The first round is in the books, and for all intents and purposes the second, third and fourth rounds as far as the Niners are concerned, so it’s time to fire off some reactions.
For most outside observers, the board seemed to fall perfectly for the 49ers. By the time the Niners were on the clock with the thirteenth pick they had their choice of two of the consensus top three receivers in the draft (Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb), one of the top offensive linemen (Tristan Wirfs) and one of the top interior defensive linemen (Javon Kinlaw).
With so many options on the board, John Lynch shrewdly moved back one spot and took South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw with the fourteenth overall selection.
After a torrid start to his final season in the SEC where he recorded five sacks in the first six games, Kinlaw’s production tailed off, as he recorded just one sack over the final six contests. However, Kinlaw really opened eyes during the Senior Bowl practice week where he was practically unblockable.
Immediately following the Super Bowl, the mantra coming out of team headquarters in Santa Clara was “run it back” and after trading away DeForest Buckner, picking Kinlaw gives them the best chance to replicate what they had last year.
The 49ers weren’t done wheeling and dealing in Round 1. After trading back with Tampa Bay, the Niners surprised many by moving up six spots from pick thirty-one to twenty-five in a swap with Minnesota to take Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
First things first, Aiyuk is a human pterodactyl. At six feet tall, Aiyuk has an 81-inch wingspan; to put that in perspective an 81-inch wingspan would be that of a man who is nine inches taller. In addition to being a human/pterodactyl hybrid , Aiyuk is a YAC specialist; he averaged 10.9 yards after the catch this past season, nearly double the average among the Power Five conferences.
Aiyuk gives Kyle Shanahan another receiver, along with Deebo Samuel, who is a nightmare for defenses with the ball in his hands and who can line up at all three of the Niners receiver positions; he also provides additional versatility in the return game, which gives the 49ers more roster flexibility.
The 49ers approached the first-round with an eye towards replacing key contributors immediately rather than filling future needs a year early. The idea of “running it back” appears to be more than just coachspeak.
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