San Francisco 49ers: Dee Ford

We held our NFL Nation mock draft this week on ESPN.com and on SportsCenter.

I took Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the 49ers at No. 30.

But that was not my intention. I tried to trade up. I tried a lot. Spanning picks 15-28, I made nine inquiries. Nine of them. I never truly came close to executing a deal. There was some potential with Kansas City at No. 23. But I wasn’t giving up the No. 30 pick.

I think the 49ers would like to draft twice in the first round, so that was my goal. I wouldn’t worry my lack of trade success will translate into trouble for the 49ers finding a trade partner Thursday night. I think the actual decision makers may be more willing to move back than the folks I was trying to convince.

Honestly, I don’t love the Benjamin choice, but he was really the only way I thought I could go. I would have been much more satisfied if he was my second first-round pick and I was able to get a cornerback earlier. Even without a trade, I thought I might get TCU cornerback Jason Verrett, but his slide ended at No. 28 to Carolina. Yes, I talked to Carolina about a deal, too.

At No. 30, in addition to Benjamin, I considered Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews and Fresno State receiver Davante Adams as well as Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford. In the end, I went with Benjamin, whose size and skill can translate into big NFL success.

But, overall, I leave this exercise disappointed. I wanted to get a cornerback and a receiver. But no one would play with me.
With off-field issues clouding Aldon Smith's future, there has been a lot of talk that the San Francisco 49ers will have to take a pass-rusher with a premium pick.

According to ESPN draft expert Todd McShay, the final chance to get an immediate impact pass-rusher may be the middle of the second round. In a recent conference call with NFL Nation reporters, McShay said picks No. 40-45 may be the "sweet spot" to nab a pass-rusher. The 49ers have the No. 30 pick in the first round and the No. 56 and No. 61 picks in the second.

Perhaps the 49ers will have to make a trade if they want a pass-rusher.

McShay counts Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu, Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence and Auburn's Dee Ford as pass-rushers who could be taken as high as late in the first round and as low as in the middle of the second round. The 49ers have visited with Lawrence.

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