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49ers bolster O-line in latest 4-round mock draft

Apr 7, 2023 at 10:26 AM--

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Chad Reuter released his second four-round mock draft. In version 1.0, the draft analyst had the San Francisco 49ers selecting an offensive tackle, safety, and pass rusher at the end of round three. The Niners do not own a selection in rounds one, two, or four. However, they have three in the third round. Those selections come at the end, with the 49ers owning three of the final four picks in the round.

Reuter no longer has San Francisco adding a safety, opting to project two offensive linemen to the team. He still has the 49ers adding a pass rusher, but it is not the same one he predicted in his first mock draft.

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Round 3, Overall Pick 99: OT Blake Freeland, BYU

This projected pick has not changed from Reuter's previous mock draft. Blake Freeland, if selected, would compete to replace Mike McGlinchey at right tackle. McGlinchey left for the Denver Broncos via free agency.

"I think he's being criminally underrated throughout this process," Justin Melo said of Freeland while speaking with Rohan Chakravarthi of 49ers Webzone. "I think he's a terrific, terrific athlete. That's obvious if you look at the relative athletic score, what he was able to do with the combine, and things of that nature. He's an easy mover."

Melo adds that Freeland could be a candidate to move to the left side once Trent Williams decides to call it a career.

Freeland allowed only seven pressures in 462 pass-blocking snaps (860 total snaps) in 2022, per Pro Football Focus, earning a career-high 91.0 overall grade from the analytics site and a career-high run-blocking grade of 87.9. He has allowed only 12 pressures in 1,736 total snaps over the past two seasons.

Round 3, Pick 101: OG Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan

The 49ers continue to bolster their offensive line in Reuter's mock draft, adding guard Sidy Sow.

"Sow has played a high number of snaps during his time at Eastern Michigan, wrote Reuter's colleague, Lance Zierlein. "Despite the starting experience, he struggles to find proper angles in the running game and respond to blitzes/twists in pass protection. While he could continue to improve and has some physical traits to work with, making a roster will be an uphill climb."

Sow primarily played left guard during his collegiate career, with Pro Football Focus consistently grading him high since the 2020 season. Sow allowed two sacks and 17 pressures in 482 pass-blocking snaps in 2022.

Round 3, Pick 102: DE KJ Henry, Clemson

Reuter had the 49ers selecting Ohio State's Zach Harrison in his last mock draft. This time, he went with another pass rusher—KJ Henry.

Henry registered 51 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, six passes defensed, and a forced fumble through 14 game appearances as a senior in 2022, per Sports Reference.

"Highly athletic edge defender with good size," Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of the player. "Henry has upfield burst, but he tends to be a face-up rusher and will need to improve his hand usage for more effective corner turns. He can be dynamic when twisting and blitzing as a moveable piece around the defensive front and he does a nice job of setting up a buttery smooth inside rush that is often too quick for tackles. He can dart and disrupt as a one-gapper with his hand in the ground but has more trouble than expected in setting firm edges as a run defender."

The defender recorded 13 sacks, 124 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss, 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries over the last four seasons with the Tigers. Henry's Pro Football Focus overall grade of 83.1 was a career-high, as were his run-defense (78.8) and pass-rushing (84.0) grades.

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