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Five 2019 NFL Draft prospects who could help 49ers win next season

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Five 2019 NFL Draft prospects who could help 49ers win next season

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch were given six-year contracts for a reason. Turning the 49ers back into contenders will be a process, but nobody thought the 2018 season would go this bad.

Going into Sunday's slate of games, the 49ers (2-10) own the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. That simply wasn't supposed to happen this season, but torn ACLs for Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon changed everything. 

But the 49ers could be in the driver's seat in the draft, and an offense with a healthy Garoppolo under center, plus a backfield of McKinnon and Matt Breida, could make up a dangerous team in 2019.

Here are five players in the 2019 NFL Draft who could help the 49ers get back on top the quickest.

Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

No matter where you look, the 2019 NFL Draft starts with Bosa. The 49ers selected a defensive lineman in the first round from 2015 to 2017 (Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas), but Bosa is by far the most talented. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cCUYxItOXo

The 49ers had just 29 total sacks entering Sunday, ranking them tied for 21st in the NFL. Bosa might be even better than older brother Joey Bosa, who won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors for the Chargers in 2016.

Josh Allen, DE/LB, Kentucky

If the 49ers fall slightly in the draft, Allen could be another option to rush the passer. He returned to school for his senior year, put on 20 pounds of muscle, and the decision couldn't have gone any better. 

After totaling 14.5 sacks in his first three years of college, Allen has 14 sacks this season and 18.5 tackles for loss. 

Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Thompson went from playing sparingly in 2017, to being one of the most important and impressive players on the top-ranked Crimson Tide. 

Jimmie Ward's 49ers career likely is over, so Thompson could be a game-changer in the back end of the 49ers' defense. He has 70 tackles (3.5 for a loss), two interceptions, five pass defenses, one fumble recovery and three forced fumbles in 12 games this season. 

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama 

Would the 49ers really take an offensive tackle in the first round two years in a row? Williams is a prospect who will be ready to go from Day 1 after starting for the Tide since his freshman year. 

Now a junior, the 6-foot-5, 301-pounder is a technician on the offensive line. Joe Staley has one year left on his contract, so perhaps Williams or 2017 first-round pick Mike McGlinchey could spend one year on the inside before the two play tackle for years to come.

N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Garoppolo needs a big No. 1 target in 2019, and Harry could be the perfect. The 49ers already have speed with Marquise Goodwin and an emerging rookie in Dante Pettis. Harry would bring the size the 49ers need. 

At 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds, Harry has been a matchup nightmare in his junior year. If the 49ers could trade back into the first round or if the wide receiver falls to Day 2, they should snatch up the ASU product, who has racked up 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

President Donald Trump reportedly told sports commissioners and top executives Saturday that he believes the NFL should start on time with fans returning to stadiums by August despite the coronavirus outbreak.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn't share the same thoughts.

The governor was asked about Trump's reported prediction, and said he doesn't envision California having made enough progress against the virus for it to be business as usual for the NFL come fall.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.' "

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Newsom is making sure to prioritize safety and caution above all else before letting sports return.

“Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve, and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that's appropriate," Newsom said. "Right now, I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”

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The truth of the matter is that no one knows how long this will last or when sports will be able to return to packed stadiums. The NFL is planning on starting the schedule on time with fans in the stadium, but that might not be the case in California. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge again the fall, the fate of the NFL's season is very much up in the air.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports can only safely return once the country as a whole has turned the corner from the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

While the NFL offseason programs are postponed, many players are still working out to be ready for the time when the teams are able to get back to work in an organized setting.

In Miami, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell are working out with private defensive line coach Mark Hall.

Hall, who recently was a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, sent a video to NBC Sports Bay Area of the three players working out.

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The 49ers recently traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and re-signed Armstead to a four-year, $84 million contract. Ferrell will enter his second season with the Las Vegas Raiders after being the club’s first-round selection at No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft.