Ben Margot/AP

With the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft ... will the San Francisco 49ers be making a selection? 

October 31, 2016

Competition is fierce. The Browns are winless, while the San Francisco 49ers have only one win. Jacksonville, which doesn’t exactly look poised for a third victory any time soon, is also in the mix, and don't count out the two-win Bears. A fierce upcoming schedule could help San Francisco soon occupy the top of mock drafts. Over the next three weeks it faces the Saints, Cardinals and Patriots before the competition softens in Weeks 12-14 against the Dolphins, Bears and Jets. The Niners close the season against the Falcons, Rams and Seahawks.

On paper, the 49ers have exactly three games in which they have a small chance of winning, whereas the Browns tangle with many more middle-of-the-road teams (Ravens, Chargers, Steelers possibly without Ben Roethlisberger), and the Bears can eke out a few just by Jay Cutler lobbing it up to Alshon Jeffrey. That leaves San Francisco and a lackluster roster that has been particularly ineffective on defense since a season-ending injury to linebacker NaVorro Bowman. At this point San Fran's D is giving up over 400 yards a game, seemingly incapable of stalling any drive. Chip Kelly’s playcalling has been adequate but there is only so much you can do with the cards you were dealt. Perhaps selecting a quarterback at the top of the 2017 draft will change this franchise’s trajectory for the better.

 

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