NFL Draft

How Mel Kiper Jr. predicts 49ers will use No. 31 draft pick

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The OG of NFL media draft experts again has the 49ers going with an OT with the team’s first-round pick.

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN has eight offensive linemen being selected within the first 25 selections of his latest mock draft.

And he has the 49ers choosing offensive tackle Roger Rosengarten of Washington with the No. 31 overall pick in his fourth and final mock draft. He also had the 49ers selecting Rosengarten in his previous projection.

Kiper Jr. predicts the 49ers will select cornerback Dru Phillips of Kentucky in the second round with the No. 63 overall selection.

All things being equal, the decisions to go with an offensive lineman in the first round and a cornerback in the second round appear to line up with the 49ers’ top draft needs.

The bigger question is whether Rosengarten will be the best player on the 49ers’ board when it’s time to make their first-round selection.

“Rosengarten could challenge Colton McKivitz for snaps at right tackle,” Kiper Jr. writes. “Rosengarten didn't allow any sacks in his 1,158 pass-blocking snaps for the Huskies.”

Kiper Jr. also points out that Rosengarten played two seasons at Valor Christian in Colorado for coach Ed McCaffrey, father of 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey.

Kiper Jr. projects a first round that is heavy on offensive line talent. In his mock, he had Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt as the first lineman off the board at No. 7 overall to Tennessee.

Other linemen he projects in the first 25 selections are tackle JC Latham of Alabama, tackle Taliese Fuaga of Oregon State, tackle Olu Fashanu of Penn State, guard Troy Fautanu of Washington, guard/center Graham Barton guard/center of Duke, and tackles Tyler Guyton of Oklahoma and Amarius Mims of Georgia.

With the 49ers’ second-round pick, Phillips is seen as a logical choice because of his versatility to start as the team’s nickel back as a rookie. Starting cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir are not under contract beyond this season.

“I thought about defensive line for the 49ers,” Kiper Jr. wrote, “but Phillips could add immediate depth to a secondary that needs a talent infusion.”

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