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Lee/Hanewinckel/Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Roundtable: Favorite picks and biggest head-scratchers from the 49ers’ 2019 draft class

Apr 28, 2019 at 1:06 PM6

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With the 2019 NFL Draft in the books, the 49ers Webzone staff identified its favorite picks and biggest head-scratchers from San Francisco's most recent draft class.

There were some selections many anticipated from the San Francisco 49ers draft. Most expected Nick Bosa to go No. 2 overall and many felt the team might go receiver in Round 2. Some even thought San Francisco might double-dip on wide receivers. Although, maybe not with back-to-back team selections.

We asked our staff to identify its favorite 49ers picks and the biggest head-scratchers of the draft. Below are the responses in the order in which they were received.

Matthew Mani

Favorite Pick: Jalen Hurd because of the versatility he can bring to the offense. If he adds 15-25 lbs, he will be a faster, strong-running tight end, which lets the team run a big line-up without sacrificing anything in the passing game.

Biggest Head-scratcher: The Wishnowsky pick. Not just in the fourth round, which is a waste of a fairly important pick, but spending a draft pick on that position at all seems like a waste, especially when the 49ers have so many needs that remain unfulfilled.

Jason Aponte

Favorite Pick: While I'm thrilled with Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel, my favorite pick was Kaden Smith. Smith (6'5", 255 pounds) gives Kyle Shanahan a potential red-zone threat and someone who can come down with 50/50 balls. His 4.92 40-time won't scare anyone, but I can see Smith as a solid possession tight end with room to improve in run blocking. I expect Kyle Shanahan to have fun scheming George Kittle and Smith together in 2019.

Biggest Head-scratcher: So, a punter in the fourth round? Sorry, I know it seems easy to pick on, and maybe I'll eat my words about not loving the pick someday. Mitch Wishnowsky, I wish you all the best as a Niner, and I hope you prove me wrong.

Peter Panacy

Favorite Pick: Most people could easily say Nick Bosa, but I've been thinking about wide receiver Deebo Samuel and how Kyle Shanahan can combine his own offense with Samuel's footwork skills. The South Carolina wideout has been someone I've wanted to see in a Shanahan offense ever since 2019 Senior Bowl week. It finally came true.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Mitch Wishnowsky. Grabbing a punter in Round 4 is quite the reach, especially given the 49ers would have had plenty of choices available to address other areas of need. Perhaps the Patriots were in on Wishnowsky, too, yet the Niners could have saved that pick for, let's say, the secondary. There are probably punters almost as good as Wishnowsky, who could have been had as undrafted free agents.

Alex Pedregon

Favorite Pick: Jalen Hurd is my favorite pick but only if he plays more of a hybrid role as opposed to a pure wide receiver. If they take advantage of his incredible size, position flexibility, and unique skill-set, he could be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Regardless of how the front office tries to spin it, a four-win team with suspect depth on its roster simply can't afford to spend an early fourth-round pick on a punter. It was an embarrassingly negligent move, bordering on trolling.

Al Sacco

Favorite Pick: Nick Bosa. The 49ers needed a game wrecker who could also help close out a lead. They got that in Bosa. Arguably the best player in the draft, Bosa is a day one starter who immediately makes everyone around him better.

The last time San Francisco had three players reach 10 or more sacks in a season was 1997 (Dana Stubblefield, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene). The team has a chance to accomplish that feat again with Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Dee Ford chasing quarterbacks.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Mitch Wishnowsky. It's not the fact that the 49ers drafted a punter that boggled my mind, but when they decided to do so with so many needs. Taking Wishnowsky in the fourth-round was a huge reach for a team that doesn't have that luxury.

I had hoped interior o-line would have been a priority here. The Niners allowed 125 quarterback hits in 2018, and a big reason for that was due to struggles on the interior. That area wasn't addressed at all.

Matt Andruscavage

Favorite Pick: Deebo Samuel is a perfect fit for Coach Shanahan's offense as he runs routes very well and knows how to get separation. He is especially dangerous on slant routes so you can bet Shanahan will find ways to open things up for him so he can use his speed to get yards after the catch. Teaming him with Dante Pettis, George Kittle, and Marquise Goodwin will be a nightmare for defensive coordinators. Samuel is also a potential kickoff returner.

Biggest Head-scratcher: I'm sure everyone is going with the punter. I can't really disagree. The 49ers made a good trade with the Bengals to move down six spots in the fourth round but acquired a fifth and a sixth on top of it. They had a chance at safety Deionte Thompson or a quality cornerback. Instead, they took punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Granted he is talented and could be valuable, but the 4th round just seems way too high for a punter. It seemed very likely they could have drafted him in the fifth.

David Bonilla

I really wanted to pick the 49ers selecting two wide receivers on Day 2 as my favorite. I like it whenever the team adds versatile weapons for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. It was just a ballsy move. However, picking two selections is against the rules so I will go the more traditional route.

Favorite Pick: Bosa is a game-changing selection and a statement that the 49ers defense is looking to be a bully at the line of scrimmage. In combination with the addition of Dee Ford, San Francisco has finally addressed one of the defense's biggest weaknesses.

The improved pass rush will help in so many other areas, including allowing DeForest Buckner to see more one-on-one matches and reducing the amount of time Richard Sherman and the rest of the defensive backs have to stay in coverage. It will just make everyone better, which is maybe why the 49ers didn't find it necessary to address the defensive backfield until their final selection.

Biggest Head-scratcher: I don't so much dislike the selection of punter Mitch Wishnowsky. I just don't like the use of a fourth-round pick on him. Even Wishnowsky said after the selection that he was surprised to be selected so high.

The position was an area of need, and maybe Wishnowsky was the best punter available, but he is still a punter. With so many other areas of need, I would have been fine with San Francisco selecting their second-highest graded punter with a later pick.

Michael D'Ambrosio

Favorite Pick: The obvious choice here is Bosa, so I will be different. My pick is Jalen Hurd of Baylor. He started as a running back a Tennessee, then moved to wide receiver with Baylor. Hurd could play right end for the 49ers at some point. He reminds me of a former 49er who was used as a Swiss Army knife, Delanie Walker.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Dre Greenlaw of Arkansas. The 49ers selected him when they already have depth at that position (Kwon Alexander, Elijah Lee). The team had other areas it could have addressed here, especially after taking a punter in the fourth.

Bret Rumbeck

Favorite Pick: I am happy to jump on the Nick Bosa bandwagon. The 49ers addressed the edge position twice this offseason, which will hopefully result in more turnovers and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas moving back inside.

Greater edge talent will have a domino effect on the defense and allow defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to use more of his playbook. I'm excited to see the defense in action.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Just when I thought the 49er brass had learned a few lessons, Lynch and company raise the ghost of Trent Baalke and draft punter Mitch Wishnowsky from Utah.

What a waste of a fourth-round pick.

No team ever fulfills all position needs in the draft, but the 49ers blatantly ignored the guard position. Once again, the offense will be forced to skate by with subpar talent on the interior and zero depth in case of injury.

Justin Wong

Favorite Pick: Nick Bosa. For a team in need of blue-chip players, the 49ers didn't get cute with the second overall pick. Bosa is the best pass rusher in this draft class and considering all the rumors swirling with the Cardinals, the 49ers should be happy they landed him.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Jalen Hurd. There were so many other prospects on the board that could have contributed immediately with the No. 67 overall pick. I like the idea of a 6-4 "offensive weapon" in Kyle Shanahan's offense, but Hurd has little experience at the wide receiver position which makes you wonder if this was a luxury the 49ers could afford.

Levin T. Black

Favorite Pick: Punter Mitch Wishnowsky of Utah. Maybe it's because I played soccer through college and thus have an appreciation for kicking or maybe it's just the fact this dude can flip field position so easily. Whatever it is, I think this is a great pick. Yes, it was a fourth-round pick but what obvious starter is out there in the fourth round? The 49ers got the guy who was still available and helps the team most.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Dre Greenlaw of Arkansas. I don't really see a bad pick so I'll play devil's advocate with Greenlaw. Speed is a concern, and he's only 5-11, according to his Combine measurement. He might be too small and slow to see the field except on special teams.

Matthew Barr

Favorite Pick: Deebo Samuel felt like a foregone conclusion for the 49ers after an outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl. Samuel is an immediate upgrade on the outside for Kyle Shanahan to work with. Some may have originally thought that he was a bit of a reach at No. 36, myself included. However, after seeing how quickly the Seattle Seahawks traded out after Samuel was announced, it is fair to assume that he was their target as well.

Samuel and Pettis are now one of the best tandems at creating yards after the catch as wide receivers. Coupled with tight end George Kittle, the most exciting part of Shanahan's offense may be once the ball is in the hands of the skill position players.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Punter Mitch Wishnowsky of Utah. He's a 27-year-old punter drafted in the fourth round. There's not a ton to say about it. The player is good, but the value is not. The 49ers did have a need at punter but wasting a fourth-round pick on a specialist who may see the field for 4 to 5 plays a game is incredibly frustrating. The difference between a punter drafted and one brought in as an undrafted free agent is negligible.

Chris Wilson

Favorite Pick: Nick Bosa. The 49ers were able to select the top prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft with the second overall pick. Nick Bosa plays an important and expensive position, and one that San Francisco needed to upgrade. Drafting Bosa wasn't just a simple decision for the 49ers' front office, but it was the correct decision, and one that could reap huge benefits for the team.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Mitch Wishnowsky. I love the player, but I hate the pick, which further demonstrates that Lynch and Shanahan remain raw and have much to learn. If the pair expect to have long careers at their respective positions, they need to stop falling in love with players, which makes them waste valuable capital to obtain their latest "must-have" love interest. This especially rings true given their extremely low hit rate. On the bright side, this year's fourth-round draft pick is likely to see the field during a regular season game, which would be a first for the 49ers under the team's current regime. All that being said, if you see someone rocking a custom Wishnowsky jersey with a No. 4 on the back, come up and say hi.

Richard Madrid

Favorite Pick: Deebo Samuel is a tough and physical wide receiver who has the versatility to push the coverage deep but won't burn a team over the top. A nuanced route runner who often wins inside against defenders with inside leverage. He's tough to press and jam in man/press coverage and caught most of his touchdowns inside the red zone after beating the defender to the inside. Samuel has short-area quickness to win against press, eats defender's cushion in zone, and cuts off the defender's feet, showing great route-running ability. He doesn't break stride in traffic and fights through contact at the catch point.

Samuel is tough to bring down, too. His production was hindered with the amount of "tap pass fly's" South Carolina's offense runs. Samuel would've eclipsed 1000 yards easily if not for those plays. There are no major flaws in his game. The only red flag was a broken leg during his junior year.

Biggest Head-scratcher: Mitch Wishnowsky. Taking a punter in the fourth round shows that this regime has questionable judgment in selecting late-round picks. And it shows they place weird value on positions that rarely matter. It made Wishnowsky the highest-drafted punter in nearly a decade (Jaguars drafted a punter in the third round in 2012), used the franchise tag on a kicker who won't sign his tender, made a fullback the highest paid ever at his position, and has a lot of cash tied up on running backs in 2019. There is no reason to overspend or overdraft in any of these areas.
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.


  • mbniner
    Overall, I'm pleased with the draft, even Wishnowsky. The only pick that I really dislike is Kaden Smith. A super slow tight end with only average blocking skills and has shown no ability to get open. Ross Dwelly and, even, UFA Tyree Mayfield appear to be better athletes and more suited to Shanahan's attack. I hope that Lynch's ties to Stanford didn't cloud his judgement. The other lower round picks at least have upside and can contribute on Special Teams or make the Practice Squad as developmental players.
    Apr 30, 2019 at 4:20 PM
  • ddmur
    I have been a 49ers Fan since 1952. I started following in the draft in earnest in the late 60's. Every year fans like me and even analyst, who make a living at it, are critical of at least some of the picks. This was even true when Walsh picked Ronnie Lott, whom no one criticized, but also Carlton Williamson, whom many criticized. The vast majority of the time it seemed clear in retrospect that the 49ers brass knew far more than the fans and analyst. But there are times when history has proven that the fans and analysts actually could have done a better job than the folks in charge. Notably in this group is the Donahue-Erickson regime. Balke will never run another draft for any team given his track record. In last year's draft it is hard to argue with McGlinchey, Pettis, and Warner. It is too soon to tell with Moore, Reed, and Street. Only our sixth round pick, Harris, didn't pan out it appears. As to 2017, Foster was a disaster. Williams was a bust We will really know about Thomas by the end of this year. Most of the rest are not a stand outs. But then there was Kittle. Already we can say that these guys are better than Donhue, Erickson, and Balke.
    Apr 29, 2019 at 8:57 AM
  • Truth
    These writers analysis is what's questionable. This punter pins ppl back, it's not about booming it through the endzone. He compares favorably to Seattles punter Dickson. If you ever watched him then you know hes worth a 4th rounder. These writers don't think outside the box. I did see somebody that commented does however. He should write for the team instead as his comments are always in-depth and well thought out. Good job
    Apr 28, 2019 at 10:19 PM
  • Estal
    My friends if your look at the draft tracker 2 punters and 1 Kicker went in the 5th round. We needed a Kicker and the odds were 50/50 that best punter in the draft would have lasted to the 5th round. If we didn't grab him in the fourth round probable wouldn't have been there. Next year were going to need a kicker because Gould is not happy in SF.
    Apr 28, 2019 at 8:44 PM
  • jamescarson
    So which 4th round day one starters or immediate back ups that are sure to make the team did we miss out on?
    Apr 28, 2019 at 2:38 PM
  • kev in mendo
    my only concern with niner picks is every one of them has injury history. is this normal? hope it doesn't come back to bite them.
    Apr 28, 2019 at 2:00 PM

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