San Francisco 49ers 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

    What are the most pressing San Francisco 49ers draft needs? With the 2023 NFL Draft here, let's dive into the positional gaps they might fill.

    With the NFL Draft upon us, the San Francisco 49ers are still licking their wounds (literally and figuratively) after coming oh-so-close to another Super Bowl appearance. As they prepare for another deep playoff run, what are their biggest needs during the draft, and which targets might be most appealing for a franchise that could be one or two pieces away from a title?

    San Francisco 49ers Team Needs Following Round 1

    • OT
    • CB
    • DT
    • EDGE

    The 49ers have 11 selections in this draft, but none before pick No. 99. They might try to get creative and trade up to land one or two extra Day 2 players, or perhaps a Day 1 playmaker.

    In many respects, they’re in the driver’s seat as a sure-fire NFC West title contender whose biggest of several remaining question marks concerns their starting quarterback — and that should be resolved by August, if not sooner.

    More: San Francisco 49ers 2023 NFL Draft Picks

    While San Francisco needs to upgrade at RT after letting Mike McGlinchey walk, and the previously mentioned quarterback situation has to be worked through, on paper, they look quite good offensively.

    They’ll need to figure out who their third cornerback is. The 49ers have bodies there but little that should breed confidence in fans. Although they invested in Javon Hargrave, San Francisco absolutely needs to find a gap-plugging run defender. They also need some help behind Nick Bosa and Drake Jackson besides Clelin Ferrell.

    Predictions and Top Targets for Every 49ers Draft Pick

    We used PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator to project some realistic San Francisco targets at each of their draft positions. Here’s a breakdown of the results.

    Round 3, Pick 99: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama

    Boom, there’s some cornerback help. Is Eli Ricks priced right in the early third round? We’ll see. The former five-star recruit didn’t see a lot of action last year with Alabama, and he played in only six games the year before for LSU.

    Round 3, Pick 101: Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State

    Jammie Robinson is perhaps a future starter, and perhaps a long-term depth piece, especially on a stacked Niners defensive roster.

    Round 3, Pick 102: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion

    An upgrade over backup Ross Dwelley? All-world starter George Kittle will turn 30 in October and has missed multiple games in each of the last four seasons.

    MORE: Overall 2023 NFL Draft Team Needs

    Keep an eye on whether this team digs in for another tight end — whether Zack Kuntz or an arguably more starter-ready TE.

    Round 5, Pick 155: Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame

    Given the sheer number of picks the Niners have, we might expect them to land at least one offensive lineman, and perhaps two or three. In this draft, they go with Notre Dame’s Jarrett Patterson.

    Round 5, Pick 164: Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville

    5’10” and fast, Kei’Trel Clark’s range of career outcomes varies widely. In the right landing spot, he could shine. The deep San Francisco D could be a boon for his development.

    Round 6, Pick 173: Rejzohn Wright, CB, Oregon State

    Rejzohn Wright provides more help and/or depth. PFN’s MDS assumes that the Niners might pluck some of their favorite Day 3 defensive backs and give it a few months to assess who’s ready to contribute right away, and who needs more seasoning on the practice squad.

    Round 6, Pick 216: Thomas Incoom, EDGE, Central Michigan

    Again, I’d be shocked if the 49ers keep all of these picks. Depth and developmental projects are nice. But this franchise is eyeing a Super Bowl ring. For now, let’s call this pick what it is, which is another attempt to bolster their run-stopping defense with Thomas Incoom.

    Round 7, Pick 222: Mitchell Tinsley, WR, Penn State

    Jauan Jennings remains the No. 3 WR in this offense, at least for now. Danny Gray could push him in camp; we’ll see. And this team could use another wideout. While Mitchell Tinsley might not profile as an NFL starter, he could make a play for a special-teams role out of the gate

    Round 7, Pick 247: Marshon Ford, TE, Louisville

    Sure, why not? Take a look at another tight end while weighing depth chart options behind Kittle.

    Round 7, Pick 253: Tashawn Manning, G, Kentucky

    More o-line help. Or perhaps a cut candidate. At this late stage, teams often are trying to find guys with surprisingly good ceilings, even if their floors are quite low.

    Round 7, Pick 255: Dom Peterson, DT, Nevada

    Another piece for the defensive line. Nothing to lose as the draft winds down.

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