Seahawks, other contenders can gain ground on 49ers via NFL Draft

Head Coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Head Coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are one of only a few top dogs in the NFC entering 2023, but teams like the Seahawks may gain ground with a strong NFL Draft class.

The San Francisco 49ers have a notable track record of landing impact talent late in the NFL Draft.

Some of the big names are there, of course, including All-Pros like tight end George Kittle (Round 5) and safety Talanoa Hufanga (Round 5), and there have been surprising risers from day three of the draft such as linebacker Dre Greenlaw (Round 5), and most recently, quarterback Brock Purdy at the very end of the 2022 draft in Round 7.

Armed with precisely zero picks in the first and second rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, Niners general manager John Lynch and his staff better hope that kind of mid- and late-round luck and skill strike again.

Despite having 11 picks total, San Francisco owns only one selection within the top 100 this year (No. 99 overall), yet an NFC West division rival is threatening with five in that same span.

Could that ultimately turn the tide within the division once again?

Seahawks may threaten 49ers in NFC West if they have an awesome NFL Draft

NBC Sports’ Peter King pointed out how a number of potential NFC contenders may chase (or even overtake) the 49ers by the way of an excellent NFL Draft class:

"It’s a weird draft but an important draft for the 49ers, as they compete with some of the contending teams in the NFC.In the top 95 picks, as of this morning:San Francisco has zero picks.Detroit has five picks in the top 95 (sixth, 18th, 48th, 55th and 81st).Seattle has five picks in the top 95 (fifth, 20th, 37th, 52nd and 83rd).Philadelphia has four picks in the top 95 (10th, 30th, 62nd and 94th)John Lynch, the GM, and Adam Peters, ace scout, are on the clock for San Francisco."

A team to watch here is the Seattle Seahawks, of course, as the Niners’ first priority will be wrapping up the division before worrying about other top contenders like the Philadelphia Eagles or even the Detroit Lions.

In what was supposed to be a complete rebuild year in 2022 in the post-Russell Wilson era, the Hawks nevertheless finished 9-8 and secured a Wild Card berth before being ousted by San Francisco in that round of the playoffs.

Read More: Revisiting 49ers’ top draft needs after first waves of free agency

While Seattle fell off considerably in the second half, five top-100 selections (including two Round 1 picks) could lead to a flipping of the script within the NFC West within a year or two.

Potentially sooner, provided a handful of those selections at general manager John Schneider’s disposal make an immediate impact.

Either way, as King pointed out, Lynch will need his flurry of selections from No. 99 and beyond to generate some solid talent that’ll contribute, too, in order to respond to the Hawks’ impending threat.

Next. 2023 mock NFL Draft after free agency fallout. dark