We’ve passed the first wave of free agency, and we have a good idea of what the San Francisco 49ers needs are moving forward. Everyone knows a wide receiver is on the way. Some still believe an interior lineman is the next biggest need. The other positions of needs include cornerback, defensive tackle, and upgrading at TE2.
The NFL Draft is exactly one month from Monday. Most mock drafts have the 49ers locked in to take a wideout at pick No. 13. The names have been consistent. It’s either Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, or Henry Ruggs. On Saturday, we discussed the idea of other positions at the top of the first round, but it seemed to be consistent in the fact that many 49ers’ fans still wanted to roll with a wide receiver, no matter who is available.
Now that the 49ers have two selections in the first round let’s talk about the worst-case scenario.
What is your worst-case scenario for the 49ers in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft?
My answer: A scenario where Lamb and Jeudy are gone, and let’s say Kyle Shanahan isn’t sold on Ruggs, and all of the top defensive tackles and cornerback C.J. Henderson is gone. The theory where you “draft for talent and not for need” will be tested. You don’t want to force a pick at No. 13. And no, you’re not getting bailed out by a trade. What do you do, Lynch?
My worst-case scenario is taking a lineman at No. 13. The value never adds up. To me, if you are picking that high in the draft, you have to come away with an impact player. A player that can either score or prevent scores. In Shanahan’s offense, we’ve seen players like Daniel Brunskill excel at tackle and guard, and the same with Ben Garland, and even Mike Person to a lesser extent. You don’t need to invest highly in a lineman, especially one that will play out of position for a season or two if he is Joe Staley’s replacement. Drafting a lineman at No. 13 would feel like a swing and a miss to me.
Let’s say that hypothetical scenario happens where the 49ers take a non-Tristan Wirfs lineman with their first pick in the first round. At No. 31, now the top receiving targets are gone, and let’s add Denzel Mims, Jordan Jefferson, and Tee Higgins to the list. You’re in a position where any wideout you take here is about 10-15 picks too high. Your phone isn’t ringing because the run on quarterbacks already happened. Do you take a cornerback that probably isn’t a first-round talent? Or are you taking a defensive lineman to replace DeForest Buckner? I’m throwing out alternate scenarios because it feels too good to be true where everything falls into place for the 49ers.