49ers mock draft roundup: Line of scrimmage a major theme

Defensive end K.J. Henry #5 of the Clemson Tigers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Defensive end K.J. Henry #5 of the Clemson Tigers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The latest wave of 2023 NFL Draft mocks has the 49ers focusing the bulk of their attention in Round 3 on the line of scrimmage, which isn’t shocking.

The San Francisco 49ers are going to be asleep for Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft and probably won’t start waking up their draft board until late in Round 2.

Then, once Round 3 commences on Friday night, general manager John Lynch will start preparing his selection hand.

For those out of the know or just tuning in, the Niners don’t have a pick until No. 99 overall. But, they’re armed with three of the final four picks in Round 3, and Lynch will be making selections at Nos. 99, 101 and 102 in quick succession.

Barring any sort of trade, of course.

Read More: Listing every selection 49ers have for 2023 NFL Draft

With three weeks remaining before the 2023 draft kicks off, it’s a wild guess which prospects will be available to Lynch and Co. toward the end of the third round.

The unpredictability of the 98 selections scheduled to happen before San Francisco is on the clock shouldn’t hold us back from evaluating and guessing, though.

Let’s see which players the mock-draft experts have the 49ers selecting for this go-around.

49ers latest round of mock drafts focuses heavily on the line of scrimmage

Not surprisingly, some recent mocks out there are giving attention to the offensive and defensive lines. Considering the Niners lost one important starter for both units on each side of the ball — right tackle Mike McGlinchey and EDGE Samson Ebukam — to free agency, it’s not a shocker to see the O-line and D-line command some serious attention.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com

  • No. 99 overall: OT Blake Freeland, BYU
  • No. 101 overall: OG Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan
  • No. 102 overall: EDGE K.J. Henry, Clemson

We’ve seen Reuter go with Freeland before, but Sow and Henry are new faces.

Sow might be an interesting selection, as San Francisco has Aaron Banks locked into the starting left guard spot. While Spencer Burford is presumably the right guard, perhaps the addition of Sow allows Burford to kick outside and replace McGlinchey.

Or the 49ers reinforce their interior depth. That’d be a wise move, too.

Henry had 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for a loss over 14 games last year.

Jeff Risdon, The Draft Wire

  • No. 99 overall: CB Mekhi Gardner, LSU
  • No. 101 overall: LB Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati
  • No. 102 overall: OG Chandler Zavala, NC State

The Niners do have a need for a cornerback to play opposite Charvarius Ward, and Gardner would make a lot of sense toward the end of the third round.

Pace, meanwhile, is a bit of an interesting selection. San Francisco is still loaded at linebacker with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, but Pace is a disruptor and can generate turnovers with ease. Players who are consistently around the ball are always sought after regardless of who might be ahead of them on the depth chart.

Read More: Revisiting Niners’ top draft needs after NFL free agency

Zavanala, like Sow, would probably reinforce the back end of the roster as a primary interior reserve.

Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus

  • No. 99 overall: OT Blake Freeland, BYU
  • No. 101 overall: S Sydney Brown, Illinois
  • No. 102 overall: TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan

Finally, a skill-position player!

This year’s NFL Draft has plenty of likable tight ends, and it seems like forever that head coach Kyle Shanahan has sought a No. 2 option to pair with George Kittle.

Schoonmaker, 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, had 418 yards and three touchdowns on 35 receptions last year with the Wolverines.

Freeland makes another appearance on a 49ers mock, while Brown is someone who could potentially fill the long-term void left by now-Houston Texans safety Jimmie Ward.

The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 27, and the Niners’ first pick will fall on Friday, April 28.

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