No. 3: 49ers can’t ignore the pass rush
It’s going to be an odd year for pass-rushers in this year’s NFL Draft.
Unlike 2019, when San Francisco was able to nab former Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa atop a deep class of pass-rushing talent, there’s no clear-cut stud as far as outside edge rushers go. While there’s a lot of depth, almost every EDGE coming out in this year’s draft has some sort of major question mark.
Case in point, Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau burst on the scene in 2019 with 19.5 sacks and is widely viewed as a first-round talent. But that was his only year of production after sitting out in 2020, suggesting he could be a one-hit wonder. Likewise, Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye has all the intangibles of an elite-level pass-rusher, yet he never put it all together in college and accumulated a mere 11.5 sacks over four collegiate seasons.
Both Rousseau and Paye are tabbed as Round 1 prospects, though, so they’re likely not even in the 49ers’ discussion points anymore.
That said, it would still be wise for the Niners to take a gamble on one or two of the mid- or late-round pass-rushing prospects like Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham Jr. or Pitt’s Patrick Jones II.
Why is it important? Well, Bosa is coming off a torn ACL, and fellow EDGE Dee Ford’s back injury from last season casts doubt on whether or not he’ll be available at all for 2020. And while the addition of former Los Angeles Rams EDGE Samson Ebukam is nice, he has primarily been a situational rusher his entire career. Not an every-down player.
It doesn’t have to be a prolific selection, rather San Francisco simply has to bolster its needs by grabbing some pass-rushing depth.