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Mock draft has Witherspoon and Oliver competing for a starting cornerback spot

Mel Kiper has another Buffalo heading to the Bay Area.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

If Mel Kiper Jr. was the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, you’d see a pair of former Colorado Buffaloes competing for the same position this fall.

The ESPN football analyst released his 2018 Grade: A three-round mock draft last week, in which he plays the general manager for each team through the first three rounds of this month’s NFL Draft.

Here were the ground rules for Kiper’s three-round mock draft:

1. At each slot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick

2. No trades. I try to address team needs, but as with the actual draft, value can supersede need.

3. I’m not projecting picks. This is more of a look at where I see value up and down the board, based on my rankings.

In round two (59thoverall), Kiper Jr. had the 49ers taking Buffaloes cornerback Isaiah Oliver. Kiper’s reasoning?

“Oliver fills the hole at cornerback, as he can compete with Ahkello Witherspoon for the spot opposite Richard Sherman (if the longtime Seahawks corner is healthy),” he wrote. If Kiper’s prediction were to come true, this would be one hell of a competition.

Oliver, who defended 32 passes in three seasons at CU, is projected by many to be a late first-round/early second-round selection. Witherspoon, a third-round selection a year ago, emerged into a force in San Francisco’s secondary last fall. In 12 games (9 starts) for the 49ers, he compiled 28 tackles, seven passes defended, two interceptions and one forced fumble.

Here’s how Witherspoon and Oliver’s NFL combine numbers compare:


HEIGHT: 6’3” 6’1”

WEIGHT: 198 201

ARM LENGTH: 33” 33 4/8”

HANDS: 9 7/8” 9 6/8”

40-YARD DASH: 4.45 4.5

Kiper’s ESPN counterpart Todd McShay also played general manager and sees Oliver playing across the bay after being selected 41st overall by the Oakland Raiders.