31 October 2020

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Draft Preview: San Francisco 49’ers

Nobody thought the San Francisco 49ers would make the Super Bowl in 2019 except for some of their faithful fans. After going 4-12 in the 2018 season the 49ers flipped the switch in 2019 starting off they were the last standing undefeated team led by their elite defense led by Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa.

San Francisco was just less than 10  minutes away from capturing their 6th Super Bowl win but blew a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter as the Kansas City Chiefs would come back to win it. San Francisco looks to run it back in their quest for the 6th Super Bowl championship but must address some holes in their roster. The 49ers have two 1st round picks this year and a total of seven picks here are some positions they could look to address in this year’s upcoming draft. 

Wide Receiver 

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The 49ers have been in need of a receiver since the beginning of the 2019 season and what did they do about it? They went out and traded with the Denver Bronco for veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders giving up a 2020 3rd-round pick and a 4th-round pick which was well worth it as Sanders quickly became a centrepiece to their offense along with rookie wideout Deebo Samuel. Sanders would be a free agent after the season and wanted to get paid a respectable amount of money; it didn’t have to be from the 49ers as long as it was a contender offering money.

Sanders would leave for the New Orleans Saints in free agency leaving the 49ers WR core with promising Samuel to lead the way. San Francisco could look to pair up Samuel with a top receiver from this year’s draft to get him some help.

A prospect who could give the 49’ers some help is Henry Ruggs III, out of Alabama is one of the fastest prospects, maybe even the fastest in the draft. Ruggs caught 40 receptions for 746 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns Ruggs speed gave him the ability to simply dust secondaries and wasn’t even Alabama’s top receiver but still managed to put up an impressive stat sheet. Ruggs contributed to the team by stretching the defense allowing other players to get open looks as the safety on defense often had to keep an eye on Ruggs. If the 49ers could snatch up Ruggs with one of their two 1st-round picks (13th) they will be getting a great player who could potentially even become there #1 receiver.

Defensive Tackle 

The 49ers traded away their starting defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for their 13th overall pick in the 2020 draft. Buckner played a huge role in San Francisco’s defensive line as he recorded an impressive 7.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 2 pass deflections.

The 49ers must fill the hole they have in the defensive tackle position and could use some more young talent upfront to maintain the dominant d-line they had for the 2019 season.

A prospect to look out for is James Lynch who is very underrated because scouts say he relies too much on his brute force than skill. Lynch recorded 13.5 sacks and 3 force fumbles which is very impressive considering not many people are talking about him. Lynch does have quick explosiveness of his stance but the fact he relies too much on his strength to run through lineman can be a problem for some teams. After a year in the NFL with some of the help from veterans on the team, his discipline should be better. The 49ers can pick Lynch with their second 1st-round pick (31st) and get a player that is already good just needs to be taught by the team to get to the next level.

Cornerback

With San Francisco having an excellent secondary led by cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Jimmie Ward tieing 17th for the most interceptions by a team with 12 along with having 87 pass deflections.

The secondary excelled by allowing the least passing yards per game with 169.2 is impressive as the closest team allows 180.4 yards per game. The issue in the secondary is San Francisco needs to think about a long-term player with Sherman turning 32 before the season starts and is in the final year of his 3 year $39 million he signed in 2018. Sherman proved people wrong as they said he didn’t have it anymore and won’t be the same player he once was while playing for the Seattle Seahawks, by intercepting 3 passes while deflecting 11 of them and even scoring 1 defensive touchdown. Sherman also was selected to his first pro bowl since 2016 and had his best year since his 2016 season the season before he ruptured his Achilles. Sherman may have just enough for 1-2 more solid years which leaves the 49ers to find his replacement before he leaves.

A prospect to look out for is Reggie Robinson who is coming off his best season at the collegiate level. With 4 interceptions and 13 passes broken up after having a total of broken up passes his previous 3 years he really stepped up his game. Robinson is a lengthy cornerback at 6’1 who has great speed and shows some athletic ability from time to time. Sherman could take Robinson under his wing and show him ways around the NFL by sharing his 9-year experience in the league. 

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