The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs, and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.
The San Francisco 49ers are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
The San Francisco 49ers’ 2020 season was shaped by the truly mind-boggling amount of injuries the team suffered. By week 10, the Niners had an incredible 24 players out due to injury. Eight additional players had missed time before then. These injuries included Jimmy Garappolo, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, just to name a few.
One season removed from playing in the Super Bowl, the 49ers found themselves with the 12th overall pick in the draft. In a clear attempt to grab one of the top-level quarterback talents, they traded that pick and two other first rounders in future drafts to move all the way up to pick number three.
Their division has only gotten tougher during the 2021 offseason, so San Francisco needs some help and some injury luck to get back on top of the NFC West, let alone the entire conference. Here are some players that could add some depth to the team in the first three rounds of the draft.
2021 NFL Picks
San Francsico will have three picks to use in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No. 3
Second Round (one pick): No. 43
Third Round (one pick): No. 102
Quarterback- Jimmy Garappolo has proven he can be successful when he is on the field. The problem is, though, that he is not available enough due to a litany of injuries. The 49ers need a new option, even if he is used in a backup role, as San Francisco’s backups have not performed in an acceptable capacity.
Wide receiver- Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are good receivers and either one could be a borderline number one option on any given day. After them, however, the Niners have no depth at wide receiver. The team needs another receiver to truly get creative and create matchup problems.
Cornerback- The 49ers signed some mid-level talent at cornerback to short contracts, but the heart and soul of their defensive back core, Richard Sherman, has not been resigned. If they lose him, the back end of the defense will scare next to nobody. They need to add good-to-great cornerback so the front seven can do what they do best; rush the passer.
2021 Draft Targets
Pick No. 3: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The 49ers did not make their aggressive move up to the third overall pick in the draft to select anything but a quarterback. They will assuredly take their favorite remaining QB with this newly acquired (and expensive) pick.
Assuming Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be chosen with the first two picks, the Niners have a choice between Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance as far as top-flight quarterback talent goes. Lance should be the pick here, though, because he has the most upside.
Jones could also be the selection, as he is a talented pocket passer. But he lacks the athleticism to run away from tackles and needs to be comfortable to throw a nice ball, unlike Lance who can improvise if need be. However, Shanahan’s system is rigid and Garappolo is falling out of favor in San Francisco due to his insistence on improvising.
But San Francisco did not have to move all the way up to number three to grab Jones. If most mock drafts are to be believed, they only needed to move up a few spots, or could have maybe even stayed at 12. They would have surely had to move up that high to get Lance, though. The recent Jones hype cannot overshadow Lance’s upside, which makes him the most likely selection at number three.
Pick No. 43: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
San Francisco already employs one Melifonwu on the back end of their defense, so why not go and get his brother in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Ifaetu Melifonwu finished his career at Syracuse with three interceptions and one sack. He is forgoing his senior year and is ready to strike while the iron is hot, as he knows he can be a second round pick. There will likely be a run on defensive talent near this point in the draft, so it would make sense for the Niners to go after Obi Melifonwu’s brother if one second round corner is just as good as another.
Pick No. 102: Jaelon Darden, WR, South Carolina
Darden is not on many people’s radar as far as household names are concerned, but he could end up being the next slot-receiving game breaker if used correctly. At 5-foot-9 he is a small and speedy talent that can take bodies away from George Kittle in the middle of the field while Aiyuk’s and Samuel’s big bodies stream down the sideline.
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