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Feldman Has 49ers Selecting an Offensive Tackle in the First Round

Apr 7, 2024 at 11:05 AM

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Bruce Feldman of The Athletic has released his first round mock draft, complete with insights from opposing college coaches about every prospect. Like many mock drafts, Feldman's has the Niners addressing the O-Line in the first round. Feldman thinks the Niners will select Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims with the No. 31 overall pick. Mims, a 6-foot-8, 340-pound junior, is a popular pick for the Niners in mock drafts, including from The Athletic's Matt Barrows earlier in the week (although he had the Niners trading up to the No. 21 overall pick to get him). In Feldman's mock draft, other offensive linemen such as Jordan Morgan (Arizona), Graham Barton (Duke), and Zach Frazier (West Virginia) remained available at pick 31.

Scouts are excited about Mims' combination of size and athleticism but he started only eight games at Georgia. This has led some analysts, including Feldman, to suggest that while Mims could compete against current right tackle Colton McKivitz for the starting job, the Niners might be looking at Mims as more of a long-term project to replace the aging Trent Williams on the left side of the line. With such little college experience, Mims could benefit from waiting a year or more before seeing significant playing time. And given the importance of cohesion in O-line play (the Niners return all five of their 2023 starters), the team may wait to play him regardless.

However, Mims doesn't fit the pattern of O-line picks from Shanahan. According to PFF, every lineman the Niners have drafted since 2020 has graded out very well in zone blocking. And currently, every starter grades as a better run blocker than pass blocker. The Niners clearly favor nimble, athletic linemen who can move in space instead of brick walls that specialize in pass blocking. The team even traded away Trent Brown, a starting-caliber right tackle, after Shanahan's first season, because his size and athleticism didn't fit with the offensive scheme. Mims' college PFF grades are closer to a Trent Brown than any of the Niners' starting offensive linemen. His best area by far is pass blocking, with his zone blocking grading out as below average for college tackles. This makes sense for a player of his size, but may limit how well he fits in the Niners' offensive scheme.

You can read Feldman's full mock draft and analysis at The Athletic.
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