Searching for Gold: 4 Reasons to Draft Wyatt Davis in Round 2
Image Credit: Associated press
Name: Wyatt Davis
Position: Interior Offensive Line
College: Ohio State University
NFL Comp: David DeCastro
After the 49ers pick their quarterback of the future in the first round of the NFL draft, they will need to address a pressing need in their roster: the offensive line.
Thankfully, the team was able to retain the services of All-Pro Trent Williams and Aaron Donald-stopper Daniel Brunskill, as well as adding center Alex Mack during the offseason. Despite being plagued by injuries last year, the 49ers’ offensive line surprisingly ranked ninth in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
So why bolster the offensive line so early in the draft?
1. The game is won in the trenches
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have shown that they value the trenches above every other position group on the roster.
They invested both top draft picks (Solomon Thomas, Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Mike McGlinchey) and massive contracts (Trent Williams, Weston Richburg, Dee Ford) to bolster both the offensive and defensive lines.
With the return of Nick Bosa, the development of Javon Kinlaw and the addition of Samson Ebukam, Kris Korucek’s group is destined to shine again this season.
While the offensive line performed well last year, the 49ers will have to face two challenges next offseason which brings us to the next point.
2. Aging and soon-to-be free agent position group
While keeping Trent Williams was imperative, signing Alex Mack gave the 49ers their starting center for the next few seasons.
However, Williams and Mack will be 33 and 35 respectively when the next season starts. The 49ers will benefit from an infusion of youth to mix in with this sauce of savvy veterans.
Mike McGlinchey’s reputation took a few hits last year due to some unflattering lowlights but the former first-round pick should still be considered as a solid starter at right tackle who had an overall PFF grade of 79.7 last year, the highest of his career.
Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill both proved they can be starting guards in the NFL, and they are in their primes. However, their contracts are set to expire after this season. Will the 49ers be able or willing to retain both?
If not, drafting a guard will give San Francisco a luxury of options.
3. Investing in the future with a natural fit
There are too many tales of young quarterbacks’ careers being wasted by poor offensive line play.
The 49ers have invested a lot of draft capital to pick their QB of the future. Naturally, the next logical priority will be to protect him.
As a prospect, Davis shows a lot of things that would be enticing to Kyle Shanahan and new offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.
Strengths: With an ideal physical build, Davis boasts a lot of strength and power in his blocking abilities. He plays particularly well over the front side of the line and especially in the running game.
Justin Fields’ Buckeyes teammate (see what I did there?) excels at generating movement off his feet to lock his defender and create running lanes. He also shows promising production in the passing with a quick stance and ability to absorb the power of relentless rushers.
Davis shows an exciting “nasty” side on several highlight blocks that would make Trent Williams proud.
Scheme fit: Wyatt Davis has the tools to fit in any system in the NFL. However, his agility and ability to reach the second level of the field would make him an ideal zone blocker.
Can you imagine linebackers having to account for Trent Williams, Wyatt Davis and George Kittle coming to block them at full speed on the second level of the defense?
Yeah, good luck!
Areas for improvement: There doesn’t seem to be any major concerns over Davis’ weaknesses.
There is some room for him to improve in the passing game against quick rushers where he’ll want to develop more consistency. There are times when he seems a bit late to adjust.
But this isn’t anything that Chris Foerster can’t help him develop.
4. The best value available
Wyatt Davis will be one of the top IOL prospects available in the 2021 draft.
In any other year, he would not have been available past the first round. But with the crazy QB frenzy scheduled to happen, a deep class of talented wide receivers and cornerbacks topped by the recent success of superstar young receivers, the Ohio State guard could fall to the second round.
Of course, there are other enticing prospects who could still be available including defensive end Gregory Rousseau, wide receiver Rondale Moore, or safety Jevon Holland, but in Wyatt Davis, the 49ers get a low-risk high-reward player who can start day one and develop into their main starting guard for the foreseeable future.
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