The draft is more than two months away, and the 49ers are focused on the evaluations of the 2019 draft class as the NFL Scouting Combine nears.
Then, the 49ers’ internal conversations will shift toward the strategy to put into place for the late April draft. The 49ers own the No. 2 overall selection in the draft and five picks. The club is expecting an additional selection as part of the NFL’s compensatory formula.
Obviously, if the 49ers hold onto the No. 2 pick, they will get -- at worst -- the second-rated prospect on their draft board. But how many players might they deem worthy of such a lofty selection? That answer could determine their willingness to make a deal or two.
“That’s why you do your due diligence on everyone because of the twists and turns of the draft and what can transpire before then and on draft day,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “There are so many different things. What you have to do is be ready on everyone and have multiple scenarios. ‘If this happens, we’re going to do this. If this happens, we’re going to do this.’ The first part of that is just the evaluation.”
The 49ers would certainly entertain the thought of a trade back if they believe they are not going so far backward that there is a noticeable drop-off in talent from the player they would have selected at No. 2.
“All those things can come into play,” Lynch said. “Obviously, it takes two or more to tango, as they say. You get very comfortable with a couple of options. If they’re there, you say, ‘Hey, we’re comfortable.’ Or you either get comfortable with, ‘We think there are enough players that we have rated very highly that we’d be willing to add some.’ But those are all things that will take care of themselves as we get closer.”
The 49ers are clearly in need of an edge rusher. In fact, they are in need of multiple edge rushers. The club is likely to add pass-rush help in free agency in mid-March, and top it off with the best available young talent entering the NFL. The top options could be former Ohio State star Nick Bosa, with whom Lynch has already spoken, and Josh Allen of Kentucky, winner of the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy.
“Now, it’s just the evaluation, continuing to hone in on the evaluation,” Lynch said. “Our coaches will get more invested in the process because their season is over and they’re back in the office. That’s largely what they’ll be doing is starting their part of the evaluations. Then we’ll get together, personnel and coaching staff, and really start to put our final thoughts together.”
49ERS DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: No. 2 overall
2. Second round: No. 4 in the round; No. 36 overall
3. Third round: No. 3 in the round; No. 67 overall
4. Fourth round: No. 2 in the round; No. 104 overall
5. Sixth round: No. 3 in the round; No. 178 overall
(6. Sixth round: Projected compensatory pick)
-- Fifth-round pick traded to Detroit for guard Laken Tomlinson, 2017
-- Seventh-round pick traded to Cleveland for offensive tackle Shon Coleman, 2018