San Francisco 49ers Draft Review

Brady Podloski | April 28th, 2020

The NFL draft is over, and now we are all left with no sports for the summer. Now, all we can do is analyze and debate whether teams had a good draft or not. In short, the Niners had a good draft. They were even able to trade a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick for starting left tackle Trent Williams. While the Niners didn’t have very many draft picks going into Thursday, they made the most of their five selections. 

Round 1, Pick 14: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Kinlaw has some of the highest upside among any of the prospects in this draft as he has the size and athleticism to be elite. At 6’5″ and 324 lbs, Kinlaw has unbelievable burst and quickness which allows him to beat guards and centers on his first step. While most players at 6’5″ have a difficult time with leverage and keeping their pad level down, Kinlaw excels at utilizing leverages and effectively uses it as a counter move. His low pad level also makes him effective when shooting gaps and getting upfield.

Kinlaw does everything well and his floor would be an average defensive tackle, but his ceiling is an interior pass rusher who can have ten plus sacks a year. Lynch made the shrewd trade of trading DeForest Buckner (who was paid 23 million), and getting a player who could be better than Buckner while saving over ten million dollars for other players. Overall, Kinlaw was a slam dunk pick and represents an incredible value from a good trade. 

Full Scouting Report here.

Grade: A

Round 1, Pick 25: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, ASU

Aiyuk is a great player and has all the tangle skills that the 49ers like in their receivers. However, I don’t understand the trade to move up from 31 to 25 to get him. Considering the Niners had a lack of picks going in, I thought they would move back and get Aiyuk. However, Aiyuk can play multiple positions on the Niners offense due to his speed and route-running ability. I’m excited to see him take over the recently departed Emmanuel Sanders role. 

Aiyuk has two significant traits which will make him a successful receiver in the league. His run after the catch where his vision makes him make one or two defenders miss. In screens and gadgets play, he’ll be a valuable asset. The second trait is his body control and with his long arms, which allow him to make adjustments and catches other players are not. Overall, Aiyuk has the traits and athleticism to be successful in the NFL.  

Full Scouting Report here.

Grade (With the trade): B

Round 5, Pick 153: Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia

McKivitz is a mobile lineman with the movement skills to get out in space. The Niners run game works primarily off of the outside zone scheme, meaning the offensive linemen need agility and body control to maintain position. McKivitz does both things well in a 6’6″, 306 lbs frame. He serves more for depth, but I suspect may be moved to play guard. Either way, he is versatile enough to be a backup for guard and tackle positions

Grade: B

Round 6, Pick 190: Charlie Woerner, TE, Georgia

Woerner is a blocking tight end who understands his assignments on who to block. As well, he’s always in the right position to make the blocks effective. Woerner’s best trait in blocking will allow him to be valuable to the Niners as they need mobile run blockers who can get out in space and make blocks. Woerner doesn’t add much value in the passing game but has a lot to improve including reliability in catching and suddenness in his routes. In his final year at Georgia, he had nine receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown. Overall, this pick adds depth to the fullback position and tight end, of which both positions are used heavily. 

Grade: B

Round 7, Pick 217: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee

Jennings has some receiving ability, but largely lacks route running, athleticism, and reliable hands to be a starter. His lack of athleticism showed up in the combine as he ran a 4.7 in the forty-yard dash and had a vertical jump of 29”, both of which are alarming metrics for wide receivers. However, Jennings is built like a running back at 6’3″, 215 lbs and is a threat in gadget plays and screens. His run after the catch ability is what got him drafted, as he forces missed tackles at a high rate. Overall, Jennings is the perfect back up to Deebo Samuel as a result of his ability to gain yards after the catch. 

Grade: B+

The 49ers are still contenders as they replaced the most significant holes in their rosters with high upside players like Aiyuk and Kinlaw. They were able to use a fifth-round pick to bring in Trent Williams to cover the left tackle position. Then in later rounds, the Niners were able to bring invaluable depth pieces, of which each player fits their scheme. Each pick they had, was used to draft or trade for someone who can contribute to their team. 

Final Grade: B+

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