The San Francisco 49ers selected five players in the 2020 NFL Draft and added one of the best left tackles in the past decade. The Niners draft class received raved reviews from pundits. Since there won’t be OTAs or minicamps due to the coronavirus pandemic, we won’t get to see these players practice for months. Let’s look at the draft class from a different approach than your traditional letter grades.
Best bang for your buck
OT Trent Williams, Washington
During our podcast with former Niners All-Pro cornerback Eric Davis, when asked about acquiring Williams, Davis said, “We got better. That’s no knock on Staley. Trent is just better. When full speed, Williams is arguably the best-left tackle in football. If you want to know anything about what you’re getting with Williams, there’s a play against the Chargers where [Melvin] Ingram beats him with an inside spin move, and Williams spins back the opposite way and cuts him off [Eric is laughing as this point.]
Here is the play Davis is talking about:
How Trent Williams handled Ingram/Bosa was something else. This recovery just doesn’t happen pic.twitter.com/NAePuqxwsz— KP (@KP_Show) December 12, 2017
No matter how you slice it, the 49ers giving up a fifth-round pick this year for a player the caliber of Williams is a win. The move to acquire Williams showed that John Lynch believes his team can get back to the promised land. The 2020 version of the 49ers will be the best team Williams has been apart of. To me, he’s going to show up to training camp in the best shape of his life, ready to win, ready to earn what may be his final contract, and ready to lead, show up in the national spotlight and show out. I’m pretty excited about Williams.
The 49ers didn’t address the secondary this draft, and that was one of my bold predictions. On the one hand, San Francisco wasn’t going to draft a player that would unseat either of their starters. I can see the move as a vote of confidence for the players already on the roster. The issue is after 2020. Now, you go into next offseason, hoping that Emmanuel Moseley or Ahkello Witherspoon took the next step in their developments. If not, Lynch will have to open the checkbook in free agency, or cornerback is at the top of the “needs list.” Jaquiski Tartt is also a free agent in 2021. It’s tough to argue adding multiple players in the trenches, but the future is full of questions and hope in the secondary.
Should’ve been a Niner
Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State
Love going in the trenches, San Francisco was just on the wrong side of the ball. Weaver was selected 11 spots after McKivitz. With Ronald Blair still recovering from injury, the 49ers could stand to use depth at edge rusher. Weaver would be an ideal backup, especially on a 49ers roster that is stacked on the defensive line. Weaver won a ton in college. He’s not going to wow with athleticism, and that’s likely why Weaver was still available. Weaver is strong and played inside as well. His versatility, production, and fit should have made Weaver a Niner at this point in the draft.
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Kinlaw is precisely what San Francisco needed, a dominant interior defensive lineman. The drop-off in the draft after Kinlaw falls off a cliff at his position. He’s aggressive, strong, athletic, and eats blockers. Oh, and he won as a pass rusher. Kinlaw had the highest pass-rush win rate f any defensive tackle during the past two seasons. This is coming from a player that gets the “raw” label. I liken Kinlaw to the Chiefs’ Chris Jones coming out of college. Jones won so much in college that is was painfully obvious he’d be a star in the pros.
That’s the same with Kinlaw.
Best draft day background
We’re on a call with Kinlaw and he has a pop-a-shot in his living room. how was he not the first overall pick!?!? pic.twitter.com/2qPAzmJbzU— KP (@KP_Show) April 24, 2020
How can you argue against someone that has a basketball hoop in their living room?
UDFA with the best chance to make the roster
DL Darrion Daniel
The Niners have a strong UDFA class. There is always a chance for a running back to make the team. Jonas Griffith at linebacker as a chance as well, but I’m rolling with Daniel. There isn’t a true run-stuffer along the defensive line outside of DJ Jones, and someone will need to give DJ a breather. It’s a perfect opportunity for Daniel to earn a job and replace Sheldon Day.