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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

49ers finally address tackle position in early ESPN 2025 mock draft

Jul 3, 2024 at 9:53 AM

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Matt Miller is already looking ahead to next year's draft. The ESPN analyst recently published an early 2025 NFL mock draft, projecting all 32 first-round selections. Miller acknowledges that he has yet to watch a lot of film on everyone, but the mock draft offers an early glimpse into what could happen based on his initial reviews.

For the order of the mock draft, Miller utilized ESPN's Football Power Index, which has the New England Patriots initially owning the No. 1 overall pick and the San Francisco 49ers owning the No. 32 overall pick. However, Miller has the Patriots trading out of the top spot.

As a longtime 49ers fan, Miller had hoped that San Francisco would address the offensive tackle position in this year's draft. That didn't happen, but it could become a significant position of need next year, with Trent Williams slated to start the season at 37 years old and depending on Colton McKivitz's performance this year.

Miller projects the 49ers selecting tackle Ajani Cornelius from Oregon.

"It was tempting to put Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke or Ole Miss defensive tackle Walter Nolen here, but the 49ers have to address the offensive line after ignoring a problem area (again) in the 2024 offseason," Miller wrote. "In his first year as a starter, Cornelius locked down the right side of the Oregon line with zero sacks and four pressures allowed."

Cornelius is entering his second season with the Ducks after lining up on the edge of the offensive line in all 897 of his blocking snaps last season. He played his first three collegiate seasons at Rhode Island.

"At 6-5 and 308 pounds, he has the length and lateral agility to fit the 49ers' zone-blocking scheme while also giving them a long-term plan for Trent Williams' eventual retirement," Miller concluded.
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