Round 3, Pick No. 105 Overall (Compensatory): 49ers select OL Luke Fortner, Kentucky
Yes, another pick to reinforce the trenches. But that’s been a Niners focus for some time now, and the additions in free agency at cornerback have largely negated the need to spend early capital on defensive backs.
San Francisco has to worry about the interior of its offensive line, too, and in a number of areas. Daniel Brunskill is a serviceable starter, yes, but he’s always a player on the fringes of needing an upgrade. The 49ers are expected to start last year’s second-round pick, Aaron Banks, in place of Laken Tomlinson at left guard. But Banks wasn’t wholly impressive his rookie year and could go bust, too.
All the while, veteran Pro Bowl center Alex Mack is reaching the final stages of his career.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan likes veterans at center, but going after Kentucky interior lineman Luke Fortner could potentially solve some issues.
For starters, he might immediately be an upgrade at right guard over Brunskill, while also adding some insurance in case Banks struggles. Over the long run, the 6-foot-4 and 307-pound Fortner could potentially evolve into Mack’s replacement, starting off as a high-quality backup with the upside of being a good starter in a year or two’s time.