San Francisco 49ers: Round 1 big board for 2021 NFL Draft

Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Kwity Paye, Michigan Wolverines, SF 49ers
Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kwity Paye (19) Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports /

Tier 4: Players the 49ers hope fall into Round 2

Based solely on Twitter overreactions and the comments sections of multi-round mock drafts, roughly 60 players every year are guaranteed to “no way fall out of Round 1.”

Yes, there are only 32 first-round picks. Do the math.

Each year, a good chunk of Round 1-caliber talent winds up slipping into the second round. Sometimes later. And as far as the 49ers are concerned, they can hope some first-round talent slips into the second round where they’re currently slated to pick at No. 43 overall.

Kwity Paye. 16. player. 811. . EDGE. Wolverines

player. 806. . EDGE. Nittany Lions . Jayson Oweh. 17

Cornerback. Hokies . Caleb Farley. 18. player. 847.

. Offensive Tackle. Cowboys . Teven Jenkins. 19. player. 856

Running Back. Crimson Tide . Najee Harris. 20. player. 829.

There’s an awfully good chance all five of these fourth-tier 49ers big-board players end up going in Round 1.

If so, it doesn’t seem likely the Niners would be inclined to trade up for any of them, though. Caleb Farley could have been in consideration if it wasn’t for his back surgery, although if he slips to the Niners without them having to trade up, it could be an absolute steal.

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Moving up more modestly in Round 2 is always possible, and it opens up the door for someone like Najee Harris to be a potential day-two target, particularly with teams using first-round picks on running backs less and less nowadays.

But arguably the bigger need would be for a pass-rusher where San Francisco still needs to consider some depth behind EDGE Nick Bosa and potentially a long-term replacement for fellow EDGE Dee Ford, whose own back problems kept him out for almost the entirety of 2020.

Including Kwity Paye and Jayson Oweh, nearly every outside pass-rusher in this year’s class has some sort of question mark. Both Paye and Oweh have the intangibles but are still going to need to put it all together at the pro level. Yet if those traits wind up resulting in either player dipping, one has to figure the 49ers would look to maximize value with a second-round pick.

Teven Jenkins, meanwhile, is a stud who’d easily be a first-round pick if it weren’t for other linemen like Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater dominating the class.

The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 29.

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