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7-round mock draft from The Athletic sees 49ers fortifying defense early

Apr 17, 2024 at 7:36 AM

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Analyst Dane Brugler recently revealed his seven-round mock draft for The Athletic, forecasting all 257 selections in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, set to kick off next week.

"Piecing together a mock like this is time consuming, but I enjoy the exercise, because it allows me to focus on each team's needs, organizational trends and prospect-team pairings that make sense based on '30' visits, league buzz and overall interest," Brugler wrote.

Most expect the 49ers to address the trenches early in the draft, and Brugler has the team doing that. It's just not on the offensive side of the football. In fact, Brugler doesn't have San Francisco addressing the offensive line until the fourth round, with the selection of former Texas tackle Christian Jones.

With a total of 10 picks in the draft, the 49ers' first selection comes at No. 31 overall. Brugler has head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch picking former Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan "Johnny" Newton with that first-round selection.

"Regardless of their perceived top needs, the 49ers are always looking for upgrades on the defensive line," Brugler wrote. "Newton doesn't have ideal size for what San Francisco wants (similar to how he fits in most schemes), but his disruptive nature and relentless play personality are qualities that help him overcome average measurements."

Brugler continues to focus on defense with the 49ers' second-round pick, No. 63 overall, choosing former Kentucky cornerback Andru Phillips.

"Phillips is one of my favorite Day 2 prospects in this draft class — and the 49ers also are fond of the speedy nickel," Brugler wrote. "Phillips' lack of high-end ball production isn't ideal, but he competes, stays in phase and has the makeup that will endear him to NFL coaching."

Two rounds later, Brugler predicts the 49ers will add former Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey, the brother of current 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey.

"The McCaffrey brothers playing together in San Francisco would be a great story, obviously," Brugler wrote. "But Luke is a promising pass catcher with the toughness and ball skills that will stand out for Kyle Shanahan's offense."

Below are the 10 projected selections for the 49ers:

  • Round 1, Pick 31: Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
  • Round 2, Pick 63: Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky
  • Round 3, Pick 94: Jared Wiley, TE, TCU
  • Round 4, Pick 124: Christian Jones, OT, Texas
  • Round 4, Pick 132: Zak Zinter, G, Michigan
  • Round 4, Pick 135: Luke McCaffery, WR, Rice
  • Round 5, Pick 176: Jordan Magee, LB, Temple
  • Round 6, Pick 211: Blake Watson, RB, Memphis
  • Round 6, Pick 215: Khalid Duke, Edge, Kansas State
  • Round 7, Pick 251: Kamal Hadden, CB, Tennessee

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