49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows the impact a large, super-talented wideout can have on a quarterback. He's coordinated offenses that've featured Julio Jones, Andre Johnson, and Josh Gordon.
Now, with Jimmy Garoppolo given the reins of San Francisco's offense, the 49ers get their new signal-caller a large, super-talented wideout. And with that combo, along with some other parts, the 49ers can be fun on offense once again.
As we're nearly at the halfway point of the regular season, I've used the official draft order for this mock.
1. Cleveland Browns
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. There will be many fans in Cleveland ticked at the Browns for passing on a quarterback again, especially after whiffing on landing Jimmy Garoppolo and AJ McCarron at the trade deadline, but the crop of draft-eligible signal-callers has collectively disappointed. McGlinchey can replace Joe Thomas right away and provide quality pass-protection along with reliable run-blocking for an underrated offensive line.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. Kyle Shanahan has what he hopes is his franchise quarterback in Garoppolo. Now it's time to get him his Julio Jones. Sutton isn't a prospect of Jones' caliber, but at 6-foot-4 with high-level elusiveness and ball-tracking ability, there are legit similarities. Sutton has 28 touchdown receptions in his last 32 games for the Mustangs. He has a serious No. 1 wideout skill set.
3. New York Giants
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. This is the type of offensive player the Giants defense desperately wants. Odell Beckham Jr. is a tremendous talent, yet New York desperately needs more balance on that side of the ball. Barkley is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. He's not Peterson-like though. He's more LaDainian Tomlinson.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma. It doesn't matter who's playing quarterback for the Colts in 2018 and beyond -- let's hope it's Andrew Luck -- that man will need a better offensive line to succeed than what Indianapolis can currently provide. Brown Jr. is a gargantuan tackle prospect at 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds and is as proficient as a run-blocker as he is in pass protection. This is a smart pick with threatening pass-rushing units in Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. This will be a trendy mock pick for Tampa for many reasons. Fitzpatrick can play cornerback or safety for the Buccaneers, and he offers sizes not featured in their secondary. Vernon Hargreaves is much better suited for the slot than on the perimeter, so this selection will have a positive ripple effect for Dirk Koetter's squad.
6. New York Jets
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Mayfield to the Jets would be a dream come true for NYC media. He's a spark-plug in so many ways and will bring an excitement to a franchise in dire need of that, particularly on offense. In 2016 and the first eight games of 2017, Mayfield has been exceptionally improvisational and has routinely showed off a strong arm.
7. Oakland Raiders
Derwin James, S, Florida State. The Raiders drafted Obi Melifonwu, a freak athlete at the safety position in the second round of the 2017 draft, and their defensive backfield's been so bland so far this season, they could look to pick that type of player again. James is a hybrid weakside linebacker strong safety who is the ultimate quarterback spy and can run with basically every running back in the league.
8. Los Angeles Chargers
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. The Chargers have had a perpetual need on the offensive line, and while they invested on the interior of their offensive front in the most recent draft, they still need an anchor at left tackle. Okorafor is a prospect who's flying under the radar now but won't be in March. He's tall, sculpted, and has incredible footwork and powerful arms.
9. Chicago Bears
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. Deshaun Watson has DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Carson Wentz has Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor. It's time for the Bears to start investing in wideouts for Mitchell Trubisky. Washington can take the top off any defense and has the frame and body control to be reliable possession receiver.
10. Arizona Cardinals
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. The Carson Palmer era just might be over in Arizona, but Bruce Arians shouldn't be fired if the Cardinals don't make the playoffs this season. He'll gladly start over at the quarterback position with Darnold, a somewhat unrefined prospect with all the inherent tools to be molded into a top-flight signal-caller.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame. The Bengals lost Kevin Zeitler in free agency. They need to acquire a quality replacement. It's that simple. Andy Dalton needs it. The run game needs it. Nelson is a road-grader blocking for the run and rarely has a hiccup in pass protection due to a wide, balanced base, textbook hand placement, and just a whole lot of strength.
12. Denver Broncos
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson. With Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both turning 31 in 2018, the Broncos invest in a well-rounded receiver who has some characteristics of both their top wideouts. Cain has deep speed -- like Sanders -- and can be physical on underneath routes then create big gains with his athleticism after the catch like Thomas.
13. Cleveland Browns from Texans
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. After passing on a quarterback with the top pick, the Browns are happy to land Rudolph here. He's the polar opposite of DeShone Kizer -- in fact, he's older than Kizer. He enters the NFL with loads of experience and is a much more "finished product" than the Notre Dame prospect was a season ago. Hue Jackson will be thrilled to have a signal-caller who doesn't need years of development.
14. Detroit Lions
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. Detroit's need for a running back is blatantly obvious, and that's not a knock on Theo Riddick or Ameer Abdullah, who are fun scat backs. Guice is a three-down feature back who can pound between the tackles and make defenders miss on the perimeter. He'll add a brand new element to the Lions offense and will probably help them in short-yardage and goal line situations.
15. Washington Redskins
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. With Cousins gone, the Redskins have a giant void at the quarterback spot. So they pick Rosen, a Cousins-like player with more overall potential. Rosen has the tendency to make a few bad decisions each game and doesn't exactly thrive under pressure, but he's squeaky clean mechanically and is capable of making a handful of "wow" throws in every outing.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford. I've made this connection before, and it probably won't be the last time I do. Like Detroit, Baltimore needs a run-game identity. They get that with Love, who can pair with Alex Collins to form an interesting duo of contrasting running strengths and weaknesses. Love is a true home-run hitter.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis. The Cowboys need speed on the outside to take an extra defender out of the box and a safety from rolling toward Dez Bryant. Miller can help with both issues. He plays much bigger than his smaller frame with a large catch radius that's the byproduct of awesome leaping ability and ball skills.
18. Tennessee Titans
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado. As of a few weeks ago, per Pro Football Focus, only four teams were playing man coverage more frequently than the Titans. And that's precisely where Oliver thrives due to his track speed, springy athleticism, and awareness when the ball is in the air. He has 22 pass breakups in three seasons at Colorado, including nine so far in 2017.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. The Falcons love Grady Jarrett in the middle of their defensive line, and he could use a running mate on the interior. In fact, Hurst is comparable to Jarrett. They both win with burst off the snap and refined pass-rushing moves to beat centers and guards to disrupt.
20. Green Bay Packers
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. Chubb looks to be a strongside defensive end in a 4-3, yet that doesn't stop the Packers, who mostly run a traditional 3-4, to pick the NC State star they view as Nick Perry 2.0. Chubb has 16 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks on the season. He can be a force against the run and as a pass rusher for Green Bay.
21. Miami Dolphins
Arden Key, DE, LSU. The Dolphins take a bit of a gamble with Key, a player who dominated in 2016, yet couldn't build on his breakout season. Well at least not yet he hasn't. At 6-foot-6 and around 260 pounds with unlimited athleticism and long arms, Key has a prototypical 4-3 defensive end body. If he reaches his potential in the NFL, he can be a perennial 10-sack-per-season player.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP. The ultra-reliable Hernandez is exactly what Jacksonville needs, and we know Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone really want to run the football and play stout defense to win games. Hernandez is one of the best guards in the country who will benefit Leonard Fournette and Blake Bortles.
23. Carolina Panthers
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. Williams could return to the field soon for the Longhorns, a development that'll undoubtedly help their offense. His 2016 film was masterful, and although he had some issues against USC, Williams is a young, super-talented left tackle the Panthers could certainly use to protect Cam Newton and pave outside run lanes for Christian McCaffrey.
24. Seattle Seahawks
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. Bobby Wagner is still one of the top three off-ball linebackers in football, but that doesn't stop the Seahawks from re-investing in the linebacker position. K.J. Wright hasn't played to his typical, underrated standard so far in 2017, and he'll be 29 next year. Smith can be the understudy to Wagner and Wright and has the extreme physical gifts the Seahawks love.
25. Los Angeles Rams
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. So the Rams significantly upgraded their offensive arsenal for Year 2 of Jared Goff, and look what has happened. They continue the building with Andrews, the nation's most dynamic tight end prospect. While he's not quite Travis Kelce, he has flashes of the Chiefs budding superstar.
26. Buffalo Bills
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. In Carolina, Sean McDermott got the absolute most out of 6-foot-1, 245-pound Mario Addison, a player he used in a variety of ways at the second level of his defense. The new brain trust in Buffalo likens Okoronkwo to Addison, which leads to this selection. Both are, to some, undersized to play on the edge but can win there as pass-rushers with speed, hand usage, and hustle and also handle off-ball linebacker duties on occasion.
27. New Orleans Saints
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. The Saints defense has been suddenly good thus far in 2017 thanks to a stellar rookie class, and they go defense early again in 2018. Linebacker is the glaring weakness right now in New Orleans, and Edmunds is a fly-around inside linebacker who has become one of the nation's premier run-stoppers.
28. Minnesota Vikings
DeShon Elliott, S, Texas. The Longhorns' secondary leader has the most interceptions in all of college football at the moment -- six -- and has gotten better each year in Austin. At around 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, he has desired safety size for the professional level. He doesn't shy away from laying the lumber but clearly has a knack for finding the football in coverage.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. Ward isn't the "modern-day" cornerback who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs around 200 pounds with long arms. That doesn't stop him from routinely making plays. He defended nine passes in 2016 and has already hit that number this season. He plays plenty of man-to-man -- which the Steelers will like -- and can replace Joe Haden as a rookie.
30. New England Patriots
Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson. The Patriots will be glad to get Derek Rivers back from injury next season, and they continue their reloading of the defensive end position with Bryant, a bulky defensive end who's quietly piecing together a big season on Clemson's almost unfairly talented defensive line.
31. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. Back-to-back Tigers. Wilkins played more on the edge in 2016 than he has this year, and in Buffalo, he'll be freed to penetrate the backfield from the defensive tackle position. With Kyle Williams nearing the end of his career and Marcell Dareus gone, the Bills need a star on their interior.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh. Malcolm Jenkins has been the glue that has held together the Eagles secondary at times over the past few seasons. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the safety will be 31 in December, which leads to the selection of Whitehead. The Pittsburgh standout brings a dynamic blend of speed in coverage and quick play-recognition skills in run support.