First in a series looking at potential candidates for the 49ers’ first-round selection when they draft No. 9 overall on April 26:
49ers draft prospect: Roquan Smith
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 236 pounds
Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts to winning the game MVP trophy after beating the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Why he fits the 49ers: Reuben Foster’s unreliable status – he’s charged with felony domestic violence and weapons possession, and he likely faces a NFL suspension – could prompt the 49ers to take Smith and line him up next to veteran Malcolm Smith (no relation). Last season’s Butkus Award winner as college football’s top linebacker, Roquan Smith led Georgia to the national championship game. He can use his speed and instincts to quickly transition to a starting role if Foster’s career is at least put on hold.
Why he doesn’t: His size doesn’t overpower opponents and he’ll need to pack on more upper-body muscle, though not much. This position always needs depth, but it perhaps doesn’t necessitate a first-round pick for a second straight year, not with Foster still on the roster. The 49ers somewhat already addressed the need for a Foster replacement (at least during a potential suspension) by re-signing Brock Coyle and adding former Chargers starter Korey Toomer.
Scouting report: Exceptional athletic skill as evidenced by his high school days as an outstanding wide receiver. Fast enough so running backs often can’t turn the corner when he’s on the field, and athletic enough to play in space against multi-receiver sets. Big-time leader who holds himself and teammates accountable. A bit undersized for the inside, but at the same time looks to deliver a blow. A sideline-to-sideline presence.
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Quotable: “I was always taught, if you start something, finish. And take advantage of every opportunity. And tomorrow is not promised. If it’s my last play that I ever play, how do I want to go out? So I feel like every play, I treat it like it’s my last play. And I bust my tail like I don’t have a next play,” Smith responding to a question about his relentless pursuit at the NFL scouting combine.
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports