Sakamoto: QB Vernon Adams Solidifies 3rd Round Grade With East/West Shrine Bowl

(Cole Elsasser/Emerald)

(Cole Elsasser/Emerald)

We all knew the San Francisco 49ers were doing their ‘due diligence‘ on Oregon QB Vernon Adams leading up to the East/West Shrine Bowl and now we know why as the Oregon product displayed plenty of poise while shattering a shrine bowl record in the process.

A diminutive quarterback who reminds me a little bit of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in terms of extending plays, Adams did not disappoint as he completed 6 of 9 passes for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns (including a 93-yard TD which set a new record for longest TD pass since 1926).

However, aside from the gaudy stats, it’s his leadership inside the huddle and on the sidelines which had me impressed. When Adams wasn’t in the game you can see him continuing to coach up the quarterbacks on the field while giving pointers on what to look for downfield.

Something that Adams took advantage of as he used multiple pump fakes to freeze the single-high safety, Adams then exploited that weakness as he hooked up with Purdue WR Danny Anthrop for a 93-yard touchdown score.

A very fundamentally sound football player who understands the position, where does Adams project to go in this year’s upcoming NFL draft? While, pro days, measurables, and combine have yet to take place, I gave Adams a 3rd round grade.

The 49ers who hold the No. 68 pick in the 3rd round and No. 100 pick in the 4th round should strongly consider Adams here as I believe it would be a great value selection.

However, while Adams garnered the headlines it was another player on the opposite team that had me impressed as well, as small-school standout DE/OLB Victor Ochi proved his worth.

The Stony Brook pass-rush specialist was playing defensive end in the 4-3 base during the East/West Shrine game, but would likely transition into a OLB force in an odd-man front. A little bit of a ‘tweener’ as Ochi is 6-1, 244, he does have the arm-length that GM Trent Baalke loves as they measure 33.5-inches.

In fact, I would take Ochi in the 4th or 5th round if he’s still available. The 49ers desperately need a pass-rusher opposite of third-year OLB Aaron Lynch and Ochi could be that guy. His 13 sacks in 2015, led FCS and was named the CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year, so you know what you’re getting in Ochi. But with no NFL team ever drafting a Stony Brook player, history looks to be going against him and he will have to show up at his pro day if he hopes to have any chance of being selected.

With the 49ers continuing to do their due diligence on college prospects, it will be the Senior Bowl that’s coming up next, as the 49ers fell in love DB Jimmie Ward, SS Jaquiski Tartt, TE Vance McDonald, among others in year’s past.

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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.