The San Francisco 49ers came up just short last season in their bid for the Super Bowl title, losing 20-31 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the title game. The team will look to add some younger pieces to the defense and some more weapons for their franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, in the 2020 NFL Draft. If the 49ers hope to get back to the top of the NFC again in 2020, acing this draft would be a good starting point. This updated 7-round mock draft attempts to do just that.
Team Needs: WR, DE, EDGE, S, OT, OG
The team hit a home run with their first two picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, as Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel were substantial contributors for the NFC Champions. Even so, San Francisco still needs to add depth and additional playmakers at receiver and on the defensive line early in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The 49ers will also need to add depth to the offensive line and secondary. All-Pro Richard Sherman and stalwart left tackle Joe Staley are entering the twilight of their careers, so long-term replacements should be on the list. This draft is extremely deep on the offensive line and at defensive back and San Francisco will look to capitalize on that talent.
Round 1, Pick 13: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
San Francisco acquired this pick via a trade with the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for superstar defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. The selection of Kinlaw here would be a seamless transition from one ultra-talented lineman to another. Kinlaw’s measurables and talent are off the charts, and he would be a great fit in the middle of San Francisco’s defense. He would fill a significant need at the defensive tackle for coordinator Robert Saleh.
The defensive line was the catalyst for San Francisco’s Super Bowl run last season and it is imperative to keep that train running smoothly on the tracks. Bosa, the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2019, was one of the best defensive players in the league and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. On March 16th, the team re-signed fellow defensive lineman, Arik Armstead, to a five-year, $85 million contract.
— NFL (@NFL) March 16, 2020
By keeping Armstead, the 49ers took steps to keep some continuity on this defense, and teaming Kinlaw with their two stud pass-rushers would be another huge step. In terms of organization and fit, this pick makes a ton of sense for the 49ers.
Round 1, Pick 31: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The 49ers add another great athlete here by selecting Denzel Mims with their second first-round pick. Mims is a player whose stock has risen a great deal since the end of the college football season. He has excellent size and speed and was a consistent downfield threat for the Bears. Mims has excellent leaping ability and can separate to make tough catches in tight coverage. His ability translates well to the NFL, and it would not be surprising to see him as a late first-round pick. Mims also shows tremendous body control, as evidenced by this sideline grab below.
Denzel Mims in the first. KJ Hamler in the second.
Idc what else happens. pic.twitter.com/qQNEpf0Zt8
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) March 25, 2020
The Niners struck gold with their 2019 second-rounder Samuel and made a timely trade for Emmanuel Sanders before the deadline. Samuel is a player with great tools and the team likes to move around to take advantage of his playmaking ability. He possesses a skill-set to be a possible number one for the team following the free-agent loss of Sanders to the New Orleans Saints. Sanders’ presence was a massive boost to this unit last season, which appeared to step up their play upon his arrival. The team will need to find a replacement for Sanders, and Mims is a great candidate here with the 31st pick.
Round 5, Pick 156: Netane Muti, G, Fresno State
The 49ers run an “outside zone” blocking scheme, which requires the offensive linemen to move well in space. Muti would be an excellent fit in this offense, at a discounted price in the fifth round. No NFC team ran the ball more than the 49ers in 2019, and the team needs to add depth on the interior of the offensive line. San Francisco does an excellent job confusing opposing defenses by moving players around before the snap, and the offense keeps a fast, up-tempo pace consistently.
The linemen for San Francisco block well in space, and each of them is very intelligent, hard-workers that keep this scheme running successfully for coach Shanahan. Muti is quick with his feet and does well in space, while also getting to the second level in a hurry. While he lacks ideal length and power for the position, he will be a tremendous asset in the right scheme. The team gets a long-term starter here at one of the guard spots with the 156th pick in the fifth round.
Round 5, Pick 176: Neville Clarke, CB, UCF
San Francisco likes to draft long outside corners with great size that can be physical with receivers, and also challenge downfield. Clarke has the ideal size for the position and good enough speed to keep up with the talented receivers of the NFC West. The former UCF Knight is also extremely agile and a sufficient-enough tackler that he could also help inside for this defense.
The team seems set with starters Sherman and Akhello Witherspoon, but Clarke would provide a great third option behind either starter or line up in the slot on obvious passing downs. His skill set translates well to the next level, and that ability is what the 49ers need. The team may even view Clarke as an eventual replacement for Sherman after this season.
Round 6, Pick 210: Yasir Durant, OT, Missouri
Speaking of long-term replacements, Durant is a logical fit here as a potential blindside protector for the quarterback Garoppolo. The incumbent Staley will be entering his 14th season in 2020 at the ripe age of 35 years old. The long-time stalwart at left tackle for San Francisco, Staley missed nine games in 2019, and it may be time to look for backup options here in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Durant is a massive player at 6’6″, 331 lbs that moves well for his size. He strikes me as a player that could end up being a better pro than a college player due to his length and ability to engulf and overpower defenders. He may be an ideal fit at right tackle because he is not an elite athlete. However, this selection would give the team versatility and protection on the offensive line, which could pay extreme dividends late into the season.
Round 7, Pick 217: Jake Hanson, C, Oregon
The 49ers continue to add depth and experience on the offensive line with this pick of the former Oregon center, Jake Hanson. The Ducks’ pivot man has started almost every game since his redshirt-freshman season in 2016. He has been a model of consistency and leadership during his 49 starts with this fast-paced Oregon offense. Hanson committed only one penalty over 746 snaps in 2019, and only allowed only one sack during his first three seasons as the starter.
The talented lineman is also a two-time Associated Press Pac-12 All-Conference Second-Team selection. San Francisco would be getting a smart and disciplined player with the perfect size that would provide quality insurance for starter Weston Richburg. He could also see some starts if Richburg is slow to return from the patellar tendon injury that he suffered in 2019.
Round 7, Pick 245: Javelin Guidry, S, Utah
As San Francisco looks to add versatile pieces this offseason, Javelin Guidry is a name that could interest the team in the late stages of the 2020 NFL Draft. Guidry is an exceptional athlete, as evidenced by his 4.29 forty-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He is short, but thickly built and is extremely agile for the position. At 5’9″, Guidry also bench pressed 225 a total of 21 times at the Combine.
He is a big-hitter that can move between safety and slot corner for the 49ers, giving them a poor man’s Tyrann Mathieu effect in the secondary. With that outstanding speed, Guidry will also be an asset on special teams during his first season as he attempts to learn Saleh’s defense. Once acquainted with this scheme, Guidry may end up being one of the bigger surprises of this draft class.
Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the 2021 NFL Draft. You can follow him at @sgormanPFN on Twitter.