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San Francisco 49ers NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2021

The 49ers are in a prime position to take a quarterback. How did the 49ers’ 2021 NFL Draft picks grade out?

San Francisco 49ers NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2021
Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) runs the ball in the game against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers made the bold move. They traded up from No. 12 to No. 3 in order to get the quarterback of their choice. Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch, and company are looking for this quarterback to launch them to a potential Super Bowl title. What grades did the 49ers’ 2021 NFL Draft picks receive?

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49ers draft picks in 2021

  • 3rd Overall Selection (R1-P3, from Houston): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
  • 48th Overall Selection (R2-P16): Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
  • 88th Overall Selection (R3-P24, from L.A. Rams): Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State
  • 102nd Overall Selection (R3-P38, compensatory pick): Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan
  • 155th Overall Selection (R5-P11): Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan
  • 172nd Overall Selection (R5-P28, from New Orleans): Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon
  • 180th Overall Selection (R5-P36, compensatory pick): Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC
  • 194th Overall Selection (R6-P10): Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

Who did the 49ers draft on Day 1?

With the third overall pick of a 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected North Dakota State QB Trey Lance.

San Francisco 49ers grades for 2021 NFL Draft

After leading North Dakota State to a National Championship, Lance lands in the Bay Area.

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

With phenomenal arm talent and mobility, Lance has the ability to elevate the offense around him. The 49ers did not fall into the trap of getting someone with limited tools. Lance has them in spades and adds another dimension to the 49ers’ offense with his legs.

He will have to clean up some accuracy issues, but he is one of the most intelligent football players in the draft. No one was asked to do more pre-snap under center in this class than Lance. His post-snap decision-making must improve, as he did make some spotty decisions on plays. However, Lance is a talented quarterback, a leader, and a guy that could elevate the 49ers to the next level.

Grade: A-

Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame

Aaron Banks is an experienced, powerful guard prospect that the 49ers should see start relatively soon after his selection. However, the fit for Banks is a little odd, as Banks does not have great athleticism.

Due to some lower-body stiffness, it brings into question how well Banks may fit into the 49ers heavy wide-zone scheme. Banks will be a solid pass protector for Trey Lance and can move guys with ease, but the fit does bring up some questions for this selection.

Grade: C+

Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State

The 49ers needed a running back badly. With most of their running backs on one-year deals, the Trey Sermon pick signals that the 49ers will go much more with a scheme diverse option rather than a forced wide-zone scheme. Sermon’s vision, burst, power, and lateral agility are delightful. While he must develop as a receiver, Sermon should be an efficient runner in a solid, efficient offense.

Grade: B+

Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan

Ambry Thomas is the type of guy who has all the physical tools to be a good cornerback at the next level. With sweet feet, downhill explosiveness, and solid long speed, Thomas relies a lot on his physical nature more so than actual technique.

The raw technique he carries, specifically false steps, and inconsistent press technique will hurt him. However, there is upside to the pick so long as Thomas gets into a weight room early on and the 49ers can develop that technique.

Grade: B

Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan

The 49ers did need to add someone to this tackle room. They do so by a nimble-footed, patient tackle in Jaylon Moore. Moore’s grip strength and controlled style of play will suit him well in San Francisco, and his athleticism is ideal for the wide-zone scheme.

Grade: A-

Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon

The 49ers had a bad need at cornerback with a lack of depth across the position. Enter Deommodore Lenoir, who is fluid and instinctive in the slot. With no K’Waun Williams there anymore, Lenoir can compete for a roster spot as a cover corner with upside to be a little more.

Grade: B-

Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC

The 49ers add an instinctive, physical football player in Talanoa Hufanga. A guy who would have gone a lot higher if not for injury concerns, Hufanga has starter ability if he can stay healthy. It truly is only a question of health for the talented former Trojan. Hufanga should step in and be a special-teams leader who could start down the line.

Grade: A-

Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

A guy who ran a blazing 4.33 40-yard dash at his pro day, Elijah Mitchell is an athletic, explosive player with good all-around athleticism. He is a reliable pass catcher who can break big plays thanks to plus contact balance. In the one-cut wide-zone scheme, Mitchell should fit in quite nicely.

Grade: A-

San Francisco 49ers Overall Grade: A-

The 49ers got a quality draft as they restocked the offensive side of the football. First, Trey Lance is a great pick and can elevate this team to new heights where they had not been before. The offensive line also was addressed well with Aaron Banks and Jaylon Moore. Banks was a bit early and that hurts that pick, but he will be a solid player.

Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell are a good duo of backs to help replenish the room. Fortifying the secondary was also a job well done, although it would have been nice to see them come out of the draft with an edge rusher. Nonetheless, a solid draft.

Team needs for San Francisco coming into the NFL Draft

The 49ers need a quarterback, but where else do they need reinforcements?

Quarterback

The 49ers are slated to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo, and they traded up to the third overall pick to get their quarterback. It is just a matter of who they take, but they need someone who can elevate the team to the next level.

Running Back

The 49ers have a bunch of running backs currently on one-year deals. While the room itself is not bad, and the team often does not place a premium on it, it would be wise to add depth to this group during the draft.

Cornerback

The 49ers cornerback room could use some help. There is no Richard Sherman there, and while they have a few nice players that have upside, it is a room that could use depth and security across the board.

Edge Rusher

Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are still here, but the 49ers are undoubtedly looking closely at adding another rotational piece to this group. Pass rush has been a bastion of their strategy in past years, and it should not change this year.

Offensive Line

Perhaps a little further down the board on the list of needs, the 49ers could stand to add some depth at either guard or center. It is always worth investing into your offensive line, and it would be no surprise to see the 49ers do just that with one of their picks.

Want more 2021 NFL Draft news? Want to do your own mock draft?

Dive into PFN’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator and test your own drafting acumen. Continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay in the loop on all things college football and the NFL Draft landscape.

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