2019 NFL Draft: How the experts graded the 49ers’ rookie class

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Nick Bosa is greeted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked 2nd overall by the San Francisco 49ers on day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Nick Bosa is greeted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked 2nd overall by the San Francisco 49ers on day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

While it’s always premature to grade NFL Draft classes days afterwards, Niner Noise looks around to see how experts see the San Francisco 49ers’ efforts from 2019.

The San Francisco 49ers ended up turning six picks in the 2019 NFL Draft into eight total selections, kicking things off by grabbing Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick.

That alone makes the Niners’ efforts this year worthwhile. After all, San Francisco landed arguably the draft’s top prospect in Bosa, then further bolstered an underachieving wide receiver corps by taking South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel and Baylor’s Jalen Hurd in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively.

In total, here’s how the 49ers’ 2019 class panned out:

  1. EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
  2. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
  3. Wide receiver Jalen Hurd, Baylor
  4. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
  5. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
  6. Tight end Kaden Smith, Stanford
  7. Offensive tackle Justin Skule, Vanderbilt
  8. Cornerback Tim Harris, Virginia

The selection of punter Mitch Wishnowsky was a bit questionable, especially in Round 4. Yet head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were insistent Wishnowsky wouldn’t have lasted into Round 5. And if the Niners’ new punter winds up being a true special teams weapon, regularly pinning opponents inside their own 10-yard line, it could be worthwhile.

Remember, field position can be just as important as touchdowns and interceptions.

So, what are the experts saying about San Francisco’s draft class? Niner Noise looks around the web to see how NFL Draft analysts are viewing what Lynch and Co. managed to do for this 2019 edition.

Mel Kiper, ESPN: B-

"And now taking the No. 1 overall player on my board in Nick Bosa gives San Francisco two really, really talented pass-rushers to wreak havoc and force some turnovers on the outside while DeForest Buckner causes interior pressure."

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: A-

"The 49ers picked the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft in Nick Bosa. Adding him to a D-line that already includes Dee Ford means the Niners will greatly improve their pass rush, as they generated just 37 sacks in 2018 (bottom third of the league). Bosa’s power comes into play as a pass rusher and run defender, and his career floor comparison is Chris Long — that’s pretty, pretty good.Samuel’s ability to work inside and outside, his toughness, and his strong hands made him a no-brainer pick for the receiver-needy Niners in Round 2. Hurd could be a big steal if he continues to grow as a receiver. The selection of two wideouts was somewhat expected, given their lack of talent at the position.Wishnowsky was the top punter in the draft, so the Niners picked him up earlier than expected on Saturday. He likely was not the top player available on most teams’ boards."

Nate Davis, USA Today Sports: A

"DE Nick Bosa was widely regarded as the top player coming out this year and bolsters what should be a nasty D-line. Spending next year’s second rounder on a trade for established pass rusher Dee Ford looks like a bargain considering what his former team, Kansas City, subsequently surrendered for Frank Clark. WRs Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd should added zip to a passing game that got a disproportionate amount of its 2018 dividends from TE George Kittle."

Andy Benoit, The MMQB: B-

"The only downside is that San Fran’s secondary still has questions at No. 2 corner and second-string safety. Perhaps the Niners feel better about their secondary than we do—after all, instead of addressing it early in Round 4, they instead took a punter, Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky. In Rounds 2 and 3 they took wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, rounding out their well-schemed offense that already has three passing game weapons who weren’t on the field most of last year: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, RB Jerick McKinnon and newly signed RB Tevin Coleman."

Rucker Haringey, FanSided: B

"Murray went No. 1, but a lot of scouts had Nick Bosa at the top player on their board. Getting him with the second pick was excellent value for the 49ers.Second round pick Deebo Samuel could also blossom into an important playmaker for Jimmy Garoppolo. He should play right away in the slot. This isn’t a deep class, but the star power gets San Francisco a comfortable B."

For the most part, it appears analysts are completely thrilled with San Francisco landing Bosa, which makes sense. A few, such as Mel Kiper, had mixed reviews on the third- and fourth-round selections of Hurd and Wishnowsky, respectively, perhaps wondering why Lynch elected not to pick up a quality defensive back.

That seemed to be a common argument among fans, too.

Perhaps the explanation here is the 49ers felt as if no rookie defensive back would be a true, immediate upgrade over returning members of the secondary, instead hoping for bounce-back years from players like cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and Adrian Colbert.

Or, just as reasonably to assume, the Niners are punting on secondary needs in 2019 like they did with outside pass-rushers a year ago at this time.

And if Bosa’s pass-rushing presence, combined with a defensive line comprised of four other first-round draftees, makes a big difference, San Francisco’s defensive backfield should have a better effort than they did last season anyway.

Next. 5 burning questions for the 49ers after the 2019 NFL Draft. dark

What say you, Niners fans? How would you grade this year’s NFL Draft class?