No. 2: Defensive Line
The reason why the 49ers own the No. 13 overall pick in the draft is due to their blockbuster trade that sent Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts last month.
San Francisco still owns one of the most talented and deepest defensive lines in the league, yes. But it’s notably worse without Buckner in the folds. There’s no single player who can come close to making up for his absence, and the Niners will likely require a rotation to replace his snaps.
There isn’t a way, however, to replace his production. At least not right out of the gate.
Yet one of the ways a team maintains continuity and long-term success is finding younger, cheaper players who can come close to replicating the kind of impact from the players they inevitably replace.
So it’s not out of the question San Francisco will look for Buckner’s replacement at No. 13.
There are two key options for the D-line’s interior, Auburn’s Derrick Brown and South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw.
Kinlaw is more realistic, yes, as he’s widely viewed to be another player taken in the teens. But if there’s a run on quarterbacks early, and Brown somehow falls out of the top 10, it might be too tempting to pass up on the Auburn interior wrecking ball.