As a Fansided site we are participating in an on going 2014 NFL Mock Draft with some of the Local and NFL sites of Fansided. You can follow the on going draft here to see all of the picks leading to our selection below. Follow along as we complete all 32 teams First Round Picks.
Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, Cornerback: The San Francisco 49ers select Loucheiz Purifoy with the 30th pick. Purifoy will help to provide the Niners with some much needed secondary depth, as they will likely have only two starting caliber players on their depth chart come draft time. He would come in and compete with Darryl Morris and a combination of another draft pick or free agent to be a part of the Niners’ nickel package. Purifoy’s size, speed, strength, and play-making ability push him ahead of several other options at cornerback, such as his teammate Marcus Roberson and Jason Verrett. Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews was also considered, but he lacks the ability to be a consistent deep threat to be considered a first round wide receiver.
Purifoy is potential personified with his physical attributes mixed with his raw coverage abilities. Purifoy was one of the top rated corner prospects heading into the draft, but an up and down 2013 season saw his draft stock take a hit. Purifoy has the ability to be an elite cover corner, but he needs to refine his technique and become a more consistent tackler. Niners’ defensive back coach Ed Donatell is one of the best in the business and his work with undrafted rookie Tremaine Brock should show you that he could mold that immense potential of Purifoy into a future All-Pro.
The Niners have a very talented roster with very few holes, but their major draft needs are wide receiver, cornerback, offensive line depth, and safety. Many experts are saying the Niners need defensive line depth with Justin Smith getting older, but they are not taking into account that the Niners were without three talented young plays due to injury. Expect to hear the names of Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, and Ian Williams a lot during the offseason workouts.
As for their needs, only wide receiver or cornerback seems to be their best bet to find impact players at that position. With many of the top receivers and cornerbacks off the board already the Niners select a player that should see his draft stock rebound during combine and pro-day period.
Marcus Roberson out of Florida is another player that the Niners would look heavily into with his size, length, and coverage. He is a smooth and fluid athlete, but he has been dealing with injuries and durability issues his entire career at Florida. Those concerns will likely hold Roberson in the second or third round.
Jason Verrett out of TCU was almost the selection with his coverage ability, speed, and his ability to make plays on the ball. He should be a first round selection, but he does not have the size that teams are now looking for in their secondary. The Niners like guys with good size on their defense, which could cause them to push Verrett further down their draft boards.
As for wide receiver, the Niners are looking for a big time play-maker that can challenge the big bodies of the Seattle secondary. Guys like Kelvin Benjamin and Allen Robinson would be the ideal players to fit that mold, but they are both off of the board. The receivers left fill the need of a deep threat or a big body, but do not combine both.
Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt is the one play they look to take with their first round pick. Matthews has great size and bulk and he combines that with great route running and hands. He also has good bloodlines being a cousin of Jerry Rice. The biggest knock on him is his lack of speed and to separate from defensive backs, especially down the field.
Some smaller, speedy receivers that could interest San Francisco are Odell Beckham, Jr, Bradin Cooks, and Paul Richardson. These players have break away speed that could give the Niners’ offense a deep threat and a game breaker on offense and special teams. These players, while they fill a need, do not provide the size to defeat press man to man coverage from the bigger corners that are becoming more prevalent.
Overall, Purifoy’s immense physical talents and coverage ability create a sense that he has the potential to be a special player in the NFL. He will probably be used in the Niners’ nickel package and on special teams next season. Purifoy is a special player on special teams and could provide an immediate impact there, while he works his way into the defensive back rotation.