The 49ers have met with a number of players at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, but they all have this one notable thing in common.
For all intents and purposes, the NFL Scouting Combine is less about the actual on-field workouts and much more about teams getting the chance to meet with prospects as they prepare for the NFL Draft.
OK, there are a lot of other important things going on, such as medical evaluations and players lining up agents.
But those team interviews can be vital.
Minus a first- or second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers nevertheless have a chance to land some serious talent, particularly with three Round 3 compensatory selections to start what’ll be a draft class consisting of 11 total picks, currently.
In many cases, the prospects themselves are the best sources for information, and a number of them revealed they either had or will be meeting with the Niners during the event at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Interestingly enough, they all have one thing in common so far.
49ers have only met with defensive players at 2023 NFL Combine
It’s weird to focus on one side of the ball, but it appears that’s what general manager John Lynch and his staff are doing right now.
The reporting sources vary, but 49ers Webzone compiled the list of 14 players (along with the Twitter accounts who reported it) with whom Lynch and Co. had met already at the combine:
"DB Alex Austin, Oregon State (TheSFNiners)S Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State (Niners Nation)DE Ikenna Enechukwu, Rice (TheSFNiners)LB Jalen Graham, Purdue (TheSFNiners)LB Cam Jones, Indiana (TheSFNiners)S Gervarrius Owens, Houston (TheSFNiners)DE Isaiah McGuire, Missouri (TheSFNiners)DT Zacch Pickens, South Carolina (TheSFNiners)S Daniel Scott, Cal (Steph Sanchez)S JL Skinner, Boise State (Steph Sanchez)S Jammie Robinson, Florida State (TDN)DL Dante Stills, West Virginia (TheSFNiners)S Tyreque Wilson, Boise State (Jordan Elliot)DE Byron Young, Tennessee (TheSFNiners)"
Lots of defensive players there. Not one offensive player, at least at the time that list emerged. Even if an offensive player shows up, which one will, the overwhelming number are on the other side of the ball.
Of note, offensive players work out on Saturday and Sunday. But there are offensive players in the building, and many more meetings are usually reported on the opening days of the combine.
Interestingly enough, there are a lot of safeties on the meeting list, too, which suggests San Francisco is expecting to move on from its longest-tenured player, defensive back Jimmie Ward, while also losing fellow safety Tashaun Gipson to NFL free agency seems probable.
Related Story: 49ers trending towards safeties at 2023 NFL Combine
The 49ers defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season, but there are still question marks that loom heading into the offseason. Reinforcing the pass rush behind the Defensive Player of the Year, EDGE Nick Bosa, is a top priority. So is potentially replacing Ward. Cornerback depth is always a good thing to have, too.
Meanwhile, there isn’t much to garner from the Niners’ offensive needs.
While present, it seems as if the NFL Combine is providing San Francisco with a greater opportunity to feel out the best fits on the defensive side of the ball.