Thursday was a success for the 49ers as they came away with the quarterback who they wanted all along. On SportsCenter Thursday night, when talking to Scott Van Pelt, general manager John Lynch recalled when Kyle Shanahan called him on a Sunday night in January saying that he wanted Trey Lance.
Now, we turn the page. Here’s a look at the remaining picks for the Niners:
Round 2 (43)
Round 3 (102, compensatory)
Round 4 (117)
Round 5 (155)
Round 5 (172, from Saints)
Round 5 (180, compensatory)
Round 6 (194)
Round 7 (230, from Jets)
Two of those are today. With three fifth-rounders, let’s see if the 49ers package those picks to move up in the second or third round if a player on their board falls.
Let’s take a look at some of the best players available who San Francisco could target.
Five cornerbacks - Tyson Campbell, Paulson Adebo, Kelvin Joseph, Ifeatu Melifonwu, & Asante Samuel Jr.
The 49ers are an injury away from Dontae Johnson taking the field. We’ve said this about 20 times during the pre-draft process, but it’s still hard to wrap your head around a team not drafting a cornerback in the top two rounds in nearly two decades.
The Niners have a great opportunity to change that on Friday as one of these five cornerbacks should be available with the 43rd selection.
Looking at my cornerback rankings, CB2 and CB6-CB9 (in the order above) are all available. Samuel’s size concerns me. Strength was an issue, and his tackling isn’t great. But his instincts, awareness, and pedigree make up for those.
Check out the link for a more in-depth analysis of each player. The 49ers can’t go wrong with either guy. If it’s Campbell, this draft is an A+.
Wait on a wide receiver?
There is going to be a positional run early in the second round. We’ll see if that’s at cornerback or wide receiver. There should be a handful of wideouts available for the 49ers at No. 43:
Top-10 WRs— KP (@KP_Show) March 4, 2021
J. Waddle Rocket Ismail
R. Bateman Allen Rob.
D. Smith Torry Holt-ish
E. Moore D. Baldwin
J. Chase Dez
Dyami B. Jeremy Maclin
D. Eskridge Emmanuel Sanders
R. Moore Deebo
Tylan W. Eric Decker
T. Marshall Pierre Garcon
Kadarius Toney was a reach in the first round to me. He’s more of a projection, and I’m happy the 49ers didn’t go that route.
Elijah Moore would be a grand slam. Dyami Brown, Dwayne Eskridge, and Rondale Moore would all be doubles off the wall.
At the end of the third round, at pick 102, Shanahan would likely have his eyes on the gadget style of players like Jalen Darden and Tutu Atwell.
If the 49ers pass on a receiver today, that will signal their confidence in Jalen Hurd returning. If a wideout is selected at No. 43 overall, we could probably say goodbye to the Hurd dream.
Protecting the pass rush
One of the reasons San Francisco might add an edge rusher on Day 2 of the draft is to protect their investments. It’s going to take a couple of games for Nick Bosa to get himself back into playing shape.
Samson Ebukam has 15 more pass-rushing snaps in the past two years than Bosa had during his rookie year. Kris Kocurek has an opportunity to unlock a hidden gem, but expecting Ebukam to hit the ground running in his first season as a pass rusher isn’t fair.
Drafting a pass rusher in the second or third round keeps your defensive line fresh into December. Remember the tear Arik Armstead went on during the first half of 2019? He’s played over 72% of the snap counts during the past two seasons. That’s way too many for a player who is asked to do your dirty work on defense.
Speed rushers Azeez Ojulari from Georgia and Joseph Ossai could interest the Niners. Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham may be in play at No. 43. There are quite a few options. Edge is a position that typically wins with athleticism. When in doubt, bet on the athlete:
DE #RAS leaders for 2021:— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 13, 2021
Milton Williams, LA Tech 9.96
Jayson Oweh, Penn State 9.92
Jaelan Phillips, Miami 9.87
Payton Turner, Houston 9.74
Elerson Smith, Northern Iowa 9.71
Josh Kaindoh, FSU 9.58
Joseph Ossai, Texas 9.49
Shaka Toney, Penn State 9.48 pic.twitter.com/uT16S8f9Uk
Elerson Smith and Josh Kaindoh are two intriguing names for pick No. 102.
Continue to invest in your quarterback
Another way to invest in your quarterback is by protecting him. Also, giving him a reliable running game to lean on. The offensive line is arguably the deepest position in this class. Some players are still available who should have gone in the top 20.
Brandon Thorn is as close to an offensive line expert who is in the media as you’ll find. Here’s a look at his rankings:
I absolutely love what's left on the OL for Rounds 2-3 tomorrow. The top players left on my OL board with a day 2 or better grade: pic.twitter.com/jFa5WHW1sK— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) April 30, 2021
Dickerson and Jenkins are stars. Jenkins at right guard would give the 49ers one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Dickerson is coming off a serious knee injury that took place in December. That’s not something teams may be comfortable in relying on — I know I wouldn’t be. Kyle Shanahan said that injuries are being taken into account this offseason.
Quinn Meinerz could play both center and guard. The same goes for Kendrick Green. Them, Trey Smith, and Josh Meyers would all be fantastic picks. As would Josh Ball and Jackson Carman. Those two players aren’t flashy, but they never lose.