Well, that was an exciting first round.
The San Francisco 49ers came into the 2020 NFL Draft with the No. 13 and No. 31 picks, but didn’t end up selecting at either slot.
General manager John Lynch did what was expected and moved back, sending the 13th and 245th picks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Nos. 14 and 117 picks.
With receivers Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb on the board, many felt the 49ers were selecting a pass catcher. Instead, San Francisco used its first pick on another defensive lineman, taking South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw, who will come in and take the departed DeForest Buckner’s place. Kinlaw is powerful and defends against the run well, but will need to work on consistency in order to live up to his draft slot.
The drama surrounding what Lynch and Kyle Shanahan would do with their second first-round pick was short lived. The Niners swapped the Nos. 31, 117 (from TB), and 176 selections to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the 25th pick. San Francisco used that pick to address its need for a receiver and took Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, who has a ridiculous wingspan and can make big plays after the catch. The knock on him is his ability to make contested catches and needing to refine his route running.
This was a wild first round for the 49ers, who don’t have another selection until the fifth round, 156th overall.
I was hoping Lynch would take a receiver with the first pick, especially with Lamb there for the taking. Kinlaw addresses a need, but they could have found another DT at No. 117, the pick the Niners received from the Bucs.
Moving up to take Aiyuk definitely took me by surprise, especially considering the draft capital it took to get there. I really like USC’s Michael Pittman, who would have been available at No. 31.
The jury will be out on the Aiyuk pick. Deebo Samuel had a very good rookie season, while Dante Pettis has been a total bust so far. We will see where Aiyuk falls on the spectrum.
Overall, I am very happy with Kinlaw. He will come in and start right away and should have a major impact playing with an already talented defensive line.
My concern with Aiyuk is how fast he will develop. The Niners window to win a Super Bowl is now, so having him contribute soon is imperative.
I’m inclined to believe in Lynch and Shanahan based off what they have done since taking over, but I am hoping this doesn’t end up being similar to the value they got out of their two first-rounders in 2017.
How do you grade the 49ers’ first-round?
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