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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

49ers trade up for offensive lineman in mock draft

Apr 19, 2024 at 11:18 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers hold the No. 31 overall pick, but speculation abounds that they may seek to move before or during the first round of next week's NFL Draft. With the offensive line as a prime target for improvement and the position going mostly ignored in free agency, a strategic trade-up to acquire an impact player could be in the cards.

Alyssa Barbieri proposes such a scenario in her latest mock draft for USA Today's Touchdown Wire. Barbieri envisions the 49ers trading with the Miami Dolphins to move up 10 spots, selecting former Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham.

Latham started 27 games at right tackle over his last two seasons with the Crimson Tide. His 81.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus was a career-high, as was his 79.6 run-blocking grade. Latham earned a career-high 84.6 pass-blocking grade in 2022 and a respectable 81.7 mark in 2023, allowing two sacks and 14 pressures in the latter season.

Pro Football Focus ranks the Alabama offensive lineman 18th on the analytics site's big board and could be a compelling prospect for the offensive lineman-needy 49ers.

Offering commentary on the potential pick, Kyle Madson of Niners Wire, another USA Today site, remarked, "It isn't a slam dunk that the 49ers trade up for an offensive tackle, but this is the type of scenario where they'll be aggressive in trading up. Latham is one of, if not the best, right tackle prospects in this year's class. He figures to go earlier than this, but if he or any other top OT prospects slide into this range, San Francisco should be aggressive in moving up to grab them."

The proposed trade would involve relinquishing the Nos. 31 and 63 overall picks, leaving the 49ers without another selection until the No. 94 overall pick in the third round.

"The 49ers shed their second-round pick in the process, which isn't ideal," Madson added. "Plenty of capital later in the draft should give them plenty of room to move up as needed, though. Not to mention, they'll have checked the box on their biggest need in the draft with one of the best prospects available. Everything beyond that is secondary."

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