Draft grades are all the rage now that the 2023 draft has concluded. Today’s grades are tomorrow’s fodder in the world of the NFL. Fans and analysts are quick to point out which team “won the draft.” The answer won’t come for many years.
The 49ers are an interesting case study in drafting for need and not the best player available. Nineteen of 22 starters return, so picking from 99 didn’t create the need for starting players in the team’s estimation.
Success in the NFL is fleeting. NFL stands for, “not for long.” Even for a team who has made multiple deep runs in the playoffs.
When you have a roster loaded with blue chip/high-end talent like the 49ers, the draft is a chance to replenish that roster with cheaper and younger talent.
One of the best strategies for the 49ers is drafting players who will eventually take over starting roles on the team (Aaron Banks, Talanoa Hufanga). That strategy seemed to be at play with the first selection for the 49ers as Ji’Ayir Brown from Penn State’s name was called.
Bickering about which players were selected at which spots is one thing, but the 49ers were drafting at the back of the third round. Philadelphia and Seattle possessed first-round picks and invested back into their roster. It’s tough to compare draft classes with the discrepancy in draft slots.
Landing the prize of free agency in Javon Hargrave pushed the 49ers roster higher despite the losses of Charles Omenihu, Samson Ebukam, Mike McGlinchey, Emmanuel Moseley, and others.
This roster is loaded and well-coached. Somehow, without the quarterback situation nailed down, the 49ers remain at the forefront of the conversation about title contenders.
The gap is closing a bit in the NFC. There are still plenty of impact free agents for the 49ers to sign or possibly leave flexibility for an in-season move, ala Christian McCaffrey in 2022.
The final accomplishment for this team is to hoist the Lombardi.
Do you think the 49ers have done enough this offseason?
Have the 49ers done enough this offseason?
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