The 49ers had a provocative 2023 NFL Draft class with zero first- or second-round picks, but that didn’t cause them to fall in NFL power rankings.
The San Francisco 49ers didn’t take the usual approach to the 2023 NFL Draft.
Without first- or second-round picks, the Niners were essentially taking fliers on players they hope can make a major difference in a year or two’s time. Not necessarily now, although kicker Jake Moody will be expected to fill a major void left by veteran kicker Robbie Gould.
And while it was shocking to see San Francisco use a third-round pick on Moody, he might be the most impactful player from this year’s class for the 49ers right away.
At any rate, the Niners are likely hoping this class begins to make an impact in 2024 while spending their rookie seasons as reserves on the depth chart.
It’s an approach that only a handful of teams with stacked rosters can take, made all the more difficult by not having picks in either of the first two rounds.
However, if the unorthodox approach is expected to derail San Francisco’s standings in post-draft NFL power rankings, think again.
49ers stay in top 5 of NFL.com’s post-draft power rankings
The 49ers entered the 2023 offseason ranked No. 5 in NFL power rankings from NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus.
Following the whirlwind of draft activity over the weekend, Hanzus isn’t changing where he’s putting the Niners, and they’re still at No. 5 overall.
Here’s his breakdown:
"Kyle Shanahan knows what you think Kyle Shanahan wants to do. The Niners have garnered a reputation for loading up on running backs in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, but the team threw a curveball with the selection of Michigan kicker Jake Moody at 99th overall on Friday. It’s the highest we’ve seen a kicker go in the draft since the Bucs invested a second-round pick in Roberto Aguayo in 2016. That move ended in calamity for Tampa Bay, but Shanahan didn’t sound worried about history repeating itself. “You gotta know how high we think of you, man,” the coach said in a phone call to Moody. “We didn’t take a running back; we spent a third-round pick on a kicker.” Oh, Shanny!"
In fact, Hanzus didn’t change any of his top-five rankings at all, and the crop of those teams is as follows:
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Buffalo Bills
- San Francisco 49ers
We can argue why the Niners aren’t ranked higher, but let’s just admit each of the four teams ranked above San Francisco has a legitimate star at quarterback.
The 49ers haven’t solved that question quite yet, especially after not trading Trey Lance during the draft.
But that’s a discussion for another time.