The NFL Draft is still on for April 23, but offseason activities after the draft have been postponed indefinitely. ESPN went through each NFL team to see who would be hurt the most by a lost offseason. Here’s what Nick Wagoner chose for the San Francisco 49ers:
Rookie defensive tackles, wide receivers
To-be-determined early draft picks. The Niners have a lot of continuity with their roster and their coaching staff, bringing back all of their coordinators and most of the players from their NFC championship team. But they did lose star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. Neither has an obvious, accomplished replacement, and the 49ers didn’t acquire any in free agency, which means they will have to do it in the draft. San Francisco owns the Nos. 13 and 31 picks in the first round, and whether those picks are made at receiver, defensive tackle, or elsewhere, whoever comes in will be asked to contribute early. That’s a task that will be made more difficult in a condensed timeline, particularly for a receiver hoping to learn coach Kyle Shanahan’s intricate offensive system. — Nick Wagoner
Continuity was big for the 49ers in 2019. Not having OTAs and minicamp would be a big loss for the rookie class, especially at receiver and defensive tackle, and slow the relationships that would be built over the offseason. Last May, Deebo Samuel was wide-eyed and moving 100 miles per hour, right or wrong. As minicamp passed and the offseason went along, Samuel became more comfortable with his surroundings and teammates. Once that happened, Deebo looked like the receiver the 49ers drafted.
Getting rookies in the building and getting them accustomed to the NFL schedule speeds up their development. Players think they know what’s in store for them, but, to a man, the culture shock of having to learn an entire playbook in a new setting and being out of your element for the first time in at least three years throws you off.
What position do you think would hurt the 49ers the most in a shortened offseason?