When the name Kentavius Street was announced to the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, it was quickly followed by the notification that he was fresh-off a torn ACL. This brought memories of the Trent Baalke era and a seemingly disturbing amount of picks with knee injuries. It didn’t help skepticism when some draft reports had a fourth or fifth round grade—before the injury.
Well, maybe this will soften the blow: the 49ers weren’t the only team after Street in the fourth.
In an article appearing on in the MMQB, Peter King pointed out that the 49ers weren’t the only team considering Street in the 4th round:
Street, a North Carolina State defensive end prospect (lesser prospect than Bradley Chubb, obviously), is rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in a private workout for the Giants a month ago. Amazing little story. The Falcons, Saints and Niners all liked him a lot. His college line coach until last season, Ryan Nielsen, took the Saints’ D-line job last year, and he told the Saints that ACL or no, Street would be a great pro player. In the fourth round Atlanta had pick 126, New Orleans 127 and San Francisco 128. Atlanta considered him but took a running back, Ito Smith. The Saints considered him and took a tackle, Rick Leonard. The Niners picked Street, a gutsy move by GM John Lynch for a 2018 redshirt player. The Saints and Falcons could both have picked Street with their next choices. Those are the things that make GMs wince.
‘Could’ and ‘would’ are two different words and there’s no predicting what would happen if the 49ers went a different direction than Street. Other options were available, but the 49ers felt taking Street and slapping a 2018 redshirt on him was the better pick than anyone who would have been able to compete in training camp that year.
Let’s hope the Falcons and Saints don’t breathe a sigh of relief in a year.