2017 NFL Draft Grades: San Francisco 49ers Day 3 Picks
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch continues to big things in the 2017 NFL Draft, loading up the roster on Day 3 with value-added players!
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch continues to show that he is a draft boss. On Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft, Lynch continued to maneuver up and down the draft board to pick the players to fit 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system.
This elite-level execution was on full display on Day 3 of the draft.
Round 4: Joe Williams, RB – Utah
They started the day off by trading up to get former Utah running back Joe Williams with the No. 121 selection. Williams is a talented running back who possesses excellent balance, speed and burst. He can spell incumbent starter Carlos Hyde for a series and is capable of filling the starting role if Hyde goes down with an injury.
RB, San Francisco 49ers
Round 5: George Kittle, TE – Iowa
Following No. 121, Lynch selected former Iowa tight end George Kittle with the No. 146 pick. Kittle is an exciting player who can play immediately as a rookie. He is a powerful blocker, excelling at both run and pass blocking. However, he is also a reliable pass catcher even though he was criminally underused in the Hawkeye offense. Kittle tested as a first-round tight end athlete, but his low catching statistics pushed him into Day 3.
Nevertheless, Kittle brings an immediate impact as a brutal blocker who has the athletic upside to develop into a promising pass-catching tight end.
TE, San Francisco 49ers
Round 5: Trent Taylor, WR – Louisiana Tech
Trent Taylor comes from Louisiana Tech where he played wide receiver. Taylor is an undersized receiver, so his best projection at the pro-level is at the slot position. Currently, the slot spot has heavy competition, so Taylor’s best chances of making the 49ers roster will come as a punt returner.
In college, Taylor excelled as a punt returner. Something the 49ers can certainly improve upon heading into the 2017 season. Taylor fits the mold of the New England Patriots smaller, shiftier slot receivers, but he will need to bulk up his frame a bit to endure the hits he will take in the NFL.
WR, San Francisco 49ers
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Round 6: D.J. Jones, NT – Ole Miss
D.J. Jones is a former Mississippi nose tackle who will add depth to an already stacked defensive line. The 49ers have focused heavily on their defensive front and continue to add players that can bring the “extreme physicality” that defensive coordinator Robert Saleh looks for in his players.
Jones fits that mold exactly, capable of both stuffing the run while being athletic enough to provide an interior pass rush. The reason Jones fell to No.189 is because he lacks the ideal size of a true nose and because his play fell off as the 2016 season wore on.
This led to concerns that his conditioning was not where it needed to be. Nonetheless, the first half of the season clearly showed the physical prowess of a player capable of anchoring the middle of the defensive line.
NT, San Francisco 49ers
Round 6: Pita Taumoepenu, OLB – Utah
Pita Taumoepenu hails from the University of Utah where he played as an outside linebacker. Taumoepenu only started seven career games during his time as a Utah Ute. However, in that short time he displayed terrific speed and burst allowing him to get after the quarterback.
Taumoepenu is still a very raw player who has promising athletic traits but very unpolished skills as an edge rusher. To be honest, it is quite hard to project what position he will best project at the pro-level. He could stick at edge or the strong-side linebacker spot, but he could also transition over to weak-side linebacker position.
Nonetheless, for now he brings plenty of upside and depth.
Edge, San Francisco 49ers
Round 7: Adrian Colbert, CB – Miami
Lynch’s last selection for the 2017 NFL Draft was former Miami defensive back Adrian Colbert. Colbert projects as a special teams player and backup at this point in his in development. However, he has the requisite size and speed to refine into a potential starter down the road.
Colbert stands at 6-2 and weighs 205 pounds making him an ideal fit for coach Saleh’s large, press corners. Still, Colbert was only a part-time player for Miami due to lingering injury issues. If Colbert can stay healthy and sharpen his coverage skills, he could be late Day 3 steal.
CB, San Francisco 49ers
Day 3 Reactions on the 49ers’ Front Office
Lynch did a fabulous job of selecting players with upside while also focusing on players that fit within the framework of the 49ers offensive and defensive schemes. Each player clearly fills a role or they offer high, athletic upside.
Even if these players do not pan out (newsflash: many Day 3 picks do not), the strategy executed by the front office did an excellent job of remaining patient but also crafty.
While everyone else was panicking, the 49ers simply acquired more draft ammo while also clearly improving the quality of their players. Fans can now rest a bit easy knowing that team CEO Jed York made the right move when he brought in rookie GM John Lynch.
Lynch made all the right moves throughout free agency. Fans can now add the 2017 NFL Draft to the list of things that Lynch and the front office have done masterfully well. Fans should be excited to see the team turn so much around in such a short amount of time.
But of course, here comes the hardest part — waiting until the 2017 NFL Season gets underway!