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49ers’ Draft: Five potential 3rd round targets

Apr 25, 2023 at 3:00 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers have 11 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, but their first picks won't be until the compensatory selections in the third round, specifically, picks 99, 101, and 102. These picks are crucial for adding depth and restocking position groups that were impacted by free agency. The draft is not only about improving the roster now, but also forecasting future needs. The 49ers are in a position where their starting roster is mostly set, so they will focus on finding rotational players and future starters. To achieve this, they could target these five players in the third round.

Blake Freeland, OT, BYU

The offensive line is currently a concerning position group after losing right tackle Mike McGlinchey to the Denver Broncos during free agency. One potential solution is Blake Freeland, a 6'8, 302lb offensive tackle from BYU. Despite needing to add some mass and strength to consistently win reps, Freeland's size and length make him a viable option. As a four year starter at BYU, he played a total of 2,690 snaps and earned third-team Associated Press All-American honors as a senior.

Freeland's strengths lie in the run game, where he can quickly get off the line and reach second level defenders. His agility and lateral movement are also assets in zone scheme running attacks. In pass protection, he displays good hand timing and usage, and his wingspan makes it challenging for defenders to get around him. With some additional training and development, Freeland could be a valuable addition to the offensive line. He also recorded the best vertical jump by an OL at the NFL Combine.

Tyler Steen, OT, Alabama

Tyler Steen, an offensive tackle from Alabama, could be a great addition to the 49ers' offensive line. He has already proven his abilities by starting 13 games for Alabama at left tackle and earning second-team All-SEC Honors. Steen is a powerful and athletic lineman who can quickly get off the line of scrimmage and has excellent hand usage. He can reset when required and is a great run blocker, attacking across the formation with ease. He is also able to block second level defenders due to his athleticism.

In terms of pass protection, Steen displays strong lateral mobility and good foot quickness. He can react quickly to defenders' counter moves and has the ability to reset his position. However, he still needs to develop sound blocking techniques as he is relatively raw in this aspect. It is also possible that he could be moved to the inside and become a solid guard at the NFL level. Overall, Tyler Steen is a promising prospect who could be a valuable asset to the 49ers' offensive line.

Tre'Vius Hodges- Tomlinson, CB, TCU

Hodges-Tomlinson may be short for a cornerback at 5'8 and 178lbs, but his aggressive playing style more than makes up for it. He was recognized for his skills in 2022 when he received the Jim Thorpe award for the best defensive back in college football and was named to the first team All-Big 12.

As a prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, Hodges-Tomlinson is highly regarded for his well-rounded skillset and exciting potential. His speed and footwork make him a force to be reckoned with on the field, and he would excel as a nickel corner in a zone cover scheme. Despite his size limitations, he is a solid tackler who assertively wraps up and makes an impact in the running game.

Hodges-Tomlinson's ability to change directions with ease and his strong frame make him a versatile player who can hold up at any spot in the secondary. Overall, he is a promising prospect who is sure to make an impact at the next level.

Marte Mapu, S, Sacremento State

The departure of Jimmy Ward in the offseason has created a significant gap in the secondary, particularly at the safety position. However, Mapu is a physical defender who possesses the speed to cover ground and play the run, making him a threat at all levels of the field. He has high-level awareness and DB instincts, which allow him to excel in both zone and man coverage. In press coverage, he can match up well with big-bodied tight ends and slot receivers.

With his physicality and speed, Mapu could potentially be moved to a linebacker position or a hybrid safety/linebacker role, allowing him to make plays all over the field. Even if he doesn't start immediately, he has the skill sets to make an impact in situational matchups and special teams.

Overall, Mapu's abilities make him a valuable asset to the team, and his versatility allows for various deployment options.

Byron Young, DE, Tennessee

Young is a promising edge defender who possesses explosive athleticism and a high motor. He has a quick first step and impressive power that allows him to disrupt plays and create chaos in the backfield. Although he lacks experience and technical refinement, he has the potential to become a valuable rotational player and pass rush specialist with proper coaching.

While Young may not be a polished player, his natural abilities and work ethic make him a promising prospect. He has the physical tools to be a disruptive force on the field, and his energy and intensity are infectious. With the right guidance, he could develop into a steal for any team in need of an edge rusher.

Young's raw talent and potential make him an intriguing prospect for any team in need of a pass rusher. While he may require some development, his natural athleticism and energy make him a valuable asset on the field. With proper coaching and guidance, he could become a game-changing player at the next level.

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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