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NFL Draft primer: 49ers have one of league’s best rosters but could use additions in the trenches

In Sports
April 09, 2024

2023 record: 12-5, won NFC West, lost Super Bowl LVIII

Draft picks per round

1st round: No. 31
2nd round: No. 63
3rd round: No. 94
4th round: No. 124 (from Cowboys)
4th round: No. 132 (compensatory)
4th round: No. 135
5th round: No. 176 (compensatory)
6th round: No. 211 (compensatory)
6th round: No. 215 (compensatory)
7th round: No. 251

With college basketball winding down, MLB Opening Day in the rearview mirror and The Masters still days away, attention is heating up on the NFL's marquee offseason event. Let's make our turn toward the NFL Draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

With college basketball winding down, MLB Opening Day in the rearview mirror and the Masters still days away, attention is heating up on the NFL’s marquee offseason event. Let’s make our turn toward the NFL Draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Top needs

Offensive line
Interior defensive line
Cornerback

The weakness of the offensive line’s right side played a big role in the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss. They need an upgrade at right tackle and possibly a future answer at left tackle with Trent Williams nearing the end of his career at age 35. On the other side of the line, San Francisco cut longtime defensive tackle Arik Armstead and let Javon Kinlaw walk in free agency. That leaves a couple of big gaps in the interior. And because the team added free-agent edge rushers Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos, it may be able to focus on cornerback and other needs in the draft.

Trent Williams and the 49ers' offensive line could use some help in the NFL Draft. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

Trent Williams and the 49ers’ offensive line could use some help in the NFL Draft. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

Best first-round fits

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Best Day 2 fits

Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

How they did last draft

The 49ers received a D, partly because they had so few picks and didn’t have a selection until No. 87 overall. It was a bizarre draft class as the 49ers selected kicker Jake Moody in the third round. Moody wasn’t bad as a rookie, but it was still a curious decision to select him so early. The only other pick who saw significant action last season was another third-rounder, safety Ji’Ayir Brown, who filled in solidly as an injury replacement after Talanoa Hufanga went down late in the season.

Dream fantasy draft pick

The 49ers don’t have any glaring needs at the fantasy positions, and adding more mouths to feed would cause only problems (assuming Brandon Aiyuk stays). That said, Christian McCaffrey is coming off a 417-touch season, and Elijah Mitchell has been one of the most injury-prone players in the league (and will be a free agent in 2025). San Francisco has been mostly dreadful identifying backs recently in drafts (Tyrion Davis-Price, Trey Sermon), but the team could use a long-term upgrade at RB2. Given CMC’s huge 2024 workload and Kyle Shanahan’s terrific system, a rookie running back could easily emerge as a fantasy force in 2024. — Dalton Del Don

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