The Niners have a few positions they need to address this offseason, including cornerback, the offensive line, safety and defensive line.
Last year, general manager moved both up and down in the first round. Lynch sent the No. 13 selection and a seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 14th selection and a third-rounder. The 49ers took defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, at 14.
Later in the first round, San Francisco made a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to get the receiver it desperately needed.
Lynch sent Nos. 31, 117 and 176 to the Vikings in exchange for the 25th overall pick, which the Niners used on Brandon Aiyuk.
We could see the 49ers move their pick in April if the front office has their sights set on a specific prospect. Lynch has dealt the team’s first-round selection twice in the four years since taking over as general manager. San Francisco traded back one spot in 2017 and landed defensive lineman Solomon Thomas No. 3. It also stood pat to get right tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 in 2018, followed by Nick Bosa in 2019.
According to Arrowhead Pride’s model, the offensive line has the highest positional success rate for first-round selections, while wide receiver, running back and defensive line have the lowest:
The numbers show us the following outline for finding consistent starters:
1st Round - OL (83%) LB (70%) TE (67%) DB (64%) QB (63%) WR (58%) RB (58%) DL (58%)
San Francisco has immediate needs at two of the top four positions listed above, with center and DBs being at the top of the priority list. According to Benjamin Ellinger of Football Outsiders, the Niners rank fifth in draft return between 2010 and 2019. Ellinger’s model also says San Francisco has the second-most draft capital out of any NFL team over the same time frame.
This is the first time in franchise history that the 49ers hold the No. 12 pick.
Here are the players who went 12th in the NFL Draft since 2010:
2010: RB Ryan Mathews - Chargers
2011: QB Christian Ponder - Vikings
2012: DT Fletcher Cox - Eagles
2013: CB D.J. Hayden - Raiders
2014: WR Odell Beckham Jr - Giants
2015: DT Danny Shelton - Browns
2016: DT Sheldon Rankins Saints
2017: QB Deshaun Watson - Texans
2018: DT Vita Vea - Buccaneers
2019: OLB Rashan Gary - Packers
2020: WR Henry Ruggs - Raiders
Giving Gary and Ruggs a pass for being recent picks, the 49ers have a 44.4% chance to land a player who will make at least one Pro Bowl based on the nine players chosen 12th between 2010 and 2018.
Cox, Beckham Jr. and Watson are the cream of the crop, with the trio combining for 12 Pro Bowls.
Hayden, Shelton, Rankins and Vea have all been solid contributors at points throughout their careers. The only bust of the group is Ponder, who last played in the NFL during the 2016 season with the Chip Kelly-led Niners.
Gary played 15 games for Green Bay last season, finishing with 34 tackles, 5.0 sacks and 11 QB hits. Ruggs had a decent rookie year with Las Vegas, racking up 26 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns.
NFLmockdraftdatabase.com compiles data from 98 first-round mock drafts, 104 team-based mocks and 10 big boards to give us the consensus selections. According to their model, Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle is No. 12 on the consensus big board, but they have him going one spot earlier to the New York Giants.
NFLmockdraftdatabase.com has San Francisco projected to take South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn at No. 12, which would fill an immediate need for the 49ers’ secondary that has nine players up for free agency this offseason. Horn, Patrick Surtain and Caleb Farley are projected to be the first three corners taken this year.
All of this can change leading up to April. Teams will meet with prospects and analyze their performance at the NFL Draft Combine, which will undoubtedly affect their big boards.
Which prospects do you have your eye on with the No. 12 pick?