Death. Taxes. The 49ers spending a top-10 pick on a defensive lineman. These are the certainties in life -- although I'm not sure we'll see the same tendencies out of the 49ers next year. I think they might actually be set up front now. The 49ers have struggled in recent years, thanks in large part to some bad breaks -- but also some questionable draft selections.
Over Lynch's first two seasons at the helm, the team has experienced some growing pains. 2017 first round pick Reuben Foster is already off the team and the 49ers were reportedly shopping top-5 pick Solomon Thomas prior to the draft. The team traded up for QB CJ Beathard in the same draft -- only to watch Beathard tumble to QB3 (at least) after just two seasons behind Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens, a UDFA who spent 2017 on the practice squad. Don't forget the 49ers also infamously traded up again and drafted Utah RB Joe Williams in the 4th round -- despite Williams not even being on the team's draft board -- because coach Kyle Shanahan was convinced by his talent.
Landing TE George Kittle in the 5th round of the same class has helped to ease a lot of struggles from the 2017 class. The 2018 class looks promising through the top three players -- OT Mike McGlinchey was a hit at 9 overall and WR Dante Pettis and LB Fred Warner were solid contributors as rookies.
Is this the season that John Lynch breaks the mold and nails down a number of prominent starters and high end players? Let's take a look.
1.02 - DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
2.36 - WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
3.67 - WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor
4.110 - P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
5.148 - LB Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
6.173 - TE Kaden Smith, Stanford
6.183 - OL Justin Skule, Vanderbilt
6.198 - CB Tim Harris, Virginia
Best Pick: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Getting a top player with a top pick is kind of a big deal. We've seen teams reach elsewhere (hello, Arizona and New York) for lesser talents to check needs boxes (or in Arizona's case, not even a position of need) at the quarterback position. Not these 49ers. The team thinks they have their guy in Jimmy Garoppolo and now they've got themselves a fearsome foursome up front to rush the passer.
Remember -- this team also traded for DE Dee Ford, so the 49ers speed package will feature Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Dee Ford.
Dee Ford? More like Dee(R) (L)ord. The pass rush is no longer a problem for San Francisco. Bosa is as plug and play ready as any defender you'll find this side of Quinnen Williams and his presence up front will help negate some potent passing attacks in the NFC West.
Worst Pick: WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor
I liked Hurd as a developmental guy -- the dude played running back for several seasons at Tennessee before transferring to Baylor and playing one season at wide receiver. He's got really promising traits. But I was really surprised to see Hurd get a call at 67 overall. It was mentioned in passing to me that one team in the early 3rd liked Hurd a lot and they subsequently traded out of their pick once the Hurd pick was made -- so it's possible that this was a "go get your guy" moment.
But why was Hurd a "have to have" for San Francisco? He projects as a big slot in the NFL -- San Francisco has a plethora of receivers that are interchangeable and they also drafted Deebo Samuel as a predominant slot just one round earlier at pick 36 overall. Oh yeah, and George Kittle thrives in the middle of the field, too.
Favorite Day 3 Pick: CB Tim Harris, Virginia
Listen to me. If health is assumed, Tim Harris is the 49ers third most talented cornerback on the roster right now behind Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett. He's GOOD. So why is he a 6th-round pick? He's battled injuries throughout his career at Virginia and he was on the Van Wilder plan in college -- he needed six years of eligibility to work through his allowed time at the college level. Shoulder and wrist issues cost Harris nearly two full seasons of play and he didn't test at the 2019 NFL Combine.
Questions like that will drag you down a draft board. But. BUT! Harris ran 4.44s in his Pro Day 40-yard dash and paired it with a 39" vertical and an 11'07" standing broad jump. He's super explosive and plays physical. The 49ers just need to keep him healthy so he can stay on the field.
Draft Grade: B-
The 49ers got appropriate value for their first two picks. That's been pretty par for the course for San Francisco under John Lynch. The rest of the way? I appreciate the thought process of Jalen Hurd but it was a bit rich for my taste. Getting P Mitch Wishnowsky in the 4th will alleviate punting concerns -- even if it meant taking a specialist just outside the top-100 with some really good football players still left on the board.
I am not very fond of San Francisco's remaining day three haul -- TE Kaden Smith tumbled harder than just about any player I can remember from my mid-season impressions to having the final assessment and LB Dre Greenlaw was taken nearly 100 spots earlier than where I held him in my own assessment.
The good: Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Mitch Wishnowsky
The bad: Poor value on Jalen Hurd, the meat of their day three picks sandwich