Mock Twist: 49ers Take Top Player at his Position First

George Kittle

Getty George Kittle during the NFC divisional round game at Green Bay on January 22, 2022.

In 15 days, the San Francisco 49ers will finally get the chance to address their biggest NFL Draft need.

By now, we’ve heard how the 49ers need a cornerback, edge rush help, an interior lineman or a wide receiver. Tight end was considered an afterthought among the four at the No. 61 spot — especially with All-Pro George Kittle in place and Ross Dwelley resigned during the offseason.

Or is tight end not an afterthought?

On Wednesday, April 13, Doug Farrar of USA Today’s Touchdown Wire came up with this latest mock draft twist: The 49ers take who is considered the best prospect at his position — who happens to play tight end.

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The Latest Name Attached to the 49ers

With the 61st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the 49ers are now picked to select: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State.

That’s right, the No. 1 tight end prospect by D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Constitution-Journal on Thursday, April 14. And before Ledbetter, Pro Football Network placed the CSU Rams star at the top of the tight end board on April 6.

There’s more. The website NFL Draft Buzz has McBride ranked first in the tight end class. Mark Schofield of USA Today’s Touchdown Wire has the Mountain West Conference standout as the leader at his position.

Lastly, Kevin Hanson of Sports Illustrated predicted on March 29 that McBride will be the first at his position selected.

But now, The 6-foot-3, 249-pound McBride is labeled a potential future 49er.

Why McBride is Coveted

Even in this evolution of the position off the recent success established by Kittle, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, Darren Waller of the Las Vegas Raiders and off the freakish attributes Kyle Pitts showcased before becoming a top five pick in 2021 to the Atlanta Falcons, the 2022 tight end class isn’t particularly the strongest.

After all, McBride is listed as a second round talent. And outside of McBride, there are mocks that don’t list other highly touted prospects like Isaiah Likely of Coastal Carolina and Jeremy Ruckert of Ohio State going in the first round.

But there’s numerous of reasons why McBride is so highly coveted for this TE class.

For starters, he’s a John Mackey Award winner — which honors the nation’s best tight end for college football.

McBride then showed a trait that gets NFL teams to pivot over to a tight end: Consistently making the tough, contested catches — which McBride pulled off very well.

And there are prominent NFL Draft experts who are high on McBride. Lance Zierlein of said McBride has the three main attributes of a player for his position.

“Two-way tight end with the size, strength and ball skills to help impact games in-line and in space,” was the first sentence evaluation Zierlein wrote in his breakdown. Zierlein added that a unanimous personnel director for an NFC team told him that McBride is a “good hybrid Y/U tight end. I think he’s a really good TE2 and a TE1 for some teams.”

Meanwhile, Nate Tice of Bleacher Report called McBride a second round talent but a potential impact player in his evaluation.

And while ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has UCLA’s Greg Dulcich going before McBride at No. 63 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in his latest mock draft, Kiper said this about the CSU Rams star at the No. 64 spot:

“McBride is more advanced as a pass-catcher than Dulcich, which is what the Broncos need with new quarterback Russell Wilson. With Noah Fant off to Seattle, there are targets available. McBride had 90 catches for 1,121 yards last season; he could stretch the seams in Denver,” Kiper wrote.

But now, Touchdown Wire’s mock draft has McBride going ahead of Dulcich — and giving the 49ers a prospect that wasn’t thought of before through the constant chatter of position needs outside of tight end.

Trey McBride || Colorado State Rams Tight End || 2021 Senior HighlightsTrey McBride 2021 senior season highlights. 90 Receptions, 1,121 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown, 1 Fake Punt TD. We do not own the copyrights to this footage, it belongs to ESPN, and their affiliates. All things shown in the video also do not have any intention of copying, stealing, or any sort of things like…2021-12-05T03:10:59Z
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