The importance of top 30 pre-draft visits varies from franchise to franchise. For the San Francisco 49ers current regime, they have been a reliable indicator of whom the team will select in a given draft.
Since John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have arrived in 2017, the 49ers have selected multiple players who they have brought in on an official top 30 visit in each of the six drafts they have conducted.
So, what exactly is a top 30 visit, and why is it such a good tool to gauge who the 49ers will select in a given draft? Each year, NFL teams are allotted a maximum of 30 pre-draft visits that allow them to bring to their respective facilities for a more in-depth look at a potential prospect.
Teams can conduct physicals, have prospects meet with coaches, allow them to tour the facility, and have any lingering questions they may have answered in a face-to-face interaction. Prospects are not allowed to work out for teams on these visits, and players who live or attended college within 50 miles of a teams’ facility won’t count against the 30 visits that each franchise is allotted.
Here is a list of all the players that the 49ers have either drafted or signed as an UDFA after hosting them on a top 30 visit under the current regime.
Reuben Foster - Round 1 pick 31
Akhello Witherspoon - Round 3 pick 66
George Kittle - Round 5 pick 146
Nick Mullens - Signed as UDFA
Furthermore, the 49ers hosted defensive end Jordan Willis on a top 30 pre draft visit in 2017. Willis was acquired via trade during the 2020 season and played for two and a half years in San Francisco.
Dante Pettis - Round 2 pick 44
Fred Warner - Round 3 pick 70
The 49ers also hosted defensive end Kemoko Turay on an official top 30 visit. Turay signed a one-year deal with the 49ers prior to the 2022 season.
Nick Bosa - Round 1 pick 2
Deebo Samuel - Round 2 pick 36
Jalen Hurd - Round 3 pick 70
Tim Harris - Round 9 pick 198
In 2020, things got a bit complicated with this process, as concerns over the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic restricted teams from having in-person visits at their facilities. Because of these restrictions, teams were limited to virtual meetings with prospects rather than the traditional access they would get on a top 30 visit.
The 49ers ended up with three players on their roster who they met with virtually during this cycle.
Brandon Aiyuk - Round 1 pick 26
Charlie Woerner - Round 6 pick 190
Salvon Ahmed - Signed as UDFA
2021 there were restrictions about hosting players on official top 30 visits due to the pandemic.
Trey Lance - Round 1 pick 3
Trey Sermon - Round 3 pick 88
Deommodore Lenoir - Round 5 pick 172
Also of note, wide receiver Connor Wedington spent time on the 49ers practice squad during the 2021 season.
By 2022, the pandemic restrictions had been lifted and teams were once again allowed to host prospects for in-person visits at their facilities. This class had the most selections of players who were hosted by the 49ers on a top 30 visit during the Shanalynch era.
Five players from these visits were drafted, including each of their first four selections in the 2023 draft. Another was signed as a priority free agent.
Drake Jackson - Round 2 pick 61
Tyrion Davis-Price - Round 3 pick 93
Danny Gray - Round 3 pick 105
Spencer Burford - Round 4 pick 134
Kalia Davis - Round 6 - Pick 220
Tay Martin - Signed as UDFA
Here is a list of players the 49ers have been reported to have hosted on top 30 visits ahead of the upcoming 2023 NFL draft:
Lance Boykin, CB - Coastal Carolina
Steven Jones, CB - Appalachian State
Terrell Smith, CB - Minnesota
Jordan Howden, S - Minnesota
YaYa Diaby, DE - Louisville
Tavius Robinson, DE - Ole Miss
Marte Mapu, LB - Sacramento State
Cameron Latu, TE - Alabama
Atonio Mafi, OL - UCLA
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB - UCLA