49ers Fantasy and Season Preview

As a lifelong 49ers fan, I love the direction this organization is heading in. They are finally contenders and have a stacked roster of talented players. Below is a fantasy breakdown of the team, where I might not sound as optimistic in the team, but just goes to show that being the best in fantasy doesn’t mean wins on the field.

BANG BANG NINER GANG!

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy G is already one of the more polarizing players in the league despite only being a starter for one full season. It seems like half of the league thinks he has the chance to be an elite quarterback and the other half thinks he’s as useful as a screen door on a submarine. As bad as people thought he played last year, particularly in a run-first offense, he finished with the 14th most fantasy points for quarterbacks. Garoppolo has a strong offensive line and big-play receivers in George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, which helps make his life easier. He was the only quarterback to finish in the top ten in yards per attempt, touchdowns, and completion percentage in 2019 which shows to me he’s a solid all-around option and has a high floor. While he does make some terrible decisions that result in turnovers, 4 of his 13 interceptions from a season ago were a result of drops by his receivers. Some will be turned off after watching the 49ers turn into a heavy run team, but Garropolo finished seventh last year in red-zone passing attempts. Shanahan’s outside zone run game is successful but historically becomes less effective when the field gets smaller inside of the twenty yard line. Assuming this trend continues, Garoppolo will continue to throw for more than 25 touchdowns per season, making him a viable fantasy option. 

Others

In a perfect world, none of the other quarterbacks have to play much, if at all. Nick Mullens is firmly entrenched as the #2 and proven to be a decent quarterback who had some potential in fantasy due to his accuracy and being in Shanahan’s offense. The clock may strike twelve on Beathard’s tenure as a 49er and UDFA Broc Rutter gets to hang around Jimmy Garoppolo during training camp. Maybe he can ask what conditioner he uses.

Raheem Mostert

I know he has requested a trade, but let’s be honest with the fact that he’s not leaving. The 49ers hold all of the leverage here and have no reason to give in to any demands. If anything, Mostert should be upset at his agent for negotiating a terrible deal for him last offseason. On the field, he led all running backs with a 5.7 ypc and has gained muscle this offseason to prepare for what he says is “a 200 carry season”. It finally seems that he’s going to emerge as the lead back in San Francisco and he’s earned that right. Shanahan will implement a running back by committee so that does handcuff Mostert a little bit, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t get most of the carries as long as he is healthy. As a receiver, he doesn’t offer much upside aside from catching the occasional screen pass. He might be the last option of anyone in the backfield when it comes to being the receiving option, but overall Mostert is still the 49ers running back you’ll want to target. He will be more desired in non-PPR leagues, but I like him as a solid RB2/Flex option on your roster.

Tevin Coleman

Shanahan’s dedication to Coleman is actually very admirable. It was clear that he wasn’t the best running back on the roster, but he stuck with him all the way to the Super Bowl. In his first season, he finished tied for first in carries, despite both Mostert and Matt Breida averaging more than a yard per carry more than him. It’s not that Coleman is a bad running back, it’s just that nothing he does stands out. Despite that, you can count on him to be consistent. He didn’t fumble the ball in 2019 and also led the 49ers running backs in catches with 21. He did suffer a high ankle sprain in week 1 which may have contributed to his lack of explosiveness, which would be understandable. However, there’s one role that Coleman has seemingly locked down and that’s the role of short-yardage back, most importantly the goal line back. Coleman saw double the carries in the red zone than Mostert did and was 19th overall in the league in carries inside of the 5-yard line, despite the fact he was sharing snaps pretty evenly and missed a few games with an injury. Many 49ers fans might want Jeff Wilson Jr. to have this role in 2020, but as long as Jerick McKinnon is healthy (big IF), Wilson is unlikely to be active on game days. Don’t count on him to be one of your starters, but utilize him as a safe bench option since you know he’s going to provide you with average production week in and week out. 


Others

I mean this is the year McKinnon is healthy, right? Right? Might be asking a lot, but this organization clearly has some sort of faith in him and he could have a role in the offense. It might be almost strictly as a third-down back or gadget player, but Shanahan will find something for him. Still not worth drafting. Jeff Wilson Jr. is a fan favorite due to the fact every time he touches the ball it seems to be for a touchdown. But, as I said earlier I don’t think he’ll be suited up on game days. If he is, keep an eye out for him in fantasy as what we call a “touchdown vulture”. He runs tough and has shown the ability to catch the ball. One of Jamycal Hasty or Slavon Ahmed has a chance to make the team if the organization decides to move on from one of the aforementioned running backs. Both seem to be Shanahan’s type of runner, but with little to no preseason, it’s impossible to count on them for anything. Finally, there’s Kyle Jusczczyk, the best fullback in the league. Hell of a player, but not a fantasy option. All love though Juice. 

Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel

I’ll just come out and say that his foot injury scares the crap out of me. He’s very confident that he will be on field week 1, but that will be tough to accomplish. However, since it’s so far out for the sake of this preview I will assume he’s good to go against the Cardinals on September 13th. 71% of his yards came after week 7, where he began to have a more prominent role in the offense across from Emmanuel Sanders. Now that Sanders is gone, Deebo is WR1 and also good for a few carries a game as well. Of his 159 rushing yards last year, 122 yards came in the last five games (13.5 yards per carry), as did two of his three rushing touchdowns.  He’s the perfect dynamic playmaker that Shanahan loves to work with and wants to feature in his offense every week. If he gets off to a slow start this season, do not get rid of him! We don’t know how he will look after the foot injury and it shouldn’t shock anyone if he is a bit slow out of the gate. Also, despite him taking the role as the top receiver on the team, that doesn’t mean he’s the team’s first option. That is and will likely continue to be Kittle for the foreseeable future. The 49ers do only face three of the top ten passing defenses from a season ago and do have six games against teams that were in the bottom ten of passing defenses. As I stated earlier, I think Jimmy G will get better and that helps Deebo. I don’t think you should rely on him as your top receiver or even your second receiver, but he’s a very strong flex option. 

Kendrick Bourne

Now I actually believe that Kendrick Bourne could be a decent sleeper option. He knows the offense, he’s healthy, and he gets red zone targets. With seemingly half of the receiving corps coming off of injuries and the other half being unproven, Bourne is a steady and safe option for Shanahan to trust. He did have four drops last year, which as a fan was incredibly frustrating at times, but he has yet to lose his spot on the lineup. Over the past two seasons, he has 9 touchdowns on 72 catches (12.5%) and this is where his true value lies. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a high volume guy, but he’s a machine on the slant route from about the six or seven-yard line where he and Jimmy have that timing down to a T. No chance I drafting him, but I think come week one he’s starting and if can perform well early, no chance he will lose playing time. He doesn’t have the skill of Dante Pettis or the quickness of Trent Taylor, but he works his ass off and stays healthy.  

Brandon Aiyuk 

By the midway point of the season (if not sooner) Aiyuk will be starting across from Deebo Samuel as the 49ers starting receiver. Put that in sharpie, it’s happening folks. He plays very similarly to Deebo in the sense they have tons of YAC potential, but Aiyuk was a much better deep play receiver in college. He will be used a lot in motion so that will grant him a free release at the line and since the team lacks a true deep-threat, I anticipate Aiyuk becoming that. He might not light it up for the first few games, but it took half the season for Samuel to get consistent playing time. Shanahan says the Aiyuk was his favorite receiver in the entire draft and an innovative player-caller like Shanahan wouldn’t say that if he didn’t have big plans for the youngster from Arizona State. He will get I suspect most of the targets that went to Emmanuel Sanders, who saw about six targets a game. I wouldn’t draft him, but he’s a guy you’ll want to keep an eye on once bye weeks start. 

Others

Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd are two very intriguing options here that I’ll keep a close eye on as training camp starts. Taylor and Jimmy were a great connection down the stretch in 2017 and Taylor was the guy getting a lot of looks on third down. Then a back injury in 2018 slowed him down, with the foot injury in 2019 costing him the whole season. In training camp last year, reporters were calling him the team’s best receiver and seemed destined to have a breakout campaign. I have no doubt if he can stay healthy that he will be the team’s main slot receiver, but you just can’t trust him to play a full season. Hurd became a fan favorite during the 2019 preseason and had all of us salivating at the fact the 49ers finally had a physical receiver that could go up and get the football. But, just like Taylor, an injury cost him his whole season. If he’s healthy, he’ll be used in a variety of ways and line up at multiple positions. Might not be worthy of a fantasy roster spot, but will have an impact on this team. Then you have Dante Pettis, Richie James Jr, Travis Benjamin, and JaJuan Jennings all fighting for probably two rosters spots. I personally think James Jr and Jennings will be the ones who make the roster, but neither would get consideration for legitimate playing time. 


Tight Ends
George Kittle

We all know that the People’s Tight End is one of the baddest MOFO’s in the league. He’s the best tight end in the league and will become a very rich man in the near future. In 2019, despite missing two games, Kittle finished second in fantasy points for a tight end and first in points per game with 15.9 (according to ESPN). He accounted for 22% of the team’s targets, which should increase if he can play a full season and due to the loss of Emmanuel Sanders. One area of slight concern is the lack of touchdowns, logging five in each of the last two seasons. Despite this, he is the fourth most targeted tight end in the red zone meaning that the opportunities are there, he just needs to find a way into the end zone. The 49ers are a run-first team and ran the ball the second-most in the league in 2019, but it honestly helps Kittle. He’s very dangerous in play-action where teams have to respect his value as a blocker. Countless times the team will call play-action and Jimmy will look for Kittle in the flat where he will have room to run. He has the most YAC yards in the league since 2018, so it’s tough to imagine any handcuff that would stunt Kittle’s fantasy years besides an injury. And oh yea if it’s not clear already, #PayGeorgeKittle

Others

Ross Dwelley did have a two touchdown game and has some fans on Twitter, but he’s not a fantasy option. Charlie Woerner will be used as a blocker and has close to zero fantasy value. The train starts and stops with Kittle. 

49ers defense/special teams

The team returns every starter but one from the third-ranked fantasy defense in 2019. Losing Deforest Buckner is a massive loss, but this defensive line should still be able to get pressure at will. Nick Bosa figures to be a contender for DPOY and if Arik Armstead can replicate his ten sack total from last year, it’ll be tough for any quarterback to throw on them. The key to the defensive line I believe is Dee Ford. If he can stay somewhat healthy, they will once again be the number one pass defense in the league. They do have five games against top ten scoring offenses from a year ago, but it balances out nicely with the four games against bottom ten scoring defenses from last year. The only two teams in my opinion that this team struggled against in 2019 were the Saints and Cardinals, who they’ll play this upcoming season as well. The Saints game was a shootout that saw 94 points scored between the two teams, but I am a little more worried about the Cardinals. They had trouble trying to slow down Kyler Murray and his running ability and they only got better with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins. Still not enough to be overly concerned as this defense is loaded with young talent, but just something to keep in mind if you draft them. In terms of the special teams portion, you’re probably not going to get too much value. That’s just how the game is nowadays with kickoff returns happening less frequently and punters keeping the ball away from elite returners. 

Robbie Gould

The opportunities will be there for Gould, but will he capitalize. After missing three attempts in his first two years with the 49ers, Gould missed eight in 2019. Despite this, Shanahan still trusted him enough to have 31 attempts in 13 games. With 41 and 34 attempts the previous 

Years, you can almost guarantee that he’ll have more than 30 attempts, where he is only one of four kickers to have that many attempts in every season since 2017. That’s value right there. I optimistically hope he can connect with 90% of his kicks as he did in 2017 and 2018, but even if he hovers around the 80% range, based on his attempts alone he’ll be towards the top in most made in 2020. Here’s one interesting stat I noticed just recently: when long snapper Kyle Nelson returned from his suspension week 8 against the Panthers, Gould went 18-19 the rest of the season including the playoffs. I’m not going to lie and say I’m some sort of kicking expert but that’s an encouraging sign I feel like for Gould’s 2020 campaign.

And just for fun, I did my first prediction for the 53 man roster. I actually feel relatively confident in this list, which means that the final roster will look nothing like this list.

Roster

QB (2)

Jimmy Garroppolo 

Nick Mullens


RB (5)

Raheem Mostert

Tevin Coleman

Jerrick McKinnon

Jeff Wilson Jr

Kyle Juszczyk

WR (7)

Deebo Samuel

Kendrick Bourne

Brandon Aiyuk

Trent Taylor

Jalen Hurd

Richie James

JaJuan Jennings

Dante Pettis

TE (3)

George Kittle

Ross Dwelley

Charlie Woerner

OL (9)

Trent Williams

Mike McGlinchey

Daniel Brunskill

Laken Tomlinson

Weston Richburg

Colton McKivitz

Ben Garland

Justin Skule

Shon Coleman

DL (9)

Nick Bosa

Arik Armstead

Dee Ford

D.J. Jones

Javon Kinlaw

Solomon Thomas 

Kerry Hyder, Jr. 

Julian Taylor 

Ronald Blair

Kevin Givens


LB (5)

Fred Warner

Dre Greenlaw

Kwon Alexander

Azeez Al-Shaair

Joe Walker

DB (10)

Richard Sherman

Jimmie Ward

Jaquiski Tartt

Ahkello Witherspoon

Emmanuel Moseley

Marcell Harris

Tarvarious Moore

K’Waun Williams

Tim Harris

Jamar Taylor

Specialists (3)

Robbie Gould 

Mitch Wishnowsky

Kyle Nelson

PUP

D.J. Reed

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe below and let us know what you think. If you feel like donating and want access to some early blog releases and exclusive breakdown content or to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen.

2020 49ers Draft Review: Quality Over Quantity

The expectation was that the 49ers were going to be a team aggressive in trading down, gaining more picks than the six they had coming in. However, in typical draft fashion, things did not go how we all planned. They went better. Each move and selection came with a purpose and a plan. Here I talk about each pick and what each means to the franchise.

1.14- Javon Kinlaw: Identity

The 49ers loooooooove their defensive linemen and for the fifth time in six years, they drafted one in the first round by selecting Kinlaw. To be honest, I was upset at first thinking that there was a greater need at receiver and a duo of highly regarded receivers sitting atop the best players available. I felt that the team can’t simply replace a player like Buckner and a committee of Solomon Thomas, DJ Jones, Kevin Givens, Kentavius Street, and Julian Taylor can fill-in at three-technique. Then I quickly snapped back to reality and realized that Kinlaw has the upside and talent to be the next Buckner. Kinlaw is 6-5, 315 lbs, and a human wrecking ball that can blow up tackles and guards with pure power and quickness. While he won’t replicate Buckner’s production in year one or year two, he’s going to be a good player for years to come. Great teams build identities, the 49ers identity is having a strong defensive line which results in having a great defense. By drafting another young lineman that’ll put pressure on the quarterback, you’re ensuring that you’re committing to that identity. In the short-term he’ll start but not have to bear the weight of the line like Buckner did early in his career, but to just simply do his job, which is to provide interior pressure to force the quarterbacks to panic and to occupy blocks on runs. 

Also, what a trade by Lynch to gain a fourth-rounder to move back one spot. It would come in handy….

1.25- Brandon Aiyuk: Fit

It was no secret that the 49ers were going to target a receiver early and from a pure schematic point of view, Aiyuk may have been the best fit. Shanahan agreed as he said that Aiyuk was the #1 receiver on his board and doubled down by saying that the team considered drafting him at 13. So, the team got aggressive and decided to move up from 31 to 25 to draft the Arizona State product as they felt that he would not have been there at 31. Aiyuk isn’t the biggest receiver, but he has an insane wingspan (81 inches) and has fairly good speed (ran a 4.5 at the combine). He’s very similar to Deebo Samuel in the fact that they are explosive and are excellent in intermediate routes (slants and dig routes notably) and both are exceptional in the run after the catch. Aiyuk seems to have no fear over the middle and is afraid of contact, similar to Deebo and which is something that’s plagued Dante Pettis so far. He does struggle with beating press coverage, but do you know a way to beat that? Using pre-snap motion, which the 49ers implement on nearly 80% of their plays. Shanahan loves chess pieces that he can use to manipulate the opposing team’s defense to exploit their weaknesses and Aiyuk is certainly an intriguing one. 

Trade for Trent Williams, this years 5th and next years 3rd- Reloading

Highway Robbery. Another great trade by Lynch and company to send a 5th and next year’s third to pick up one of the best left tackles in the league. Even if Williams isn’t the elite tackle, which would not be a total surprise after not playing an entire season, I can’t see him being anything worse than a very good tackle. The 49ers lucked out that the Redskins are a poorly run organization and that Williams wanted to come out west, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. 

Trade Matt Breida to Dolphins for pick 153- The Future

Breida was a dang good back for the 49ers the past three seasons and should receive nothing but praise from the Niners faithful. An undrafted, undersized speedster immediately stepped in and was a good #2. However, with a 3.2 million cap hit this upcoming season and the emergence of Raheem Mostert, the need for Breida just wasn’t there anymore. Getting a 5th for him is good value.

5.153- Colton McKivitz- Versatility

Fans want every pick to be a home run and that every selection should be a pro bowler, but that’s not how things work. You need to find the players who are going to round out the roster and bring value in multiple aspects of the game. McKivitz may very well develop into a starter, but more likely than not he’s going to be a high-level starter. What he is going to be is a guy who can play all across the line and be exactly what a back-up offensive lineman should be. He’s a quick and athletic guy for his size which makes him a perfect fit for the 49ers offense. Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill figure to be the starting guards this upcoming season, but in case of injury or inconsistent play, then McKivitz will get his chance to play.  

Trade Marquise Goodwin, pick 210 for pick 190- Budgeting

This was the move that we all knew was coming. Goodwin had a great 2017 season, but injuries and drops moved him down the depth chart. Being the highest-paid receiver on the roster, it was time to move on to clear cap space for a future contract extension for Kittle. Moving up 20 picks was good, but getting rid of Goodwin’s contract was better.

6.190- Charlie Woerner- Physicality

Every team needs a player or two with a junkyard dog’s mentality. Willing to be physical and do the dirt work and not receive the notoriety for it. Last year a prime example of that was Levine Toilolo, the third tight end and blocking specialist who only had two receptions all season. However, he was vital in the running game and saw his playing time increase during the playoff run. Now that Toilolo’s with the New York Giants, the need for a blocking tight end is massive. Kittle is the best blocking tight end in the league, but also the best receiver on the team so he can’t be tasked to do one or the other. That’s where Woerner comes in. He’s not as big as Toilio and has a body type similar to Ross Dwelley, who isn’t known for his blocking but loves to get his nose dirty and deliver pancakes like he’s working at IHOP. Woerner won’t appear often in the box score, but his footprint on the team will be seen. 

7.217- Jauan Jennings- Toughness

A team at any level can’t be successful with a bunch of choir boys, you need a few guys who will bring the fight. Jennings ran a slow 40 time and had multiple disciplinary issues at Tennessee, but for a 7th round pick, he’s worth the risk. He adds a wrinkle to the 49ers offense that they were missing last year, a big-bodied receiver who can operate in the slot. While he’s not fast, he’s very good after the catch because he’s so strong which leads to him breaking tackles. Jalen Hurd is who the coaching staff and fanbase wants out there, but he’s been injured and is a question mark right now. The team did come out and say that Hurd is cleared, but nothing wrong with some insurance. If he can keep his head on straight, Jennings can make the team due to his value as a receiver and special teams ability. Deebo, Aiyuk, Bourne seem to be locks, Taylor and Bourne are if they can stay healthy, which leaves Pettis, James, Benjamin, and Jennings to fight for one or two spots. I’m willing to bet Jennings makes the team.

UDFA thoughts

There always seems to be at least one undrafted player that makes the team every year. The better that the team has gotten, the chances that these guys have to make the team go down, but there’s still a chance someone slides into the rotation. I would say there are four guys who have a chance to make the team at some point next season: RB’s JaMycal Hasty and Salvon Ahmed, DB DeMarkus Acy, and S Jared Mayden. Hasty is a smaller, stouter runner who isn’t a burner but hits the hole hard. Ahmed is a Breida clone, relatively skinny for a running back but has great speed. Acy is an athletic corner who needs a lot of work but has the upside and special teams to be in consideration for a spot. He’s battling Tim Harris, Dontae Johnson, Jason Verrett, and Teez Tabor for a roster spot. Finally, Jared Mayden, who started this past season for Alabama and has experience at every defensive back position. He’s best suited off at strong safety where he has to compete with Marcell Harris. Think former 49ers Adrian Colbert for this one. I do hope that Chris Finke aka The Slippery Fox makes the team. That’s just too good of a nickname. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBeDN1s4e1c

All in all, it was a very good draft for the 49ers, showing that quality is more important than quantity, especially when you are a team ready to win now. 

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe below and let us know what you think. If you feel like donating and want access to some early blog releases and exclusive breakdown content or to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen.

49ers Seven-Round Mock Draft

As a lifelong 49ers, I had to do a full seven-round mock for the team. I used the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator (which is fantastic by the way) to make this as realistic as possible. BANG BANG NINER GANG! #Questforsix

Round 1, pick 13- Henry Ruggs, WR Alabama

The 49ers desperately need another receiver to complement Deebo Samuel and Ruggs is the perfect fit for Shanahan’s offense. He’ll step in right away and become what Marquise Goodwin was to the offense in 2017 when he became Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target. Ruggs has blazing 4.2 speed but isn’t just a deep threat as he only had one drop this past season and is as sure-handed as it gets. He’ll become a RAC star, which is tailor-made for the 49ers offense that wants to get the ball to its playmakers in open space. Jerry Jeudy would also be a great fit here, but I fully expect him to be gone at 13. CeeDee Lamb might be ranked higher on most boards, but I just see Shanahan falling in love with a player like Ruggs who will give a new wrinkle to the offense. 

Round 1, pick 31- Trade to the Jets for pick 48 and 68

Trade Alert! The 49ers move out of this pick and get a second and third-rounder from the Jets who will look to grab an offensive tackle at the end of the first round. The 49ers also throw in their last pick (245 overall) in the trade.

Round 2, pick 48- Raekwon Davis, DT Alabama

As the 49ers lose a mammoth defensive tackle in DeForest Buckner, they gain a new one in Raekwon Davis. Davis is a versatile player who can line up at a few spots in the defense but his primary position will be playing the three-technique, which is where Buckner played. His best season came as a sophomore and had a lot of first-round hype, but failed to put up equivalent stats the past two seasons. He’s a good athlete for his size and his best quality is occupying blocks which will help free up the other studs on their defense. He might not be an immediate starter, as the team can roll with Solomon Thomas at first and give him his final chance to produce. If that experiment fails again, Davis will be ready to contribute 20-25 snaps a game and provide value in the run and pass rush. It was a close call between Davis, Justin Madubuike, and Ross Blacklock (who all would play the same role in this defense) but there are reports that the 49ers have shown strong interest in Davis which might mean nothing, but I’m willing to bet in a strange draft like this that it means a lot.

Round 3, pick 68-Bryce Hall, CB Virginia

To me, this would be a match made in heaven. Hall is a high-character, high-IQ, natural leader that will be able to take over the reins for Sherman once he moves on and will push for playing time right away with Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon. Would have been a late first-round pick most likely a season ago, he decided to stay for his senior year and missed most of the season due to an ankle injury. He has good size and strength and excelled in cover three, which just happens to be what the 49ers run a lot. He’ll struggle initially in man due to lack of speed and agility, but with the right coaching will be able to develop into an all-around solid corner. He reminds me so much of Richard Sherman, without the alpha-male swagger but is a leader of men that teammates will love and respect. I personally think he’s good enough to start right away, but even if he doesn’t he will be a starter in year two. 

Round 4, pick 145 (from Eagles for Brieda)- Hakeem Adeniji, OL Kansas

Trade Alert! The 49ers trade Matt Breida to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick (145). The running back room is getting pretty crowded and Breida is the second most expensive one now who doesn’t have the versatility to match his payday. Also, he’s a free agent after the season and looks pretty unlikely that he will resign. Time to get some value for him.

Adeniji is a good athlete but needs to get stronger to play at the next level. Played left tackle all four years at Kansas, but might be asked to play guard which offers him positional versatility that Shanahan covets in all his players. Due to his athleticism and IQ, he would fit best in a zone-blocking scheme where he can pull and get out in space. While he’s not ready at all to play right now, but essentially use a redshirt year for him to get stronger and refine some technique and he could be a starter at tackle or guard in a few years. 

Round 5, pick 156- Nick Harris, C Washington

With a serious injury to Weston Richburg and releasing Mike Person, the 49ers depth at center and guard is suspect to say the least. Harris is undersized but is an athletic center prospect who fits best in an outside zone scheme. He will get beat against the bull rush, but when he’s able to pull or get to the second level he becomes a human wrecking ball. Richburg could be ready week one but has had relatively serious injuries the past three seasons and can’t count on him long-term. Harris will be able to step in at a moment’s notice at center, but can also fill in at guard. With Ben Garland being a replacement-level player, it would be wise to look at the long-term for interior linemen possibilities. 

Round 5, pick 176- Antoine Brooks Jr, S Maryland

Brooks Jr. has a lot of qualities in common with current safety Jaquaski Tartt, who’s a free agent after the season. Both are strong tacklers who have no problem laying the wood and both are also good at defending in shallow areas where tight ends tend to operate. However, Brooks Jr. struggles in deep coverage due to his lack of speed. I’m not overly worried about that as the 49ers usually run a cover 3 and have a free safety play deep center field. Brooks Jr. needs to continue to develop a better feel in the passing game, but is the aggressive tackler needed for a strong safety. He’s an immediate upgrade over Marcel Harris who can’t defend a rolling chair in coverage, so it would be wise to look at the future of strong safety if they’re unable to lock up Tartt long-term. 

Round 6, pick 210- Jared Pinkney, TE Vanderbilt

All offseason the 49ers have been attached to different free-agent tight ends. From Austin Hooper to Jordan Reed, the team is in the market for a player who can give Kittle a rest more often. Ross Dwelly is a nice player but after losing Levine Toiolo to the Giants and the only other tight end on the roster is Daniel Helm. Pinkney has the tools to be a good player, but had a poor season and combine that plummeted his stock. He has good hands and is a solid blocker, but lacks the speed or quickness to beat coverage in man. However, in year one he can be utilized as a blocker and eventually develop into a solid #2 tight end. At the point in the draft, it’s worth taking a risk on a player who will provide value early in his career. 

Round 7, pick 217- Stanford Samuels III, CB Florida State

The 49ers need to build corner depth with Sherman, Williams, and Witherspoon all being unrestricted free agents after the season. It’s unlikely that the team brings all of them back and there’s not much proven depth behind them at the moment. Samuels III is an athletic specimen who needs time to develop the technique needed to play in the league. Stash him on the practice squad for a year and then give him a chance to compete for a role in the future. 

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe here and let us know what you think. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen. If you feel like donating to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here.

Follow Weekly Spiral

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

[jetpack_subscription_form show_only_email_and_button=”true” custom_background_button_color=”undefined” custom_text_button_color=”undefined” submit_button_text=”Subscribe” submit_button_classes=”undefined” show_subscribers_total=”false” ]