There were moments to hold your breath, but in the end, the 49ers made easy work of the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday in their NFC divisional-round playoff game.
San Francisco now faces Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, and are one win away from Super Bowl LIV in Miami. And while The Faithful is dreaming of sunshine and palm trees already, the 49ers' front office will have their eyes on a talent-laden college game.
When two undefeated Tigers look to tame each other Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, there will be a plethora of NFL draft talent between Clemson and LSU. As the 49ers keep winning, however, their draft slot keeps sliding.
For a team without many holes on its roster, the 49ers should still be able to find talent near the end of the first round. If prospects from this season's national championship fall to them in April, general manager John Lynch will be grinning from ear to ear.
Here are six prospects, ranked by fit, that the 49ers should have their eyes on in this year's natty.
6. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Running back could actually be a bigger need than wide receiver for the 49ers in 2020. No, you didn't read that wrong. And no, this coffee isn't Irish.
Tevin Coleman carried the 49ers past the Vikings, but the five-year veteran has no guaranteed money on his contract next season. Matt Breida is a restricted free agent and it sure seems likely the front office moves on from Jerick McKinnon, who has missed the last two seasons with injuries after signing a four-year, $30 million contract in March 2018.
That leaves just Raheem Mostert, who broke out this season at 27 years old. With his speed and versatility, Etienne could be a great compliment to Mostert, who still serves as a special teams star.
Etienne has combined for 3,194 yards rushing yards the last two seasons and 48 total touchdowns. Oh, and he has game-changing speed.
2020 Draft crush: Clemson RB Travis Etienne.— The Reid Option (@ReidOptionKC) January 5, 2020
Game-changing speed and vision out of the backfield. Would be a first-round target to significantly improve the run game. pic.twitter.com/RuxgtcNb14
Shanahan could get the very best out of Etienne. Teams will vary their opinions on the explosive running back, but it's easy to see why he could thrive on the 49ers.
5. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The 49ers could have a really interesting decision to make if Jefferson is on the board at the end of the first round. With so much receiver talent in this year's class, that could easily happen, too.
As a junior this season, Jefferson turned into an absolute star. He hauled in four touchdowns in the Peach Bowl and has 18 on the year. The 6-3 target can play inside or outside, though he really thrived when he turned into a long slot receiver.
Does coach Kyle Shanahan tell Lynch to make Jefferson his newest toy? Or does Lynch tell the coach the 49ers have bigger needs?
Jefferson's spot in the draft will be really interesting. Another big game against Clemson will only help his stock.
4. A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Don't throw the ball to Terrell's side. Raiders second-round pick and former Clemson Tiger, Trayvon Mullen, looks like a quality starter for years to come. Terrell might be better.
A.J. Terrell has yet to allow more than 60 yards in coverage in a single game.— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 10, 2020
One of the stingiest outside CB’s in college football. pic.twitter.com/dbwXHZuXJ6
Terrell, 6-1 and 190 pounds, is rangy and knows how to use his hands as a physical corner in stride. He doesn't shy away from contact and invites QBs who wish to challenge him.
A.J. Terrell puts some really great tape out there.— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 10, 2020
This is how you use your length to bully guys off the route and completely control the leverage and catch point. Love his precise stabs. Good job to high point this ball for the INT too, showing off ball skills.
Great rep. pic.twitter.com/I89u14UPCF
There's no doubt Terrell should be mentioned with Kristian Fulton (see below). He might fall further than the LSU Tiger, but this Clemson corner is a stud.
3. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Richard Sherman is a baller. That was true five years ago, and still is today at 31 years old. But Sherman can only cover one side of the field.
As 49ers fan saw the past two weeks, in the two biggest games of the year, Ahkello Witherspoon sure doesn't look like the answer in Year 3. Emmanuel Moseley is solid, but he also is far from a star.
Fulton, however, could be a shut-down corner at the next level. He played a bit banged up this season, yet still had 13 passes defensed.
One of #LSU CB #1 Kristian Fulton's greatest strengths is his click-and-close. It's on full display here as he makes an aggressive PBU on what should've been a simple completion. pic.twitter.com/Qz59dpx1vo— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) September 8, 2019
It seems likely Fulton will be gone by the time the 49ers are selecting, but another top corner could still be on the board in Terrell.
2. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Stop me if you've heard this before, but the 49ers need help at wide receiver.
Rookie Deebo Samuel already is a real weapon in Kyle Shanahan's offense and looks like a future, versatile star. Kendrick Bourne was the highest-graded 49ers offensive player in their playoff win over the Vikings, according to Pro Football Focus, but isn't a No. 1 option.
Higgins can be. At 6-4, 215 pounds, Higgins has ideal NFL size as an outside threat. And he can make catches like this.
Tee Higgins is an alien. pic.twitter.com/ae8Gsx4qlS— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) December 8, 2019
The body control by Tee Higgins 😳 pic.twitter.com/NzmZHMv5YC— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 16, 2019
The 49ers need a game-changer on the outside. In a deep receiver class, Higgins could be around late into Day 1. If he's there, Lynch needs to make him a Niner.
1. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The draft always is unpredictable, but it seems highly unlikely if Delpit hasn't been taken by the time the 49ers are on the clock. That doesn't mean he isn't the best fit, though.
Delpit is the top safety in the draft and a top-10 talent. The 2019 Thorpe Award winner is 6-foot-3, 203 pounds and has plenty of Derwin James in him.
Now that we know Robert Saleh will return to the 49ers, the defensive coordinator could have a lot of fun with a player who can do this:
Here's LSU FS Grant Delpit playing on the line of scrimmage, making the tackle for a loss. pic.twitter.com/9beFTnKXMN— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 9, 2020
Grant Delpit has incredible range from the deep safety spot. Love that plus-break. pic.twitter.com/zzqjXbKLW1— John Owning (@JohnOwning) January 9, 2020
Jimmie Ward will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The defense is completely different with Jaquiski Tartt. Pair him with Delpit, and the 49ers would have a dangerous duo at the back of their defense.