We’ll start the list with those who almost made the cut, and likely would have been the back part of the top 10 if that list had gotten all the way to that number. These honorable mentions have not necessarily been bad picks, they just haven’t risen to the heights of those in the top five.
The first is offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, whom the 49ers took with the ninth overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, Lynch’s second draft in charge of the team.
After trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo before the trade deadline in 2017, the 49ers turned a one-win season into a five-game winning streak to finish the year at 6-10 and end up at the end of the draft’s top 10 slots.
McGlinchey, who played his college ball at Notre Dame, was an immediate starter opposite stalwart left tackle Joe Staley on the 49ers offensive line. And while he has been inconsistent at times, he has provided the team with a very important trait: availability.
He started all 16 games as a rookie and played 100 percent of the snaps, and while a knee injury kept him out of four games in 2019, he still played nearly 75 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. And while he has been a better run blocker (Pro Football Focus grades of 81.2 and 74.9) than a pass blocker (64.2 and 67.2), there is still room for improvement.
If all goes well, McGlinchey should be a steady presence on the 49ers offensive line for years to come.
The second honorable mention goes to nose tackle D.J. Jones, whom the Niners drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Mississippi. Jones has been a solid option, proving himself to be equally adept as a run stuffer and a pass-rusher throughout his career.
The main reason he’s here and not among the top five is mostly because of how little he’s been on the field since being drafted. He played just 147 snaps his rookie season (13 percent) in nine games, followed by 239 (22 percent) in 10 contests the next season. A promising 2019 campaign, where he started all 11 games he played in, was cut short by injury.
Finally, the third honorable mention goes to former Middle Tennessee State wide receiver Richie James, whom the 49ers took with their final selection (240th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.
James has played in 29 out of a possible 32 regular-season games in his two seasons in the NFL, but has mostly featured as a returner on both punts and kickoffs, with one kickoff return touchdown on his resume.
On offense, he’s played just 192 (18 percent) and 204 (19 percent) snaps, respectively, in 2018 and 2019, hauling in a scant 15 catches for 295 yards (19.7 YPC) and two touchdowns during that span.
The wideout is here because he’s managed to stay on the roster in spite of his draft pedigree. Now it’ll be interesting to see where he stacks up this offseason in what could be a big year for him.