During his video conference Monday, San Francisco 49ers John Lynch repeatedly referred to “foundational players” in the draft. Specifically, Lynch said there were six foundational players in the draft. That’s another way of saying “superstar” or “building blocks.” Going into a draft with six foundation players and picking at No. 13 is a sign you’re looking to trade down. Who are the six? Let’s start with the no brainers, assuming no quarterbacks.
Edge Chase Young, CB Jeff Okudah, Football player, Isaiah Simmons
Lynch made it clear that he wants to build this defense through the defensive line. Some evaluators feel Young is better than Nick Bosa. Young is objectively one of the six best players in the draft.
The 49ers have a pair of talented young cornerbacks, but that wouldn’t stop them from drafting the best cornerback in the draft. In a world where four tackles, a cornerback not named Okudah, three quarterbacks, two receivers, and a defensive lineman come off the board, Lynch smiles from ear-to-ear as he virtually selects Okudah.
Simmons is likely to go in the top-10, but as we saw a couple of years ago with Derwin James, the NFL doesn’t know what to do with positionless players. If you’re worried about where Simmons would play in San Francisco, don’t. Put him on the field and let Simmons make plays.
DT Derrick Brown, OT Tristan Wirfs, CB C.J. Henderson
The NFL loves Auburn’s defensive tackle Derrick Brown, and he’s likely a safe bet to go top-10. I’m counting Brown as one of the six “foundational players” on the 49ers board.
The difficult part is figuring out which offensive lineman the team covets? Alabama’s Jedrick Wills has only played on the right side and at tackle. Wills has all of the tools in the world but has a few technical issues that could hold Wills back at the next level. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler reported that Wills had to run the 3-cone drill three different times. That’s not the first time that’s been brought up. Wirfs is 20-years old and has progressed at a scary rate since he was a freshman. Powerful, scheme fit and can play guard or tackle. Wirf is an easy projection. I think the lineman is Wirfs.
After his combine, the 49ers likely covet Henderson, who was much better in 2018 than in 2019. Either way, you can’t deny Henderson’s ability.
While that’s just a hunch about the six “foundational players,” I felt early on in the process there are no “foundational” receivers in this draft. The clear-cut top receivers, Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb, are undeniably talented. That doesn’t mean they’re on that “foundational” level. I’m going with my gut and Lynch’s hints from earlier this week and betting on the 49ers moving out of the 13th pick. As of writing this, my guess is the team lands Alabama’s Henry Ruggs in a trade down scenario.
Who would you guess the six players are?