2021 NFL Draft: 5 injury-risk players 49ers should avoid

Landon Dickerson #69 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Landon Dickerson #69 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Walker Little, Stanford Cardinal
Walker Little #72 of the Stanford Cardinal (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Offensive Tackle Walker Little, Stanford

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Despite re-signing left tackle Trent Williams to a lucrative six-year deal during the offseason, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Niners reinforce their offensive line in what’s considered a tremendously deep NFL Draft class for this unit.

Particularly if they’re looking to eventually move on from right tackle Mike McGlinchey, whose fifth-year option for 2022 hasn’t been picked up yet.

Even getting a quality swing tackle wouldn’t be a bad move, and one can never rule out John Lynch going back to his alma mater to select someone like Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little.

Granted, there’s a lot to like about Little. The 6-foot-7, 313-pound lineman who is already great at run blocking and probably offers up more upside than McGlinchey in pass protection.

The problem, however, is Little suffered a knee injury early in 2019, which eliminated his efforts for the Cardinal for the rest of that year, and then Little subsequently sat out all of 2020 amid the pandemic.

If there’s good news, Little doesn’t have a chronic history of knee problems. But that is a substantial risk, which surely hindered his development. It’s been nearly two years since he’s played an actual NFL game, and that injury played a big role.