2021 NFL Draft: 49ers have to draft for 2 different situations
The 49ers are in a very unique position as they approach the 2021 NFL Draft as they look to balance drafting for the present and the future.
Following the trade with the Miami Dolphins propelling the San Francisco 49ers to No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft order and the promise of a new franchise quarterback, the Niners now find themselves in a decision that’s very unusual for teams.
Usually, there’s one of two ways to do a draft. You draft around a new rookie quarterback with blocking and weapons, or you look to better the team to make a run for the Super Bowl.
With San Francisco, it’s now in a position where it has to do both.
Whoever the new quarterback is will be in a better setup than most rookies, armed with a good offensive line and a talented array of offensive weapons around him. But you can never invest too much in protecting your investment.
The 49ers still need some tinkering on offense. Some more interior line help, an heir to left tackle Trent Williams and another receiver should be added at some point in the next few seasons.
And on the other hand, they still have to draft for the Super Bowl, and that’s not something that necessarily will go hand in hand with the aforementioned strategy of drafting for the new quarterback.
The Niners still have to look at upgrading the secondary and the pass rush. These are important positions that have to be solid to have any chance of the Super Bowl. The positions were not upgraded, and numerous veterans actually left the team, meaning San Francisco will take up looking at those needs during the draft.
This takes picks away from the offense, and thus from whoever the new rookie quarterback will be.
So the 49ers have a delicate balancing act on their hands: drafting for their future while also drafting for right now.
The good news for the Niners, however, is their strong drafting history. The team finds stars outside the first round such as wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and linebacker Fred Warner.
As a result, San Francisco can be relied upon to find some solid upgrades on both sides of the ball. It doesn’t take a high pick to find a solid guard or third wide receiver, and the 49ers can still focus early resources on defense if needed.
But it’s still a balancing act. Build around the new quarterback, build for the Super Bowl right now and don’t compromise either.
It’ll be interesting to see what general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan come up with in the draft.