The 2024 NFL draft has always been a big deal for the 49ers’ immediate future. They need to start figuring out what the next iteration of their roster looks like with so many core players either. aging out of their primes or being priced out of the 49ers’ budget. However, general manager John Lynch on Monday in a press conference indicated a different way the team will have the future in mind in the draft.

Lynch revealed that 83 draft-eligible players the 49ers put grades on at the start of the 2023 college football season went back to school instead of entering the draft. He also said that could impact how San Francisco operates in this year’s selection process.

“I was just looking at my notes and like one interesting thing to me, dynamic in the way of the world right now, we put a grade on players in the fall if we think there’s a more than 50-percent chance that they’re going to be in this Draft,” Lynch said. “So 83 players from this year’s class that we put grades on (returned to school). So thinking there’s more than a 50-percent chance, thinking they’re entering the Draft, are back in college because of NIL and things like that. There’s now a different route these kids can take and 35 of those are with starter grades. So that’s a significant amount. And how that affects this Draft, it’s gonna be interesting.”

This could mean a couple of things. The 49ers may be looking to acquire future picks when they move around the board during the draft. It might also affect what positions they’re selecting this year knowing there could be quality at other positions in next year’s class.

For now though the 49ers need to ensure they’re getting quality players in the 2024 draft. Finding a couple of starters this year would take some pressure off the next few seasons, which is helpful no matter how good the team thinks a particular draft class will be.


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