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2020 NFL Draft: 49ers first-round preview

The 49ers have two picks in round one, and it is anyone’s guess how things will play out

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL Draft is almost here! With the sports world on hiatus, having the event go on, albeit virtually, is a welcome sight for all of us.

The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to pick twice in the first round, after trading star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 selection.

There have been plenty of rumors about what general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will do during the first round.

One thing we do know if that the 49ers need to add an impact player or two to help keep the team amongst the NFL’s elite for the foreseeable future.

With holes at wide receiver, the defensive and offensive lines plus at corner, there are plenty of options available.

Let’s dive into how the first-round can playout for the Niners:

The No. 13 pick:

There will be quite a few picks that make sense here for San Francisco, but we won’t know if they picked right for some time.

The most talked-about play here for the Niners has been to draft a pass-catcher after the free-agent departure of Emmanuel Sanders. Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama receivers Jerry Jeudy and Ceedee Lamb being the players most linked with the 49ers. Two teams who are picking ahead of the Niners, the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, being interested in adding a receiver, it remains to be seen which, if any of three are available at No. 13.

Jeudy is regarded as the best route runner in the draft who can make big plays when the ball is in hands. His college teammate Ruggs is on the smaller side at 5-foot-11, but he is as tough as nails over the middle and will give the Niners the deep threat they were missing in 2019. Although he is not a flat-out burner, Lamb is a beast after the catch, which will be put in positions to succeed in Shanahan’s offense.

There are a few other positions the 49ers can bolster with the No. 13 pick. Lynch is confident left tackle Joe Staley should be back in 2020. The Niners are high offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill as well, but Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Jedrcik WIllis Jr. could be on the board when the 49ers make their pick.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is an option who can step in and start right away in the place of Buckner. Florida corner C.J. Henderson should be available and been mocked to the Niners a few times. San Francisco doesn’t have any cornerback under contract for 2021, so this is a position it should address at some point in the draft.

The final option is a trade down to accumulate more picks. The 49ers don’t have a pick again until the fifth-round after No. 31, so if there is a player they like who is sliding, Lynch can pull the trigger here to get a mid-round pick. Lynch says there are six players on his list that the team will use the selection on if they’re available.

The No. 31 pick:

San Francisco could look at LSU’s Justin Jefferson, although NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks has him climbing up draft charts. Jefferson’s versatility is intriguing for a system like Shanahan’s. He can lineup inside and has the ability to beat some corners on the outside as well. USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. might be an option here. The receiver is big and strong, finishing the 2019 season with 95 receptions for 1,222 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Trojans.

Defensive tackles Justin Madubuike and Ross Blacklock could be on the board at No. 31 as well. If Lynch wants to go offensive line here, Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz and Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland are potential fits for Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme.

The most obvious move here for Lynch is to trade down. Draft experts believe there isn’t much of a talent gap between players projected to go late in the first-round through the end of the second.

I think the best move for the Niners is to keep the No. 13 pick and select the player they feel can come in and contribute on day one. Losing Buckner and Sanders leaves a big hole on both sides of the ball, and if you can plug one of those here, it would be a huge win.

The No. 31 pick is where it gets tricky. If there is a player available that Lynch loves, does he keep it and proceed without a Day 2 pick?

Look for the 49ers to deal the 31st selection to a team wanting to have the fifth-year option and get second and fourth in return. I can also see Lynch move back a couple of times and stock up on mid-round picks for Friday.

There has been much more drama surrounding this year’s draft compared to 2019 when Nick Bosa was the overwhelming pick in mock drafts.

What do you think is the best option for the 49ers?

Poll

What should the Niners do with their two first-round picks?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Use No. 13 and trade No. 31
    (974 votes)
  • 9%
    Trade No. 13 and use No. 31
    (191 votes)
  • 11%
    Keep both picks
    (229 votes)
  • 27%
    Trade both picks
    (525 votes)
1919 votes total Vote Now