In 2020, the NFL implemented a rule to encourage teams to hire, develop, and promote minority coaches and scouts who could one day become candidates for head coach and general manager jobs.
There isn’t an organization who has reaped these benefits as much as the San Francisco 49ers. In the past few years, the Niners have seen minority candidates Robert Saleh, Mike McDaniel, and DeMeco Ryans go on to be head coaches elsewhere.
While the front office has lost Martin Mayhew, Ran Carthon, and although they didn’t receive a pick for him, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to general manager jobs.
2021, Saleh/Mayhew - 3/102 - Ambry Thomas
2022, McDaniel- 3/102 - Traded in the Trey Lance deal
2022, Saleh/Mayhew 3/105 - Danny Gray
2023, Carthon/Ryans, 3/99
2023, McDaniel 3/101
2023, Saleh/Mayhew - 3/102
2024, Carthon/Ryans 3/TBD
2025, Carthon/Ryans 3/TBD
While it’s still early in their respective careers, Thomas appears closer to on the way out than into the starting lineup. As for Gray, he seemed like the type of wideout that’d thrive under Lance, who may not start the majority of games this season.
To be fair to Gray, we’ve been spoiled with early productive from receivers around the NFL. Most players make the biggest leaps in Year 2, and that’s no different if you’re a wideout. The difficult part is where would Gray play, and who is he taking snaps from?
Lastly, the only other pick the 49ers have used was sent to Miami in the deal for Lance. So, in theory, it’s great to accumulate all sorts of picks. But you have to get something out of said picks.
The 49ers are in a prime position this year, with 11 total picks and three in the first round. Trading up is an obvious option, and that may be the best outcome for finding a player who can contribute immediately.
But we’re headed into Year 3 of the 49ers having multiple “special comp picks,” and it’s past the time for them to start reaping the benefits. Yes, the draft is a crap shoot and blah, blah, but if you’re going to “game” the system, at least come out ahead.