The 49ers made some interesting moves in the 2023 NFL Draft, with a mix of positions and strategies that kept things unpredictable. Here’s a breakdown of the picks and what they mean for the team’s future.
First up, the 49ers added some depth to their secondary by selecting safety Ji’Ayir Brown from Penn State in the third round. Brown is a physical safety with good instincts and tackling ability, and he should provide valuable depth behind starters.
Next up, the 49ers surprised some people by selecting kicker Jake Moody from Michigan with their second pick in the third round. While it may seem odd to take a kicker this early, there’s actually some strategic thinking behind it. The 49ers are likely looking to move on from veteran kicker Robbie Gould, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency in recent years. By selecting Moody, the team can save some money against the salary cap and potentially upgrade their kicking game.
The 49ers continued to add to their offense in the third round by selecting tight end Cameron Latu from Alabama. Latu is a big, athletic tight end who can be a matchup nightmare for defenses. He’ll likely serve as a backup to George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk, but he has the potential to develop into a starter down the line.
In the fifth round, the 49ers added some depth to their cornerback position by selecting Darrell Luter Jr. from South Alabama. Luter is a long, athletic corner with good ball skills, and he could develop into a solid backup behind starters but will most likely compete with Ambry Thomas and Sam Womack III for play time.
The 49ers added some pass-rushing depth in the fifth round by selecting Robert Beal Jr. from Georgia. Beal is a versatile edge rusher who can play both inside and outside, and he could provide a boost to the 49ers’ pass rush in certain situations. Beal has a ton of explosiveness and sets the endge well.
In the sixth round, the 49ers added some depth at linebacker by selecting Dee Winters from TCU. Winters is a physical linebacker with good instincts and tackling ability, and he could develop into a valuable backup behind starters Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
The 49ers added another tight end in the seventh round by selecting Brayden Willis from Oklahoma. Willis is a versatile tight end who can line up in multiple positions and has good hands, and he could develop into a valuable backup behind Kittle and Juszczyk – the second selection of a TE with versatility.
In the final two picks of the draft, the 49ers added some more depth to their linebacker position by selecting Ronnie Bell from Michigan and Jalen Graham from Purdue. Bell is a versatile linebacker with good coverage skills, while Graham is a physical linebacker with good instincts and tackling ability.
Overall, the 49ers had a solid draft, addressing several key needs and adding some valuable depth to their roster. The selection of Jake Moody may have been a bit surprising, but it shows that the team is willing to make bold moves to improve their roster. The selections of Latu and Willis also show that the 49ers are looking for versatility and talent at the tight end position behind Kittle and Juszczyk.
One area where the 49ers did not address in the draft was the offensive line, which is surprising given the injury concerns surrounding some of their starters. However, it’s possible that the team is looking to add depth via undrafted free agents or through trades in the future.
Another interesting note is that the 49ers did not select a running back in the draft, something the team has done every other year under the Lynch/Shanahan regime. This could be a sign that the team is comfortable with Christian McCaffrey as their starter, or it could indicate that they plan to