Mike Fanelli | April 9th, 2020
The 2019 season ended in disappointment for the San Francisco 49ers, losing in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the lead up to free agency, many wondered if the 49ers would stick with Jimmy Garoppolo or try to make a move for Tom Brady. In the end, the 49ers decided to back Garoppolo for at least one more season and believe they have the pieces in place to make another Super Bowl run.
Despite limited cap space, the 49ers were able to keep most of their key free agents. Jimmie Ward was re-signed to a three-year deal while Arik Armstead was brought back on a massive five year, $85 million dollar deal. However, with Armstead back, the team determined they wouldn’t have the money to re-sign DeForest Buckner next offseason (when he became a free agent). Instead of letting him leave for a projected 2022 third-round compensatory pick, the 49ers traded him to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick this year. The only key free agent the 49ers didn’t bring back was Emmanuel Sanders, who signed with the Saints.
Thanks to trades made last offseason and during the season, the 49ers will go 125 picks without making a selection. They don’t have a second-round pick thanks to the Dee Ford trade and don’t have a third or fourth-round pick because of the Sanders trade. However, they do have two first-round picks and seven overall. With an already very impressive roster, the 49ers don’t have a lot of holes to fill.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 13: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
A lot of mock drafts have the 49ers taking a wide receiver here but the class is so deep I think they wait till day three (assuming they don’t make a trade) and take one then. Instead, they use the pick they got for Buckner to replace him. Kinlaw was having an excellent pre-draft process before everything got shut down, and he could end up going as high as ninth overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over his last two seasons at South Carolina, Kinlaw had 15 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks. The 49ers’ defensive line was key to their success in 2019, while losing Buckner hurts, replacing him with Kinlaw should keep the defense from losing a step.
Round 1, Pick 31: Cesar Ruiz, iOL, Michigan
The 49ers are returning the majority of their starting offensive line from last season. However, recently starting right guard Mike Person was released, opening up a big hole. Instead of relying on the combination of Tom Compton, Ross Reynolds, and a fifth-round rookie, the 49ers take the best interior offensive lineman in the draft in Ruiz. During his time at Michigan, Ruiz started 31 games, with the majority of them coming at center, but he has some experience at right guard. His combination of size, power, and mobility will allow him to succeed at either center or guard in the NFL. The 49ers had great success in the running game last year because of the offensive line, adding Ruiz will only make that unit even better.
Round 5, Pick 156: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Finally, after waiting what seems like 84 years, the 49ers are back on the clock. While losing Sanders hurts, the 49ers are in good shape at wide receiver. Deebo Samuel looks like a star while the team has highs for 2019 third-round pick Jalen Hurd after he missed his entire rookie season with an injury. Kendrick Bourne is a favorite of the coaching staff while Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis provide depth. However, adding Duvernay should make this unit even more dangerous. In his final year at Texas, Duvernay was moved into the slot and had a breakout season, catching 106 balls for 1,386 yards and nine touchdowns. Duvernay can step into Sanders’ role as a rookie and give Garoppolo a weapon he can trust on third down.
Round 5, Pick 176: Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska
Richard Sherman has lost a step (just watch the Super Bowl again if you don’t believe me), but he is still a great cornerback. Meanwhile, K’Waun Williams has the nickel cornerback spot locked down but the other starting cornerback spot is a question mark. Ahkello Witherspoon struggled at times and was benched for Emmanuel Moseley. The 49ers must add some competition to that starting spot. Jackson had a strong senior season at Nebraska, finishing the year with a career-high 40 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. The 49ers like their cornerbacks with longer arms (32 plus inch arms) and Jackson measured at just over 32 inch arms at the Combine. He would be a great addition on day three to push Witherspoon and Mosley.
Round 6, Pick 210: Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa
Back to the defensive line with their only sixth-round pick. Nick Bosa is already arguably the best pass rushers in the league while Armstead and Ford are excellent rushers on the other side. However, the 49ers can release Ford after the 2020 season and save $12.8 million dollars in cap space and the depth at edge rusher isn’t the deepest. Over his last two seasons at Tulsa, Gipson totaled 95 tackles, 24 for a loss, 12 sacks, and seven forced fumbles. Once again, the 49ers’ front four was a big reason why the defense was so dominant in 2019 and you can never have too many good pass rushers.
Round 7, Pick 217: Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
Last season both Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey missed a good chunk of the year with injuries. Thankfully, 2019 sixth-round pick Justin Skule held his own filling in. However, the 49ers should build up their depth at offensive tackle, especially with Staley turning 36 years old before the start of the 2020 season. At 6’8” and 308 lbs, Taylor is a big but raw prospect. The 49ers could give him the 2020 season to redshirt and develop before letting him compete to replace Staley in 2021.
Round 7, Pick 245: Michael Warren II, RB, Cincinnati
Running back isn’t a need for the 49ers as they seem to be able to plug and play several running backs into their scheme. However, Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, and Jerick McKinnon all missed time last year with injuries. Furthermore, the 49ers can release Breida and Coleman, and save $6.1 million dollars in cap space. Not to say they will (though McKinnon will likely be cut at some point), but it gives the 49ers options given their tight cap situation. Over his last two seasons at Cincinnati, Warren had almost 2,600 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns. While Warren won’t push for a starting job, he would be a nice backup to Raheem Mostert.
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