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2023 NFL Draft: 49ers Mock Draft 2.0

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 18, 2023 at 6:30 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers have been a team notorious for building via the NFL Draft, as several of their stars were homegrown, which has led to consistent success during the tenure of head coach Kyle Shanahan.

However, the 49ers are in a unique position, as they aren't drafting until the end of the third round, having utilized their first and second-round picks in the Trey Lance and Christian McCaffrey trades, respectively.

The 49ers currently have 11 draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, but in my first mock draft of the offseason, there were several moves made, leading to only seven total draft picks.

Two weeks ago, I did my first mock draft for the 49ers, utilizing several trades to get the most value possible at several positions of need.

Now, here's Mock Draft 2.0 for the 49ers. For reference, the trades, and the justifications, made in the mock draft are listed first, while the selections are listed afterward.


1. San Francisco 49ers trade with the Kansas City Chiefs

49ers receive: 2023 4th-round pick (#122), 2023 4th-round pick (#134), 2023 6th-round pick (#178)
Chiefs receive: 2023 3rd-round pick (#101), 2023 6th-round pick (#216), 2023 7th-round pick (#255)

The 49ers have three selections in four picks at No. 99, No. 101, and No. 102. With the value on the board, I liked two top players to select them, but felt it was more valuable to trade one of my three selections for mid-fourth round selections and a selection in the sixth round.

I wasn't a fan of the significant gap between picks No. 102 and No. 155, where I feel there can be significant value in this class, hence the desire to trade for multiple picks in that area, which the Chiefs could provide.

2. San Francisco 49ers trade with the Indianapolis Colts

49ers receive: 2023 7th-round pick (#236)
Colts receive: 2023 7th-round pick (#247), 2023 7th-round pick (#253)

Having already made nine selections with my earlier picks, I thought there was value on the board and felt it was worth moving both of my last selections to acquire. While the move may seem like an overpay, I thought the player we attained, tight end Brayden Willis, was worth a flyer on in the seventh round to add depth at the position.

Rohan's Mock Draft

Round 3, Pick 99: S Ji'Ayir Brown (Penn State)

I contemplated trading up, specifically for a right tackle or a safety, but the run on right tackles went in the second round, which was too far to make an offer, and the safeties stayed on the board, allowing me to select my pick of the group in Penn State's Ji'Ayir Brown with my first selection.

I selected the safety in my first mock draft two weeks ago, having found him in the fourth round. Here's what I said:

"After a multitude of trade downs, I selected Penn State safety Ji'Ayir Brown, looking ahead to the future to fill the hole that Tashaun Gipson leaves next year in the likelihood that he mulls retirement once again. Getting a playmaker in the secondary is important and adding depth at safety provides the 49ers with competition in Year 1 before a long-term solution presides itself after that."

While he isn't an elite athlete, Brown plays with a level of physicality in the run game, and excels in the passing game, which should complement fellow safety Talanoa Hufanga well in San Francisco's defense.

Additionally, like Hufanga, Brown has a good closing burst, as seen via his 1.56 10-yard split, which should help in breaking up passes at all levels of the field.

Round 3, Pick 102: CB Rezjohn Wright (Oregon State)

Rezjohn Wright, initially from East Palo Alto in the Bay Area, is a 6'2 corner with great length, as well as solid athleticism, which is what the 49ers have coveted at the position in the draft.

Wright fits well into the press-man defensive look that the 49ers operate with and his traits are similar to top cornerback Charvarius Ward, although he needs to develop as a run-defender, which is key for the 49ers on the defensive end.

Round 4, Pick 122: OT Nick Saldivieri (Old Dominion)

Right tackle was definitely a priority of mine heading into the draft, understanding the value at the position and the 49ers' current situation.

After selecting Wright at No.102, I was targeting Wanya Morris out of Oklahoma, but he was selected, as a run of tackles began, which is why I selected Nick Saldivieri at No. 122.

Saldivieri has good athleticism for his frame(6'6, 318 pounds), which fits best in the zone-blocking scheme that the 49ers run. He's a work-in-progress at right tackle, but has the requisite traits to work with, and could be an option of the future for San Francisco.

Round 4, Pick 134: OL Emil Ekiyor Jr. (Alabama)

At No. 134, I went with best-player available on the board in Alabama guard Emil Ekiyor Jr., who was an early draft crush of mine in my scouting process.

Ekiyor isn't necessarily the best athlete, but is strong fundamentally and works well in pass protection at the guard position. He also reportedly took reps at center, which came with positive feedback, showcasing some positional versatility, which the 49ers covet.

While his athleticism may not be off the charts, he's a serviceable run defender and holds his blocks well, which hasn't been the case always in run-blocking for the 49ers.

Round 5, Pick 155: WR Charlie Jones (Purdue)

The 49ers have showcased a tendency for drafting ahead, providing them insurance in case they lose players to free agency in upcoming years.

With Brandon Aiyuk nearing the end of his rookie deal and the 49ers potentially making a receiver move over the next few seasons, it seems smart to address the receiver position now, and Charlie Jones is a good candidate to do that with.

Jones is a do-it-all receiver that possesses good route-running ability, surefire hands, and even special teams experience that should appeal to the 49ers in his early years with the team.

With 4.43 speed and good athleticism, Jones fits well in the 49ers' yards-after-catch system, while also showcasing the ability to make contested plays.

I'd expect the 49ers to ink up Aiyuk to an extension, but it doesn't seem feasible holding him and Samuel throughout the entirety of their deals, as I could see the latter being moved ahead of his final season with the team.

Additionally, Jauan Jennings is a free agent next season, which could provide a void at an important position.

Round 5, Pick 164: RB Israel Abanikanda (Pittsburgh)

The San Francisco 49ers love their running backs, and Izzy Abanikanda is a great fit within their system, making him the pick at No. 164.

Abanikanda has great speed for his size, and could serve well in a one-cut system in San Francisco, although he can improve his vision going downhill.

With the injuries the 49ers have sufficed at the position, as well as Abanikanda's value at this spot, it's a solid pickup for the 49ers.

Round 5, Pick 173: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA)

The San Francisco 49ers are going to pick up at least one more quarterback this offseason because they'll need three to complete drills during their offseason program, and they currently only have two healthy options: Trey Lance and Sam Darnold.

As a prospect, Dorian Thompson-Robinson fits well with the 49ers as a dual-threat quarterback with good athleticism and a strong arm that doesn't need to be an immediate impact player.

The question becomes: can the 49ers pass Thompson-Robinson through waivers, as they'll likely roll with Lance, Darnold, and Purdy as their three quarterbacks on the depth chart for the majority of the season?

If not, it would be a costly fifth-round draft pick, but the quarterback has solid potential, and could elevate himself on the depth chart after a year of development once Sam Darnold departs next season.

Round 6, Pick 178: TE Payne Durham (Purdue)

Tight end was a must in this draft class, given the exorbitant amount of depth and the 49ers' desire to find the complement to George Kittle in their 12 personnel packages.

Payne Durham solves that issue with this selection, as he's a good catcher of the football with surefire hands that should translate to the NFL level.

He's not the best athlete, which limits his ceiling after the catch, but can serve as a capable weapon in the passing game, which adds more for Kyle Shanahan and his playmaking capabilities.

More importantly, Durham serves well as a blocker, making him a valuable multi-dimensional player that can be on the field for a variety of plays.

Round 7, Pick 222: DT Byron Young (Alabama)

Byron Young possesses solid traits, standing at 6'3, 295-pounds with 34" arms, including good athleticism for a player of his stature.

Young has good play strength, as well as versatility on the defensive line, which the 49ers covet, serving to be a solid run-defender with pass-rushing potential, although he's a little rawer in that aspect.

In the sixth round, Young serves as good value, especially at a position where the 49ers look to have several bodies in the offseason.

Round 7, Pick 236: TE Brayden Willis (Oklahoma)

It's a deep, deep tight end class, so why not double dip at the position, especially when the value presents itself?

With Willis still on the board, I traded up 11 spots to draft the Oklahoma product, who caught seven touchdowns on 39 catches in 2022, but also served as a capable blocker, despite his average athleticism.

The 49ers have scheduled a Top-30 visit with Willis, while also meeting him at the NFL Combine, suggesting the connection to the tight end, and with this selection, he could compete with Ross Dwelley for a chance to make the 53-man roster.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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