Image Credit: John Lynch
After a season of immense highs and devastating lows, heartbreaking injuries and triumphant returns, the 49ers are hours away from their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. There will be tons of content examining the road the 49ers took to this moment, but what about the end? There is no great story without a great ending. How do we think the 49ers cap theirs off? Scroll down and see!
My unpopular opinion is to have the 49ers trade out of their pair of first round picks. While the team has one of the best rosters in the NFL, they have some major contract decisions in the future, and with the uncertainty of the NFL draft, the more picks the better. But if they stand pat at 13 and 31, who would I expect them to take? Recent reports suggest there could be a run of offensive tackles in the first 11 picks, so the team should have an opportunity to select one of the three top receivers in this class, my choice would be Jerry Jeudy from Alabama. He’s the most well-rounded receiver in the class and creates separation with his route running and would thrive in Shanahan’s offense. But if tackle Tristan Wirfs is there, I expect him to be the pick, it’s not sexybut it’s prudent. At 31 I’d like to see the team take Antoine Winfield Jr, a safety from Minnesota. In 2019 the 49ers had the top pass defense in football, so why take a safety? Jimmie Ward had the best season of his career but still didn’t play 16 games and I’m not sold on his long term health, Jaquaski Tartt was also fantastic on the back end, but has missed significant time in the last two season and is a free agent after the year. Winfield is a dynamic playmaker in the secondary and could solidify the safety spot for the 49ers for the next five years.
Most likely this is a trade back situation. If the team does make a choice here I think it’s Jerry Jeudy. Shanahan falls in love with WRs and Jeudy seems like a guy he would fall in love with. Jeudy would upgrade the WR room and give Jimmy Garoppolo another exciting target to go along with George Kittle and Deebo Samuel.
Predicting what John Lynch and company will do in the 2020 draft is like trying to herd cats; they could go in a number of different directions and not even they know what direction that will be this far out. Currently the 49ers pick at numbers 13 and 31 in the first round and trading back from both spots is the most likely option, however, John Lynch said if one of six “foundational players” were there when the Niners are on the clock he would not trade back.
Just who the “foundational six” are is anyone’s guess, but many of them figure to be gone by pick 13, but if Henry Ruggs III is there I believe he will be hard to pass up. Kyle Shanahan has said that he would like his receiving corps to be like a basketball team, five guys who have complementary skill sets and Ruggs fits the bill. Ruggs has uncommon speed, even at the NFL level, but he is not just a speed guy; Ruggs dropped just one pass last season and is not afraid to mix it up.
Forecasting the pick at number 31 is even more difficult than the pick at no. 13; trading back is likely to be the top option if the Niners can find a partner. If the 49ers do make the selection at 31 it is most likely to be because someone unexpected is still on the board, someone like Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. McKinney is a chess piece type of defender who would give Robert Saleh some flexibility in the back end of the defense and provide the 49ers with some roster flexibility.
These predictions are sure to be wrong, but it will be fun to watch it all unfold on Thursday night.
Contrary to the 2019 NFL Draft, the 2020 Draft is the wild unknown. Last year felt like a foregone conclusion with Bosa and Samuel being the first two picks. This year, the only certainty is uncertainty. My best guess is both first round picks are traded back to accumulate more ammo for Friday. I’ll predict the 49ers trade 13 back to 21 with Philadelphia and take Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw’s medical questions and the lack of team doctors being able to examine him lead to a slight slide. John Lynch ends that with a player he may very well have been comfortable taking at 13. Pick 31 is shipped for a pair of midround picks where Lynch and Co. really make their money.
Scott Young (@FakeScottYoung)
The name given to them by their peers and the media. A point of pride for the team as they ascended to the highest highs. Few people suggested the roster was as good as it was when last season started, but no one really knew how far they could go.
Now we know.
It's easy to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance and gambling aspect of the draft, but don't sweat it. The team has few holes. Use the 13th pick on BPA unless someone offers you a king's ransom, pick up Ruggs or Henderson, wait to see how the board falls to you at 31, and weigh your options.
Keep it simple, Shanahan.
Kevin Molina (@KevinAMolina)
The 49ers went into day 1 with only 2 picks in the first 150 or so selections & tried to find a method to trade back and acquire more picks but due to teams like DEN & ATL trying to make moves into the top 10 they could not find a way to trade back from 13 or 31. It was not at all bad as they land the best speed WR in the draft in Henry Ruggs the 3rd. There are concerns about whether or not he can be a top flight deep threat due to his limit production at Alabama. That being said his world class speed showcases itself after the catch which is a staple of the Kyle Shanahan offense and will be a great compliment to what they currently have in Kittle, Deebo & Bourne
At 31 there was no prospect that a team was looking to trade up for as Jordan Love went earlier in the round. They address the secondary with the 31st pick but instead of taking a CB they take the highly thought of and versatile Safety Xavier McKinney, who will fit into a rover role early with the 49ers.
Stay tuned to 49ersHub for more Draft news!