In what has been an utterly unpredictable start to the NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have been content to sit back, twiddle their thumbs, and watch all of the fireworks unfold in front of them in real time. Now that the third round has descended upon us, San Francisco is not going to be so passive.
After not making a selection in the first and second round, the 49ers got their process started in a major way by trading up from No. 102 overall to No. 87. Joe Staley confirmed that the 49ers selected Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown. Defensive back was a popular position of need for the 49ers in the mock draft world.
Things took a turn for the weird right after that, as the 49ers took the first specialist off the board in Michigan’s Jake Moody. They followed that pickup with what promises to be a very interesting pass-catcher in Alabama tight end Cameron Latu.
49ers draft Ji’Ayir Brown, Jake Moody, Cameron Latu
Brown plays like his hair is on fire, which helped him be a very productive hitter and turnover generator in his collegiate career. Expect him to have a role in sub packages early on before eventually making the leap to a starting spot as they try to find ways to replace Jimmie Ward and his production.
Moody made 29 of his 35 field goals during his final season with the Wolverines. Moody’s longest field goal was 59 yards, and he made seven of his eight kicks from beyond 50 yards. If there was one kicker worth picking in this draft, it was very clearly going to be Moody and his thunderous leg.
Latu really broke out during his final season with the Crimson Tide, emerging as solid safety blanket underneath for Bryce Young. Latu may not be the best blocker, but the Kyle Shanahan offense has a way of working with tight ends like him.
San Francisco may not have had a ton of premium picks, but they did manage to address some of the team’s biggest needs in an exemplary fashion. Once again, John Lynch appears to have done his thing on Draft Day, even if the Moody pick was surprising.