Leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, every pundit and analyst told us that the class was loaded at the wide receiver position. A year later, that proved to be correct. Where are the strong points of this year's draft?
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton believes the strength is at quarterback, offensive line, linebacker, and wide receiver. After that, he lists cornerback, running back, tight end, and safety.
The San Francisco 49ers are in the market for several positions, so let’s talk through each.
We’ve talked ad nauseam about this position, and that’s not slowing down anytime soon. Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance are all going in the first round and likely in the top-15.
Mac Jones or Kyle Trask could sneak into the bottom of the first. Both those players feel more like Day 2 prospects. Six quarterbacks going in the top-40 feel likely. Let’s play the guessing game on where each will land.
The 49ers are in a difficult spot to land a QB as several teams select ahead of them in the upcoming draft who have a more dire need for a QB.
Penei Sewell from Oregon feels like the next sure thing at offensive tackle, while Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater made Chase Young look mortal in 2019. Both players are expected to be selected in the top-10. Christian Darrisaw is another popular name in mock drafts. The former Virginia Tech Hokie earned first-team All-ACC honors this past season. USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker is another potential name at tackle.
The 49ers won’t need an offensive tackle if they retain Trent Williams. Re-sign him, and your issue at left tackle is solved.
Along the interior is where San Francisco must improve, and this class has plenty of options. Landon Dickerson tore his ACL in the SEC Championship game, and I imagine the 2020 Rimington Trophy winner’s draft stock will take a slight hit because of it. Ohio State’s center and right guard, Josh Meyers and Wyatt Davis should be available for the 49ers in the second round.
The second round is where we’d likely see a run on offensive lineman, which could carry into the third. I haven’t watched enough of the players personally, but looking around at people’s big boards, a lot of linemen are ranked from the 40s-60s.
We’ll skip linebacker and wide receiver as it’d be a surprise to see San Francisco invest in either position with their first three picks. I wouldn’t rule a defensive lineman out for any selection.
CBS lists Kwity Paye of Michigan at No. 7 overall. Miami’s Greg Rousseau at No. 14. Patrick Jones of Pittsburgh at 31, and Quincy Roche from the Hurricanes at No. 48. The only player I’ve seen is Jones, and no, thank you that early.
The 49ers need to add athleticism on the edge. That was noticeably lacking this past season. The odds of Dee Ford returning in 2021 are slim, so San Francisco will look to add another speed rusher, whether that’s through the draft or during free agency.