Yes. Even after Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett (presumably) goes No. 1 to the Browns, the 49ers would be reaching if they tried to jump on a quarterback. The team also is not in a luxury position to take another offensive skill player, and the best offensive linemen in this class aren’t worth such high picks.
Although a safety such as LSU’s Jamal Adams or Ohio State’s Malik Hooker wouldn’t be shocking, San Francisco’s choice should come down to a couple of defensive lineman, Stanford’s Solomon Thomas or Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. Thomas is a better scheme fit and has the better overall pass-rush potential wherever he lines up in the 3-4. GM John Lynch can kick off his drafting career with a fellow Cardinal product who can be a cornerstone.
But will any of these first-round series end in an upset? The consensus from our panel is no. The Clippers-Jazz matchup is the closest, but most of our voters believe Los Angeles will emerge. Even Houston-Oklahoma City, which is a competitive battle between top MVP candidates Russell Westbrook and James Harden, is a series most believe the favorite will win.
That said, most of us are expecting these series to go long. Only a few of us predicted sweeps, even with the most lopsided of series.
The cliche is that leaders lead by example, but a leader’s true power comes from the authority that his subordinates grant him. There’s not much Chris Paul can do when he scores and scores, yet no one responds to his example. There’s not much that he can do when he forces turnovers even against bigger opponents, and his teammates turn around and give up easy buckets. There’s not much that he can do when he creates and his teammates miss great opportunities.