The 49ers have two scheduled picks in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.
But, let’s be honest. As nice as it sounds, the 49ers have no desire to make two picks on Day 1 of the draft.
In order for the 49ers to trade back and acquire more picks within the first two days of the draft, general manager John Lynch has to find one (or more) trade partners.
He should be able to make it happen.
But let’s pretend that he can’t find any team willing to pay the price to skip forward in the draft to make deals with the 49ers. That would leave San Francisco with seven draft picks, including no selections from the end of the first round through early in the fifth.
It would not be ideal for the 49ers to have only two draft picks within the first 155 selections of the draft, but it is entirely possible. Therefore, here is how the 49ers might handle that situation.
Projected draft class
No. 13 (first round): WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
The 49ers had a top-five offense in the league last season. A strong case can be made that the 49ers had nowhere near top-five talent and playmakers.
Welcome, Henry Ruggs, to the Bay Area.
Ruggs took a backseat to Jerry Jeudy at Alabama, but his physical talent is off the charts.
With Marquise Goodwin on his way out the door, the 49ers replace his dynamic speed and add an element of toughness and playmaking ability. Ruggs’ best football is ahead of him.
The guy is athletic, strong and aggressive. He is 5-foot-11, but all you have to do is watch his basketball highlights from high school to see how big he plays.
— Hoopmixtape.com (@Hoopmixtape) February 28, 2020
There are a lot of talented wide receivers in this draft, but Ruggs is the most electric. And it’s not even close.
No. 31 (first round): OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Lynch said he has heard nothing that leads him to believe Joe Staley will not be back in 2020.
But there has been nothing definitive from Staley.
Said Lynch, “I think people can look and say well if not this year in the near future you’re going to have to address and so does that enter the picture.”
Cleveland is a near-perfect fit for the 49ers’ scheme. If he’s there — and the 49ers make this pick — he is the man for the job.
No. 156 (fifth round): CB Michael Ojemudia, Iowa
OK, let’s admit, it’s a matter of throwing darts at this point and through the remainder of the draft.
The 49ers have experienced incredible success with players from Iowa in the fifth round (see, Hanks, Merton, 1991; and Kittle, George, 2017).
Olemudia fits the profile of a player in Robert Saleh’s scheme who has a chance to develop into a starter while making his mark early in his career on special teams. The luxury of learning from Richard Sherman is a bonus … a really big bonus.
No. 176 (fifth round): DT Malcolm Roach, Texas
The 49ers do not need another DeForest Buckner. Well, every team could use another DeForest Buckner, but you knew that already.
San Francisco could use an interior defensive lineman on the third day of the draft. The 49ers have shown interest in Malcolm Roach, who has the versatility to play a lot of different spots along the line.
No. 210 (sixth round): TE/FB Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
Josiah Deguara is a great athlete. He was a basketball player at Folsom High, on the same team as Saint Mary’s star Jordan Ford, the most dynamic player in college basketball last season. Deguara’s versatility is a huge bonus for the 49ers.
Deguara can play special teams, of course. But he can also serve as a backup to George Kittle or give Shanahan plenty of options in two-TE sets. And if the 49ers need someone in place of fullback Kyle Juszczyk, Deguara can fill that role, too.
No. 217 (seventh round): DB Madre Harper, Southern Illinois
Madre Harper comes with some baggage after being kicked off the team at Oklahoma State. But he turned it around during his time at Southern Illinois. He rebuilt his draft stock, to a degree, and is worth the gamble at this stage in the draft.
Harper has all the measurables to excel in the 49ers scheme at cornerback. If that doesn’t work out, he can easily transition to safety.
No. 245 (seventh round): OG/C Darryl Williams, Mississippi State
On Day 3 of the NFL draft, the 49ers will look for an interior offensive line to develop.
Of course, it’s highly likely that another team will grab Darryl Williams before this point in the draft. But the 49ers will have their antennas up for a player who has center-guard versatility.