Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


Three San Francisco 49ers Who Are On the Hot Seat After the Draft

Apr 30, 2020 at 1:08 PM


Part of what makes the NFL Draft such a special event is all of the hope and excitement surrounding it. Players get to accomplish their childhood dream of playing professional football, while coaches and fans are exhilarated with what the team's new additions bring to the table. However, there is a dark side to the event.

Through the draft and the undrafted free agent market, the San Francisco 49ers added 16 rookies to the roster. With every new face that enters the building, an old one walks out. The exit might not happen until September, or whenever the regular season starts, but for the players listed below, the coming months are extremely important for their futures with the Red and Gold.

Dante Pettis


Admittedly, Dante Pettis has been on the "hot seat" for quite some time now. With only 38 catches for 576 yards in two seasons, the 2018 second-round pick hasn't lived up to the hype. He also seems to have fallen out of favor with head coach Kyle Shanahan as he didn't get any playing time after Week 12 last season and was a healthy scratch for the Super Bowl.

If the lack of production and snaps weren't enough of an ominous sign for Pettis, last weekend certainly was. The 49ers spent a first-round pick on wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and continued to address the position with Jauan Jennings on day three and Chris Finke from the undrafted free agent market. Among others, the former Husky will enter a training camp battle for a roster spot with the latter two, if he even makes it that far.

Solomon Thomas


To a lesser extent but similar to Pettis, Solomon Thomas has been a bit of a disappointment for San Francisco. After becoming the third overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, he's only managed to rack up six sacks and 16 tackles for loss and has recorded PFF grades in the 50s in two out of three seasons. The only year he managed to break the 50-mark was 2018, with a grade of 63.5.

With DeForrest Bucker out of the picture, it looked like 2020 was going to be Thomas' chance to turn things around and become a staple of San Francisco's defensive line. However, the organization taking Javon Kinlaw with the 14th overall pick changes that situation. The Stanford alum will likely still have a roster spot in the fall, but his role and future with the team beyond next season are in jeopardy.

Justin Skule


After being a sixth-round pick, just making the team and getting significant playing time was an accomplishment for Justin Skule. He filled in at left tackle when Joe Staley went down, however, he struggled mightily to fill the massive shoes of his predecessor. In eight starts the rookie allowed six sacks, 23 pressures, and finished the year with a PFF pass-blocking grade of 45.1. Meanwhile, Daniel Brunskill only allowed two sacks and nine pressures with a pass-blocking grade of 80.9, while filling at both tackle spots and right guard last season.

That type of performance is likely part of the reason the 49ers used their fifth-round selection on Colton McKivitz. In the last two seasons at West Virginia, he's allowed 3 sacks, 23 total pressures, and recorded pass-blocking grades of 82.5 and 84.9. With Brunskill outperforming Skule, the latter will enter a training camp battle with McKivitz for the team's fourth tackle spot on the roster.
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.


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