Niners' Draft Will Look Much Different This Year

San Francisco doesn’t pick until the end of the first round and doesn’t have choices in the second, third or fourth rounds

General manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It’s going to be a lot harder for the 49ers to get high-impact players in this spring’s NFL draft.

In recent years – courtesy of the Niners being one of the worst teams in the NFC – San Francisco has had prime positions in the first round. A year ago, the 49ers had the No. 2 overall choice and selected standout defensive end Nick Bosa. In 2018, the 49ers had the No. 9 pick and added offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. In 2017, it was the No. 3 pick (defensive tackle Solmon Thomas), in 2016 the No. 7 (defensive lineman DeForest Buckner) and in 2015 the No. 17 (defensive lineman Arik Armstead).

This spring, the Niners have to wait till the 31st selection.

That’s about the only downside to going 13-3 in the regular season and then reaching the Super Bowl.

Plus, there’s this: the 49ers won’t have a pick in the second, third or fourth rounds. After making their first-round choice, they’ll have to wait a long time before using their three picks in the fifth round, a choice in the sixth and two more in the seventh.

Still, the 49ers could still strike gold with that 31st-overall choice. Among the top players taken at No. 31 in past drafts are longtime productive tight end Greg Olsen, former Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Ravens tight end Todd Heap.

It’s possible Lynch could get a wide receiver, corner or safety at No. 31 to immediately improve the team.

But Peter Panacy of Fansided’s Niner Noise also believes Lynch could make a deal.

Wrote Panacy, of the fact the 49ers have so few high picks: “This has led many to believe John Lynch will trade out of the first round to acquire more draft capital in the middle rounds. San Francisco isn’t exactly hurting for immediate-impact players, meaning taking riskier fliers on Day 2 picks is an avenue Lynch and Co. could easily take without too much reservation.”

In 2019, Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan had success in those middle rounds, getting punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth, linebacker Dre Greenlaw in the fifth and tackle Justin Skule in the sixth.

This year’s draft begins with Round 1 on Thursday, April 23, and wraps up Saturday, April 25.

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