The 49ers are the rare team picking at the top of the draft that doesn’t need a quarterback. Here are five guys San Francisco might take instead.
The minute Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3 was the instant the 49ers front office started to turn its attention to the 2019 NFL Draft. No one in San Francisco wanted to lose enough games to “earn” the No. 2 overall pick, but now that the season is over, they’ll look to take full advantage of their high draft pick.
Strangely, there’s been very little talk of anyone making a deal with the ‘Niners to move up and take a quarterback. Instead, the prevailing wisdom is that San Francisco will stay put and make their selection at No. 2. If coach Kyle Shanahan and company stay put, it’s almost certain they’ll take the highest rated defensive player on their draft board.
The return of a healthy Garoppolo should give the 49ers offense enough juice to succeed. Don’t forget, Jerick McKinnon also missed all of 2018. He should combine with free agent addition Tevin Coleman to give the team a dynamic rushing attack next season. Offense is the least of this team’s worries.
Defense on the other hand, is full of holes for San Francisco. The secondary and pass rush both need work, but expect the 49ers to look for edge rushers with their first pick. The acquisition of Dee Ford from Kansas City is a big step in the right direction, but San Francisco should double down on edge rushers with their first pick.
5. Brian Burns
Burns looks pretty light on tape at Florida State, but he’s added good muscle to his frame since leaving college. The idea that a 249 pound rush end can run a 4.53 40 has him shooting up draft boards.
Obviously, Burns would provide and upgrade over Solomon Thomas at defensive end or Malcolm Smith in his hybrid end/linebacker role on the other side. The trade for Ford makes that a little bit tougher fit, but Burns can still help San Francisco in several ways. It’s unlikely, but not impossible that Burns’ ascent could take him all the way up to the 49ers at No. 2.