need to add another cornerback.
Rd. 7, Pk. 5
Frank Ginda, ILB, San Jose State
The 49ers needed linebacker help even before Reuben Foster got into legal trouble.
Rd. 7, Pk. 22
Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas State
Some late-round receiving help makes sense for the 49ers, who need to add more weapons.
A general manager told me the 49ers are desperate to trade down, and I think they have a shot at doing it. If the 49ers stay here, I've heard that the top candidates are Solomon Thomas, Jamal Adams and Marshon Lattimore. While I know lot of teams that graded Thomas as a mid- to late first-rounder, there are enough teams that like him in the top 10 that he should go high.
WalterFootball.com was the first to report that Thomas intended to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. The junior enjoyed an excellent 2016 season as a big presence on the edge of the Stanford defense. On the year, he had 62 tackles with 15 for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. Sources from seven NFL teams told me that they graded Thomas a mid- to late first-rounder. Two teams said they had Thomas in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, but there are enough teams in the top 10 that like him that he should go that high.
Thomas has good speed off the edge with strength and physicality. Teams feel that the 6-foot-2, 273-pounder fits best as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Many sources said that Thomas is a bit of a tweener and doesn't have a great fit in a 3-4 defense. He probably would play outside linebacker if drafted into a 3-4 scheme. Teams really like Thomas off the field as well.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Zach Cunningham, OLB/ILB, Vanderbilt
The 49ers could use a linebacker upgrade, and Cunningham is a good value in the second round.
In 2016, Cunningham totaled 125 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, three passes batted and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder is a quick, instinctive linebacker who is a reliable tackler. He is a versatile player with the skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. There has been buzz about Cunningham in scouting circles, and teams are giving him late first-round/early second-round grades.
In 2015, Cunningham totaled 103 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and four forced fumbles on the year. He was only a redshirt sophomore that season and has upside to develop.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
The 49ers could use more cornerback talent and have shown interest in Tabor.
Tabor totaled 33 tackles with four interceptions and six passes broken up in 2016. Because of getting in a fight with a teammate, Tabor was suspended for the 2016 opener, but he covered really well after that and was a ballhawk. As a sophomore, Tabor recorded 40 tackles, 14 passes broken up and four interceptions, two of them being pick-sixes. Tabor did hurt his draft stock with a suspension during his sophomore season as well. He had an excellent freshman season in 2014, totaling 31 tackles with an interception and eight passes broken up that year.
Some team sources say that Tabor's best role might be as a big nickel corner in the NFL. The 6-foot, 199-pounder is lacking long speed and can give up plays downfield. He is great underneath with very good instincts, feel and awareness. Sometimes though, he is too much of a gambler. Tabor succeeds when plays are in front of him, but gets in trouble with plays behind or over him. Multiple team sources like other first-round corner prospects more than Tabor, but Tabor still projects to Thursday night.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
The 49ers could take some running back depth with Carlos Hyde entering a contract year.
In 2016, Gallman averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 1,087 yards with 16 touchdowns. He tacked on 17 receptions for 113 yards as well. Gallman was the workhorse of the Clemson offense in 2015, averaging 5.4 yards per carry for 1,527 yards with 13 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 213 yards with a score.
Gallman (6-0, 215) has impressive feet with the ability to be elusive in the open field. He also possesses tremendous lateral quickness to dodge tacklers and a burst to accelerate running North-South. Gallman is a quick runner who could stand to add some weight for the next level.
Gallman already has some power to him to pound the ball for some tough yards and finish off runs. It would be good to see him improve his knee bend and pad level. He is a taller back, and as a result, he can run a little upright at times. That could lead to issues with injuries and ball security.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
George Kittle, TE, Iowa
The 49ers could grab some tight end depth and have shown interest in Kittle.
Kittle (6-4, 247) used the combine to help his draft stock as he ran much faster than expected in the 40 and worked out well on the field. As a senior, he made 22 receptions for 314 yards with four touchdowns while playing in a rushing offense. Kittle had 20 catches for 290 yards and six scores as a junior.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Nico Siragusa, G, San Diego State
The 49ers grab another offensive lineman.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
The 49ers grab a developmental quarterback.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Amba Etta-Tawo, WR, Syracuse
The 49ers will probably add a few receivers for competition.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Steven Taylor, OLB, Houston
The 49ers could use some outside linebacker for their switch to a 4-3 scheme.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Dalton Crossan, RB, New Hampshire
The 49ers get some backfield depth and hosted Crossan on a visit.
Edmunds has the potential to become a monster linebacker and I could see us calling him the best linebacker in the league one day. However, he isn’t there yet, and still has ways to go. He is also only 19. The 49ers need a linebacker whether or not Rueben Foster is innocent or guilty. If he is innocent then you have Edmunds and Foster forming a great tandem behind all those first round draft picks on that D line. If he is guilty then you have a huge hole at linebacker and Edmunds can simply come in and replace him. Edmunds is great in coverage and moves terrific for someone his size, and is also a force in the run, however he has trouble shooting the gap too much going for big TFLs instead of being fundamentally sound and taking down the running back after a 3 yard gain instead of going for a TFL and have him cut back and go for a 50 yard touchdown. Like I said he has a lot to learn.
I've heard that the 49ers love Minkah Fitzpatrick. If it weren't for Reuben Foster's uncertain future in the NFL, Fitzpatrick would probably be an easy pick for San Francisco. However, Foster's NFL career could be over, which would leave the 49ers with a huge hole at linebacker. In the final hours before the 2018 NFL Draft, Foster's girlfriend and alleged victim said he's innocent, so perhaps that will push San Francisco back to Fitzpatrick. As for the safety need, Eric Reid is expected to leave in free agency, while Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward are in the last year of their contracts. Fitzpatrick would be a great scheme fit and could help form a talented secondary with Richard Sherman and Akhello Witherspoon. Roquan Smith is a great scheme fit for San Francisco as well, and he probably reminds John Lynch of his former teammate Derrick Brooks. I get the impression the 49ers are going back and forth on Smith or Fitzpatrick; it's very close and could break either way. <br> <br>
Fitzpatrick totaled 60 tackles, one interception, eight passes broken up and a forced fumble in 2017. He played really well, doing everything that could be asked of a safety. Fitzpatrick is an instinctive center fielder, covering receivers deep downfield. He is also fast in pursuit, tackles well in space at the second level, can come down into the box, and is able to play man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, plus help out his cornerbacks. The 6-foot, 204-pounder has enough size and some natural cover skills. Sources have said that Fitzpatrick is a good fit as a free safety for the NFL. While some evaluators don't feel that Fitzpatrick is a dynamic athlete, they say he is very good player with a high football IQ. <br> <br>
In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Fitzpatrick had a superb 2015 season for the Crimson Tide. The freshman totaled 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns.
Sometimes it pays off to be patient, seize opportunities when they emerge, and just let things play out in front of you and making the right decision when the moment is right. John Lynch plays the draft perfectly again in this mock draft. After trading down with the Arizona Cardinals, a star linebacking prospect falls right into their laps to help ease the pain of their troubled first round linebacker selected last year, Reuben Foster. Roquan Smith may in all reality be one of the top five players on the 49ers board going into Thursday night and to be able to come out of the day with additional 3rd and 4th round picks to go along with being able to select your guy six picks later would be a win for this rising franchise.
San Francisco's top priority this offseason after trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the trade deadline during the 2017 season has to be to surround him with talent to continue to succeed after he finished the season undefeated. I'm sure that Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will be taking a hard look at wide receivers Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, and DJ Moore as well as offensive linemen Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn, and Connor Williams with this selection. They also have the ability to select the highest rated player on their board which I would believe would be none of these players. San Fran has a young, developing but still talent deficient defense, even after the signing of former Seattle Seahawk superstar corner Richard Sherman. The arrest of 2017 first round pick Ruben Foster has created a glaring need at the linebacker position for the team. The selection of Smith will help alleviate this hiccup of character, while still allowing the front office to address the offensive side of the ball with their remaining 4 top 100 picks.
Roquan Smith fits the mold of the evolving linebacker position headlined by fast, undersized players such as Telvin Smith, Deion Jones, Kwon Alexander, and Ryan Shazier. Smith led a Georgia Bulldog defense to the 2017 College Football Championship game with 137 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, and 6.5 sacks. He followed his strong season with a 4.51 40 yard dash at the NFL combine, despite leaving with hamstring tightness although this injury has since been cleared. Smith can become a leader on the defense similarly to Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman have in years past.
The 49ers draft strategy looks alot diffent than it did at the begging of the year. The addition of Jimmy GQ has tunred the franchise into one of hope. The quesition could now turn to the defensive side of the ball.
Fiesty is a great word to descive Denzel Ward. His top end speed and tenacity allows him to make some really exciting plays. He's got good ball skills and excels and man coverage. Ward could make a big impact in year one much like former teamater Marshon Lattimore did.
Now we clearly know why the 49ers never wanted play Jimmy Garoppolo and obviously knew they would win too many games landing them a pick outside of the top 5. In fact, if he played one more game he could have played them out of the top 10 picks. Now with the hardest thing solved on the roster with Jimmy they should now look to find him a proper supporting cast to continue moving forward. They seem pretty bright with John Lynch at the helm and should look to improve the offensive line with clearly the best blocker in the draft. Of course guards are not as highly regarded in this poor offensive line league we live in now, but Nelson is a rare blue chip guard who should be a top pick. He has good balance, technique, strength, and intelligence to be a key cog in front of Garoppolo to build around.
Last Mock Pick: Derwin James S Florida St
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Quenton Nelson Going to 49ers
Rd. 1, Pk. 9
Mike McGlinchey, OT
I don't know about this pick. The 49ers are ready to win now, so where is Mike McGlinchey going to play? San Francisco has two stellar tackles in Joe Staley and Trent Brown. McGlinchey gives them some great depth for sure, and a potential replacement for Staley down the road, but barring injuries to Staley or Brown, I don't know how McGlinchey helps San Francisco win now.
Also, there are questions about whether or not McGlinchey can even play left tackle. Some believe McGlinchey would be better suited on the right side, and he's not going to displace Brown.
Rd. 2, Pk. 12
Dante Pettis, WR
I had the 49ers selecting Dante Pettis - at pick No. 70. Had the 49ers remained at 59 and selected Pettis, I would've been fine with it, but there was no need to move up. With so many talented receivers on the board - Anthony Miller, James Washington, D.J. Chark, etc. - the value isn't there to move up for Pettis. He fills a need - the 49ers tried to sign Allen Robinson, but failed - but the trade up for him was not necessary.
Rd. 3, Pk. 6
Fred Warner, OLB
Fred Warner is a rangy linebacker who should excel in coverage in the NFL. There were late rumblings that Warner could maybe sneak into the second round, so this is a nice value pick for the 49ers, who needed insurance in case Reuben Foster gets into more trouble.
Rd. 3, Pk. 31
Tarvarius Moore, FS
Tarvarius Moore was definitely a late riser, as I placed him in the third round of my 2018 NFL Mock Draft several weeks ago. He had an amazing pro day, running a 4.32 40 with an 11-1 broad jump. Moore is a very explosive athlete, but needs to get stronger. This is a high-upside pick that make sense, as the 49ers needed to replace Eric Reid.
Rd. 4, Pk. 28
Kentavius Street, DE
This is a bit of a surprise. Kentavius Street tore his ACL during pre-draft workouts and won't be able to play until 2019. The 49ers are trying to win a Super Bowl now, so I don't know about using a fourth-round choice on Street. I would've liked him much more in the sixth frame.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
D.J. Reed, CB
I thought D.J. Reed would go in this range, so this pick makes sense, especially when considering that the 49ers needed depth at cornerback. Reed will bring some extra value as a return specialist.
Rd. 6, Pk. 10
Marcell Harris, S
Marcell Harris didn't play last year because of a torn Achilles. I didn't think he would be drafted, and I'm sure some teams didn't either. But in the sixth round, the 49ers could've done worse.
Rd. 7, Pk. 5
Jullian Taylor, DT
Jullian Taylor created some buzz for himself after a strong pro day. This prompted many visits, including speculation that he would go in the late rounds. This pick makes sense for the 49ers, as they had to find some defensive line depth. Taylor has plenty of upside.
Rd. 7, Pk. 22
Richie James, WR
Richie James was an explosive player for Middle Tennessee State when he was healthy, but endured one too many injuries. James had the talent to go earlier than this, but perhaps teams were concerned with his medical. Either way, the 49ers are getting a nice bargain here in the middle of the seventh round.