The 49ers enter the NFL draft which runs from Thursday through Saturday with 11 picks. Here are the moves and picks I think they should make.
TRADE: San Francisco sends Brandon Aiyuk and pick 101 to Jacksonville. In return the 49ers receive the Jaguars first round pick, 24, and pick 127.
The 49ers knew when they signed Deebo Samuel to a massive extension last year they would not be able to pay Aiyuk over the long term. That’s why they drafted his replacement, Danny Gray.
Round 1, No. 24 – Anton Harrison, Tackle, Oklahoma
Although Harrison played almost exclusively at left tackle during his time in Norman, he will move over the right side for the 49ers in 2023.
Trent Williams hinted at retirement following last season. Harrison will eventually serve as his replacement.
TRADE: San Francisco sends pick 102 and their own third round pick in 2024 to Las Vegas in exchange for pick 70.
San Francisco still has a pair of compensatory picks at the end of the third round in 2024.
Round 3, No 70 – Tucker Kraft, Tight End, South Dakota State
George Kittle is still one of the best tight ends in the league, but he will turn 30 this season and injuries have been an issue the last few years.
Kraft is a solid run blocker, a prerequisite for any tight end in the 49ers system and moves well. He forced nine missed tackles in nine games last season.
Round 3, No. 99 – Jammie Robinson, Safety, Florida State
Robinson gives the 49ers their safety of the future. Robinson is a tremendous tackler who can line up deep, down in the box, or in the slot.
Round 4, No. 127 – Mekhi Blackmon, CB, USC
Blackmon allowed just 30 catches on 63 targets on his way to receiving First Team All-Pac 12 honors last season.
The former Trojan excels in man coverage and doesn’t shy away from contact in the run game.
Round 5, No. 155 – Viliami Fehoko, EDGE, San Jose State
Fehoko is a cousin of Tampa Bay defensive tackle Vita Vea. The Spartan is a powerful rusher who finished 2022 with 66 total pressures. He recorded 26 sacks over the last three seasons.
The 49ers met with Fehoko during his pro day at San Jose State and hosted him during their local college pro day in Santa Clara.
Round 5, No. 164 – Marte Mapu, S/LB, Sacramento State
Mapu played safety for the Hornets but projects as a linebacker in the NFL making him San Francisco’s “type.” Fred Warner and Demetrius Flanigan- Fowles both played safety in college before transitioning to linebacker for the 49ers.
Round 5, No. 173 – Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia
Wicks has speed and quickness to win on the outside. A basketball player in high school, Wicks has shown the ability to go up and get the ball consistently and make plays once it is in his hands.
Round 6, No. 216 – Jake Moody, K, Michigan
Moody won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 2021. He followed that up last year by hitting all 60 extra point attempts and an FBS-best 29 field goals from his 35 attempts.
One question on Moody is his ability to hit from long range. Although he converted from 60 yards out in the college football playoffs, Moody hit just three of seven attempts from 50 plus last year.
Round 7, No 222 – Jonah Tavai, DT, San Diego State
Like Viliami Fehoki, Tavai has strong football bloodlines. He has four brothers who have played Division I football, two of them reaching the NFL.
Tavai was solid against the run for the Aztecs despite being asked to two-gap often. His burst and footwork would help him be successful in San Francisco’s attacking defensive front.
He has also been a very productive pass rusher. Over the last two seasons, Tavai recorded 22 sacks and 86 quarterback pressures.
TRADE: San Francisco sends picks 247 and 253 to Dallas in exchange for pick 244.
Round 7, No 244 – Hunter Luepke, FB, North Dakota State
No 49ers draft would be complete without a running back.
Kyle Juszczyk is getting towards the end of his career, so San Francisco makes a move to grab a future replacement instead of taking a chance of losing out after the draft.
Round 7, No. 255 – Max Duggan, Quarterback, TCU
Considering all the questions they’ve had at quarterback, taking a swing late on Duggan makes a lot of sense for the 49ers.
Duggan is coming off a season which saw him win the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the best college quarterback. He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and led TCU to a berth in the championship game with a win over former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad.