2023 NFL Draft: Still-available prospects 49ers desperately hope slip
By Peter Panacy
Not partaking in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the 49ers nevertheless hope some big-name talent falls deeper and deeper into day two when they’ll finally pick.
It would have been an extremely aggressive move for the San Francisco 49ers to find their way back into Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
After dishing out their 2023 first-round pick two years ago, the Niners stood idly by and watched 31 other selections take place (and a great deal of mayhem in the process) without partaking themselves.
Some of that mayhem involved a number of “guaranteed” first-round prospects falling beyond the first round, perhaps none bigger than Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who could have easily been a top-10 pick.
While San Francisco likely isn’t looking at Levis, it can hope some of the upper-end talents continues to fall.
Preferably through Round 2 and into the latter stages of Round 3. After all, the 49ers aren’t scheduled to pick until No. 99 overall, which will mark the first of three compensatory selections the Niners have to help close out that round.
Here are five still-available prospects San Francisco can hope will fall deeper in the draft.
No. 5: 49ers can hope safety JL Skinner continues to fall
The 49ers already met with Boise State safety JL Skinner at the NFL Combine, and he figures to be a versatile piece within any secondary that elects to grab him.
Skinner, 6-foot-4 and 209 pounds, has the body of a cornerback and the football IQ to serve as a defensive quarterback at the very back end of the field. On top of that, his size allows him to match up closer to the line of scrimmage and against bigger-bodied wide receivers and tight ends.
That said, Skinner is likely not going to fall all the way toward the end of Round 3 without a little bit of luck or a trade-up by the Niners.
Even though San Francisco has its safety tandem of Tashaun Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga set for 2023, Gipson is only back on a one-year deal, and adding Skinner would potentially allow for that long-term replacement.