With the 2023 Senior Bowl in the books, the 49ers now can look to adding some hidden-gem talent after the first two rounds of the NFL Draft are over.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch isn’t going to have a lot to do for the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Niners, of course, are without picks in the first two rounds. Their Round 1 selection this year was included in the 2021 trade that netted quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall, while the second-round pick was part of the midseason trade last October that landed All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers.
Sure, Lynch might be fielding some phone calls here and there. But, until San Francisco’s compensatory selections in Round 3 start popping up, it’s likely he’ll be pretty quiet.
Related Story: Every Niners 2023 draft pick heading into the offseason
However, Lynch and the 49ers scouting department shouldn’t have been quiet during Senior Bowl week, which concluded on Saturday, Feb. 4 from Mobile, Alabama.
Still armed with plenty of mid- and late-round selections, the Niners have every chance to land some sleeper talent, and some of those Senior Bowl prospects should have made their way onto Lynch’s radar.
So, with that as a backdrop, let’s kick off a seven-round post-Senior Bowl mock for San Francisco that focuses on some of that talent from the week at Mobile.
Well, a seven-round mock that skips Rounds 1 and 2, of course.
Note: Non-49ers mock simulated by FanSpeak.
Round 3, Pick No. 65 overall (from Texans): Center John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
Right out of the gate, the 49ers engineer a trade in this one, moving up from the end of Round 3 by sending off an additional third-round pick, a fifth-round selection and a future 2024 third-round pick to move to the very top of Round 3.
And there’s a good reason, too.
The Niners got excellent production from perennial backup center Jake Brendel last season, but a long-term upgrade is still an extremely important need.
Considering the always-endless need to reinforce the offensive line, grabbing a center to anchor the O-line would be wise here.
Center John Michael Schmitz had an excellent week of Senior Bowl practices, and one could make the argument about him being the No. 1 center in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Niners have previously opted to spend big money on free-agent centers before Brendel, namely Weston Richburg and Alex Mack, but it’s time now to find and groom someone who could anchor the interior for the next four years.
Not a flashy pick, but it’s a smart one.