Pro Football Focus mock draft gives 49ers a surprising option in Round 1

A wide receiver for the Niners in Round 1 of the NFL Draft?

Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84)
Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The 49ers could use some offensive reinforcements via the 2024 NFL Draft, but Pro Football Focus suggest an out-of-the-box Round 1 target.

If a common fan was wondering what position the San Francisco 49ers would address with their top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, No. 31 overall, it'd probably come down to two or three spots on the field.

An offensive lineman makes a lot of sense. Perhaps a promising pass-rusher off the edge. Or, possibly, a defensive back to shore up the secondary.

Wide receiver probably isn't the No. 1 priority for general manager John Lynch to address.

Of course, there's always the argument against drafting for position. Instead, many argue for teams to simply draft the best prospect available regardless of position.

The balance is likely somewhere in between. But, considering the Niners already have a top-quality trio of upper-end wide receivers in Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings, going after yet another wide receiver so early seems like a wasted pick.

Except the folks over at Pro Football Focus don't necessarily think so.

Pro Football Focus surprisingly mocks a wide receiver to 49ers at No. 31 overall

As a disclaimer, PFF's Arjun Menon noted his latest mock NFL Draft for 2024 was market-driven, using betting markets and odds to come up with selections for all 32 first-round picks.

It's an interesting way to go about making selections, and it sure generated some provocative results.

Including the one San Francisco makes with the second-to-last selection on day one, Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey.

Here's what Menon had to say about the 49ers' selection here:

"It seems like the 49ers and Brandon Aiyuk are moving further apart in contract negotiations with each passing day. If he is traded before or during the draft, San Francisco may try to address the position in the first round. McConkey gives Kyle Shanahan a great separator, something the 49ers sorely needed in the Super Bowl against man coverage, and insurance if Aiyuk isn’t on the roster this year or next."

Related story: What's the latest regarding Brandon Aiyuk's contract extension with 49ers?

In all honesty, going with a wide receiver does make some sense. While the Niners do have a history of rewarding top players with extensions, there is the outside chance that Aiyuk won't agree to whatever San Francisco is willing to offer.

Considering the 49ers' own salary cap challenges this season and next, it might be financially wiser to move Aiyuk via an offseason trade while grabbing an Aiyuk-like wideout who is great against man coverage.

With nine other picks, the Niners still have plenty of time to address those other needs, particularly with the knowledge that this year's class of offensive linemen is both deep and talented.

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