In 2017, the San Francisco 49ers got some massive production from their day three picks. This was something not seen in quite some time. You can’t go to better production than George Kittle, but Trent Taylor showed up as a decent slot receiver, and D.J. Jones planted the seeds to take Earl Mitchell’s job after 2018.
The 2018 day three picks weren’t as flashy. D.J. Reed didn’t see the field as often as you’d expect. Marcell Harris didn’t show up until late in the season. Jullian Taylor had a strong showing at training camp but was stuck behind a deep defensive line. Richie James showed some stuff as a kick returner with that awesome house call against the Seattle Seahawks, but may not make the roster with all the wide receivers the 49ers have now.
There’s essential depth to find on day three, but there’s also that chance that some of those picks will rise and earn starting jobs. The 49ers made five selections on day three of the 2019 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at them.
P Mitch Wishnowsky
Yeah! Another chance to talk about the punter! Mitch Wishnowsky was selected in the fourth round. A bit early for a punter, but if you see this guy’s tape, you can at least understand the thinking process behind it. Wishnowsky had a 40 time of 4.63 at the NFL Combine. He’s got wheels for when the 49ers want to run that fake punt go-around.
If all goes well, Wishnowsky could be the impact player of 2019. Well, of the day three picks anyway.
LB Dre Greenlaw
If you look at Dre Greenlaw the man and not the player, it has already been made apparent he’s a good dude. After his selection, a story surfaced where he saved a girl from what could have been a traumatic situation. The event happened during Greenlaw’s freshman year and kept under wraps until his drafting. There’s more than just that, Greenlaw spent his childhood in and out of foster homes until getting adopted by his defensive coordinator in high school.
Dre Greenlaw the player is a bit of a different story. With the 49ers having Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner in the wings, Greenlaw can learn the finer points of the defense. His college tape has shown he’s good against the pass and that may be where he’ll be utilized in 2019. Greenlaw right now offers great special teams value and can be used in sub-packages while he gets himself acclimated to the NFL game, but maybe he shows something and takes a starting gig from someone?
TE Kaden Smith
The 49ers needed an upgrade at tight end. George Kittle needed his sidekick for the George Kittle show. Garrett Celek was disappointing in 2018, though this can be attributed to a broken thumb he dealt with. Injury or not, Celek wasn’t making the catches and the 49ers needed depth regardless. Two tight ends and a merry-go-round for a third could lead to big problems later.
Smith isn’t looking to take Celek’s spot. He wants to compete with George Kittle one day. Can he do it? Only time will tell. If Kittle is what makes Smith’s motor go, he could have himself a monster rookie season. Smith has the height at 6 feet, five inches. He has the weight at 255 pounds. His biggest issue has been speed. Right now, he could be a considerable red zone threat with his size. If he can get his speed down, the 1-2 tight end punch the 49ers offer could be special.
And then, Celek. Well, Celek Time is a broken clock at that point.
OT Justin Skule
The 49ers have two good offensive tackles in Mike McGlinchey and Joe Staley. Given where he was drafted, if Skule sees the field, he either was one of the largest diamonds in the rough in NFL history or something has gone horribly, horribly wrong with the starters. Skule will be competing with Shon Coleman for the swing tackle role. Besides that, Skule will be learning, and the best we could hope for is he is groomed as the heir apparent to Joe Staley in a couple of years.
CB Tim Harris
The 49ers made everyone happy with their final pick in the draft being secondary. Tim Harris doesn’t have many tapes on him, and given how loaded the 49ers cornerbacks look on paper, he’s offering special teams value. His biggest problem is he hasn’t played much football. Harris has a lot to learn and needs to focus on beating out Greg Mabin along with staying healthy for a full season.