3 surprise draft picks the 49ers could make at No. 31 overall

A lot of players have been mooted at No. 31 for the 49ers, but what about some surprise selections at the position?
NFL Combine
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At the end of the first round, it isn't out of the question for a surprise player to be picked. Here are three players the 49ers could shock everybody by taking late on Thursday night.

One of the more unpredictable things about the NFL Draft is when a team takes a prospect unexpectedly. The San Francisco 49ers have had their share of unexpected picks late in the first round (A.J. Jenkins or Joshua Garnett, anyone?), and they could spring the same this year.

But what are some of the players who could be unexpected first-round candidates?

Let's take a look at three guys who fit the profile of what the Niners might be looking for, and could be considered on Thursday night.

Oh, and if you want to see who I have the 49ers taking? You can check it out on my mock draft below:

Read More: 49ers fill their biggest need in this 1st-round mock NFL Draft

Patrick Paul. 450. 1. Offensive Tackle. . . 1. player. . Patrick Paul

A year ago, most would have pegged Patrick Paul as a potential Day 3 pick at best, nothing too special but perhaps someone who could be developed into a starter with some good coaching and patience.

Fast forward to the fortnight before drafy day, however, and Paul has done a lot to boost his draft stock. A consensus Day 2 pick who's been cursed by the fact this is a very strong tackle class, Paul nonetheless impressed scouts by allowing only one sack for the season and demonstrating some excellent skills in pass protection.

Paul is an excellent size at 6-foot-7 and 331 pounds, and one of the things he did to improve his play in 2023 was to adjust his pad level to help compensate for his height which can sometimes be leveraged against him. He's an excellent pass-blocker already, and while his run-blocking needs to catch up, he's shown the ability to make big leaps in his development.

The 49ers met with Paul at the NFL Combine, so the interest is there. A tackle has been a common mock to San Francisco at No. 31, could it be someone nobody is expecting?