While much of the early offseason discussion surrounding the 49ers has revolved around the quarterback position, they have a number of other glaring issues on the roster to address in the NFL draft. Cornerback is perhaps the most obvious of those needs, and Mel Kiper Jr. has them drafting one at No. 12 overall in his first 2021 mock draft.
A number of prospects have come up as potential long-term options for San Francisco in 2021 draft class. Perhaps the most notable of those names is Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II, who Kiper sends to the 49ers in his mock.
Surtain has NFL size at 6-1, 203 pounds. He’s plenty athletic to play corner, but his straight-line speed isn’t elite. That could hurt his draft stock, although his fit in San Francisco’s defense makes him a fine choice at No. 12. Assuming their scheme doesn’t change a ton under new defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Surtain should be in positions where his length, physicality and anticipation are more of a necessity than his speed.
Perhaps the trait that makes Surtain the most intriguing is his experience. He was a starter for all three of his seasons with the Crimson Tide, save for three games his freshman year. In 40 games for Alabama, Surtain racked up 116 tackles, six tackles for loss, four interceptions, 24 pass breakups and four forced fumbles. He figures to step in and be a starter on Day 1, which would be a plus for a San Francisco team that devoid of talent at cornerback.