It’s safe money to assume that the San Francisco 49ers will devote some draft capital to the defensive line, and EDGE Byron Young could contribute right away.
The NFL Draft is imminent and soon 32 teams will get to the business of adding the newest batch of rookies to the team. The San Francisco 49ers and their fans will be more patient than the other 31, given they don’t pick until No. 99 pending any sort of trade up.
What’s going to be interesting is exactly what the 49ers do with their third-round selections at Nos. 99, 101 and 102. A trade up involving one or more of these picks seem very likely given that the roster is ready to win now and doesn’t need all 11 picks.
One thing that’s pretty safe money is that the team will devote picks to the defensive line. The defensive philosophy is to rush four defenders as much as possible and devote the other seven to coverage, so a strong defensive trench is vital.
Nick Bosa and Drake Jackson is slated to start but depth is lacking behind them. Kerry Hyder returned to the team but only logged a single sack in 2022, so some fresh blood will be needed despite the extra addition of Clelin Ferrell.
Tennessee EDGE Byron Young is an intriguing option for the third round. A relatively mature draft prospect at the age of 25, Young had seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss for the Volunteers this season. This followed a similarly good season where he had 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2021.
An instant force at EDGE, Young is a complete package athletically and turned heads with a 4.43 seconds 40-yard time at the NFL Combine. He’s relentless going after the quarterback and has a surprising array of pass-rushing moves. While he’s slightly small for an EDGE at 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds, he plays much bigger than you’d think and isn’t a liability in run defense.
Young also has room to improve despite his relatively mature age. His first step is sometimes a bit slow and he needs to develop a better plan for getting to the quarterback. Working with Bosa would be the perfect fit for Young as the former possesses perfect technique as an EDGE. Young can fill in immediately as a rotational player with Hyder and probably contribute more than him, while Jackson takes his spot as the starter.
Young is a popular mock to the 49ers and it isn’t hard to see why given the fit and the facts that the49ers met with him at the NFL Combine. We’ll probably have to wait for Friday night to see if he joins the team as he seems on the 3rd-4th round bubble where we don’t know if he goes on Day 2 or Day 3.
But if the team likes him enough he should be availabel to trade up for, and if they do he should become an instant favorite with fans if the team does pull the trigger.