49ers add long-term solutions with their 3 picks in Round 4 of 2024 NFL Draft

First, Malik Mustapha at No. 124 overall for the Niners. Then, San Francisco grabbed another fourth-round pick from the Jets to take Isaac Guerendo before finishing off Round 4 by adding Jacob Cowing.
Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha
Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha / Andy Mead/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The 49ers' Round 4 selections in the 2024 NFL Draft probably won't make much impact right away, but each of the picks could have bigger roles in 2025 and beyond.

The San Francisco 49ers kicked off day three of the 2024 NFL Draft with six remaining selections, beginning with two in Round 4.

General manager John Lynch already crossed off three key areas of need by selecting wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (Florida) in Round 1, cornerback Renardo Green (Florida State) in Round 2 and offensive lineman Dominick Puni (Kansas) in Round 3, which meant that Rounds 4 through 7 would be used to address lesser needs and depth concerns.

The Niners could still stand for some reinforcements within the secondary and along the offensive line, while another backup tight end and a linebacker could help matters, too.

Of course, it's never a bad strategy to simply draft the best player available.

Breaking down 49ers' selection of Malik Mustapha at No. 124 overall

Using the pick acquired from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for quarterback Trey Lance, No. 124 overall, Lynch focused on the secondary by grabbing safety Malik Mustapha out of Wake Forest.

At 5-foot-10 and 209 pounds, Mustapha is slightly undersized but makes up for it with a strong motor and willingness to jump down in run support.

Not necessarily a ball hawk, Mustapha could potentially emerge as a long-term replacement for All-Pro Talanoa Hufanga, who is coming off a torn ACL suffered last season and is a free agent in 2025.

Pairing with second-year pro safety Ji'Ayir Brown, the hope is that Mustapha can be part of a young one-two punch for the 49ers at their last line of defense.

Breaking down 49ers' selection of Isaac Guerendo at No. 129 overall

San Francisco also elected to bolster its depth at running back later in the round, trading away two fifth-round selections to the New York Jets and then picking running back Isaac Guerendo from Louisville at No. 129 overall.

Running back isn't exactly a need, especially with Christian McCaffrey on the roster. But keeping the latter fresh and avoiding injury is wise, especially with second-string tailback Elijah Mitchell boasting a lengthy injury history of his own.

The 6-foot-1, 221-pound Guerendo is fast and big. Running a 4.33 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine, the 49ers hope Guerendo can use his size and speed to overpower defenders in short-yardage situations and in spot starts when necessary.

While trading into the round might have been a bit of a reach, Guerendo stands a strong stance to make the 53-man roster.

Breaking down 49ers' selection of Jacob Cowing at No. 135 overall

The 49ers didn't trade away any of their fourth-round picks, meaning there were three selections made in the round, the last one being Arizona wide receiver Jacob Cowing at No. 135 overall.

Cowing's offensive production is going to be limited because of his 5-foot-8, 168-pound frame. But he's fast, having ran a 4.38 40-yard time at the combine. And he proved to be a quality red-zone target for the Wildcats, too, which potentially beefs up Shanahan's options on offense.

That said, Cowing's biggest potential impact might be on special teams as a return specialist.

Despite the Niners bringing back veteran wide receiver Trent Taylor to fill this void, Cowing might end up being the long-term answer in this vital third phase.

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