Even though Smith, 24, is one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers, his future could be clouded. Until Sunday, the 49ers’ greatest needs were cornerback and receiver. I do think those areas are still bigger needs than pass-rusher. But I could also see the 49ers, who have an NFL-high six picks in the top 100 in the May 8-10 draft, using a premium pick at the position.
I spoke with ESPN draft analyst Steve Muench about potential fits in the second or third round. Here is a look:
Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State:
“He will likely be gone and they may not want to take a player who has been suspended three times over the past two seasons but he has the length, quickness and flexibility to develop into an effective edge rusher in the NFL.”
The Sacramento Bee reports Lawrence will visit the 49ers.
Kyle Van Noy, BYU: “He doesn’t bend as well as Lawrence and he has shorter arms but he can beat tackles with speed to power, he uses his hands well and he closes well.”
Muench mentioned these pass-rushers would be taken in the third or fourth-round: Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat, Alabama DE/OLB Adrian Hubbard and Stanford’s Trent Murphy all project as late third- or early fourth-round picks.
Murphy played for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.