San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Today we’ll focus on positions and not so much the prospects.

With plenty of uncertainty around the San Francisco 49ers in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, the only thing sure is that the 49ers have plenty of options.

With a Super Bowl-caliber roster already in hand, the 49ers have several needs, with a Day 1 pick for the first time since 2021 and a second-round pick for the first time since 2022. However, how they choose to use those early picks can go any which way.

This series won’t be as much about the players but trying to figure out which positions the 49ers could consider with its first three selections. Perhaps calling it a mock thought process would be better than a mock draft. Regardless of what it’s called, this is the first of a weekly series up until the draft where we try to guess what position San Francisco goes within the first three rounds:

First selection (Scheduled selection: Round 1, pick 31): Offensive line

This could change with a Brandon Aiyuk trade before April 25th, but I don’t foresee that happening, so let’s play by those rules.

The drama in this selection is not what position John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan will take but where they will select from. With as deep an offensive line class as this is – some mock drafts have as many as double-digit offensive linemen going in the first round – there can be some quality found at No. 31. Amarius Mims, Jordan Morgan, and Graham Barton have been popular selections among mock drafts, with the majority of those mocks keeping the 49ers at 31.

But let’s venture into the mid-to-late teens and see some names that could be hard in the area. Joe Alt likely won’t fall out of the top 10 as the consensus No. 1 lineman in the draft, but after his name is called, how the rest fall will be interesting. Taliese Fuaga, Olu Fashanu, and Troy Fautanu are popular in the teen to early 20s in most mocks that could be within earshot for a 49ers move-up.

There’s also a case for taking the best available player at 31, but I would assume that would take a specific player to fall to the 49ers. If that name does not fall, expect the offensive line to be addressed first.

Second selection (Round 2, pick 63): Wide receiver

Again, let’s live in a world where Brandon Aiyuk is still a 49er when we wake up on Day 2 of the draft. Not only would a receiver here be a help to the 2024 season, but it could be a step to solve some looming issues at the position next offseason.

Aiyuk and Samuel led the 49ers in receptions in 2023 by a wide margin, with Jauan Jennings coming in at a distant third. The trio figure is to be heavy again in the 2024 plans, but beyond that, it is a question. Fourth-leading receiver Ray-Ray McCloud is now in Atlanta, and last year’s seventh-round pick Ronnie Bell only had six receptions in his rookie season. The depth could be better at the position, and former receiver Kyle Shanahan should look to snag a receiver with one of the ten picks.

But the motivation to use a pick as early as 63 on a receiver will be found in 2025. With Samuel’s contract becoming more moveable, his name could be floated again in trade rumors, with the 49ers ideally having secured Aiyuk to his extension this summer.

Shanahan has hit on receivers before with his second selections, with both Aiyuk and Samuel being the 49ers’ second pick in their respective drafts (to be fair, Dante Pettis was the 49ers’ second selection in 2018), so there’s been some good luck in the past.

Some names to watch here include Malachi Corley, Xavier Legette, and Ricky Pearsall.

Third Selection (Round 3, pick 94): Secondary

A few weeks ago, this selection would have just been a cornerback. But over the last few weeks, there have been some rumblings about Talanoa Hufanga’s long-term future. Safety could be addressed early on if those rumors are to be believed.

Hufanga injured his knee last November but could be ready to go by Week 1 this upcoming season. Tashaun Gipson remains a free agent, which leaves Ji’Ayir Brown as the only healthy safety currently on the roster. Numbers-wise, there’s obviously a need, but the free agent safety market has moved slowly, so it’s always possible the 49ers will address the position in the weeks before the draft.

If we don’t believe the Hufanga rumors or the 49ers address the position before the draft, the cornerback room could use another option. The 49ers signed Isaac Yiadom to play across Charvarius Ward, which kicks Deommordore Lenoir into the slot. After that, Ambry Thomas, Samuel Womack, and Darrell Luter have varying production and playing time levels.

The 49ers entered the 2023 season with five cornerbacks on the initial 53-man roster, resulting in Logan Ryan getting meaningful snaps in the Super Bowl after signing with San Francisco in December. Shanahan Lynch would be wise to try to load the position up before camp.

Read More

About the Author: Insidethe49

Insidethe49 Site Staff

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!