Nickolas Loza | March 26th, 2020
The San Francisco 49ers got another first-round draft pick to add onto their 31st overall selection after trading star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft. This opens up a world of opportunities for the Niners, who can now draft a premier player on day one. Their main and central need is at wide receiver especially after Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency to sign with the New Orleans Saints. Other draft needs are at defensive tackle, safety, and offensive line.
The 49ers need to address wide receiver with this pick because of all the great receivers in this draft, it would be advantageous to pick one now and address the other concerns later. Their options at the receiver position include Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, Clemson’s Tee Higgins, and LSU’s Justin Jefferson. All of these receivers have completely different types of skillsets, but the main three the Niners will pursue are Jeudy, Lamb, and Ruggs.
The Wide Receivers
Jeudy is the best overall receiver according to most draft experts around the NFL. He is an absolutely outstanding route runner, he has game-breaking speed, and if you allow him to get off the line of scrimmage cleanly, he’ll blow right by you with his speed and athleticism. The player I would compare him most to is Tyreek Hill, although he isn’t as fast as Hill, he is a better route runner. The way he uses his body to square up the football and go up for a contested catch is also quite good.
Teams in the NFL, regardless of who he goes to, will have a tough time shutting down this crafty receiver. He may not even be available to the Niners at #13, as the Raiders, Jaguars, and Jets are looking to draft a wide receiver. If he does fall to the Niners, they absolutely must pick him.
Lamb is a big-play receiver. He uses his excellent route running, quality hands, decent size, and amazing after-the-catch skills to make massive plays. He’s not a burner type of receiver like Ruggs and Jeudy are, but he is an amazing overall receiver, and he is most definitely capable of being a top 20 receiver in the NFL if he goes into a pass-happy offense. If Jeudy is off the board, the Niners should definitely invest in Lamb.
Ruggs is the fastest wide receiver by far in this draft class, possessing Hill or even better type of speed. He ran a 4.27 at the draft combine. With this speed he is able to terrify defensive backs into overplaying him, leaving him wide open or giving him enough space to do exactly what Hill does, create space for his teammates to catch the football. He’s a relatively short wide receiver, so he’s not so great at grabbing 50/50 balls. If the 49ers want a burner receiver, they should look no further than Ruggs if he is available.
Other Potential Targets
- Offensive lineman Andrew Thomas, who is one of the four best offensive lineman prospects in this draft.
- Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who dominated this season and reached his full potential as a senior.
- Safety Xavier McKinney, who fits perfectly under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s system.
Those are about it for the potential picks for the Niners in the draft, so we’ll have to see who they end up picking to truly judge how the rest of the Niners’ six other picks will go down.
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