3 prospects 49ers should completely avoid in 2023 NFL Draft

Luke Musgrave #88 of the Oregon State Beavers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Luke Musgrave #88 of the Oregon State Beavers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The 49ers don’t have to worry about a massive NFL Draft flop in Round 1 this year, but they still want to steer clear of these three prospects.

No, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t going to have a catastrophic miss in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

That’s because they don’t have a first-round pick this year. It’s hard to whiff when there’s no pick to whiff on, right?

General manager John Lynch and Co. aren’t selecting until the very end of Round 3 at Nos. 99, 101 and 102. And while the prospective level of talent there is nothing like that projected to go in the first two rounds, there’ll still be some quality players worth targeting.

And some the Niners would be wise to avoid, too.

49ers must avoid Northwestern DL Adetomiwa Adebawore

San Francisco reinforced its defensive line by adding Javon Hargrave in NFL free agency, but going after another outside pass-rusher to pair with All-Pro EDGE Nick Bosa would be a wise move.

As long as it’s not Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore.

At 6-foot-2 and 282 pounds, Adebawore is the epitome of a tweener. He’s not quite tall and bendy enough for an edge-rusher role, and he doesn’t quite have the weight needed to play purely on the inside. While there is no questioning his strength, Adebawore’s lack of pass-rushing moves and reliance on force will likely get him into trouble at the pro level in light of his other challenges.

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Remember how former 49ers EDGE Eli Harold regularly got pushed back beyond the pocket years ago?

Adebawore is at risk of being the same kind of player.

49ers must avoid Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave

Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave is an intriguing prospect.

In an awfully deep tight end class, Musgrave might be the most polarizing. At 6-foot-6 and 253 pounds, he has the physique and body to be a mismatch nightmare, and his route-running skill seems to be pro-ready.

Plus, with the Niners still seeking a No. 2 tight end to pair with George Kittle, Musgrave has to at least be of interest.

It’s highly unlikely Musgrave falls to San Francisco at the end of Round 3. That said, even if he does fall, the 49ers can’t afford to take a risk on Musgrave’s injury history, a relative lack of production and questionable hands.

Per Pro Football Focus, he had a 16-percent drop rate.

49ers must avoid UAB RB DeWayne McBride

The Niners could feasibly be looking at a running back in the mold of the University of Alabama Birmingham’s DeWayne McBride.

After all, the 5-foot-10 and 209-pound prospect had a gargantuan 1,700 rush-yard campaign a season ago, coat-tailing off a 1,300-yard effort the previous season.

Talk about production. Even for a small-school player, that’s impressive.

Yet the reason for the lack of fit with San Francisco is twofold. For starters, the 49ers can’t afford to grab another running back in Round 3 after doing so (and failing) the last two years with Trey Sermon and Tyrion Davis-Price. And the presence of All-Pro Christian McCaffrey would seemingly make a tailback pick in the third round redundant anyway.

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Plus, McBride is much more of a power back with limited cutback abilities, and it’s hard to see him fit into a zone-style offense.

The Niners may be enticed by McBride, but it’s smarter to steer clear.

The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 27.

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