• Akash Anavarathan

49ers: Players to watch on Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft

San Francisco stood pat on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft, watching as the other 31 teams improved their rosters, adding numerous rookies.


Head coach Kyle Shanahan was emphatic with the media on Thursday night that the 49ers did the right thing, sacrificing their second and third-round picks in trades for pass rusher Dee Ford and wideout Emmanuel Sanders.

While it certainly paid dividends en route to a Super Bowl, the 49ers had to sit back and watch as talent came flying off the board. They have a few needs left that'll need to be addressed Saturday and here's the ammunition that they will have:

  • Round 5 -- 156th overall

  • Round 6 -- 210th overall

  • Round 7 -- 217th overall

General manager John Lynch also told the media Friday that there were a few teams interested in trading for wideout Marquise Goodwin and there could be some movement on an exchange during the weekend. There's a chance the 49ers add draft capital by moving Goodwin, and possibly even running back Matt Breida and wideout Dante Pettis.


Heading into Day 3, the 49ers have added high-end prospects in lineman Javon Kinlaw and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and will depend on them to start next season.


Given their limited resources on Saturday, I would prioritize San Francisco's needs in this order:

Priority #1: Find a tight end to pair with George Kittle. While this isn't a particularly great draft for tight ends, there are some athletic prospects available that could develop into receiving threats alongside Kittle.


Priority #2: Add cornerback depth, with the contracts of Richard Sherman, K'Waun Williams, and Ahkello Witherspoon expiring at the end of the year.


Priority #3: Add an interior offensive lineman. The 49ers moved on from guard Mike Person and signed free agent Tom Compton. I'd assume that they want to add competition to a position that struggled to finish 2019.


Priority #4: Find a strong safety that could replace Jaquiski Tartt, who's also on the last season of his contract.


[McGee: In defense of Javon Kinlaw, the 49ers have the environment where drafting DL pays dividends]


Lynch has had a ton of success with the fifth round in the past few seasons, landing tight end George Kittle and linebacker Dre Greenlaw. The 49ers have drafted better in the late rounds than they have in the middle rounds so far in the Shanahan-Lynch era.


Here are some prospects that I could see the 49ers taking on Day 3, given their needs and where they have their picks on Saturday.


TE Hunter Bryant, Washington

When it was all said and done, there were three tight ends I thought the 49ers could add on Day 3 to pair with George Kittle. UCLA's Devin Asiasi, Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene, and Washington's Hunter Bryant.


In watching all three players, I thought Bryant would fit the 49ers' offense the best. At 6-foot-2, Washington put him inside, outside and in the slot and allowed Bryant to make plays after the catch. He also went up and made numerous contested catches down the field that had me quite surprised.


I think his lack of breakaway speed is the reason Bryant remains on the board after three rounds. I'm not sure he'll make it to pick No. 156, but if he does, the 49ers should certainly snatch him up.


CB Luq Barcoo, San Diego State

San Francisco will turn to the school that produced corner Damontee Kazee, if they chose Luq Barcoo in the back end of this draft. At 6-foot-1, Barcoo has the length the 49ers covet in their cornerbacks but weighs only 174 pounds.


He led the nation in passes defensed and interceptions, causing him to earn national attention. His weight will probably be the biggest issue and since he didn't participate in the NFL Combine, there are no measurables on Barcoo.


With limited capital, I could see the 49ers spending a seventh-round pick on Barcoo to add some depth behind the starters.


OG Mike Onwenu, Michigan

The interior of the 49ers' offensive line is currently a big question mark. Starting center Weston Richburg will be coming back from patella injury and San Francisco let go of guard Mike Person this offseason.


Guard Mike Onwenu from Michigan comes in at 6-foot-3, 344 pounds, so he's a massive lineman in the middle. He has spent time at left guard and right guard, which is the versatility the 49ers would covet from an offensive lineman.


He's got great upper-body strength and has great overall physicality, but lacks the first-step quickness sometimes. He projects to be a backup guard out of the gate and is viewed as a developmental project.


S Jalen Elliot, Notre Dame

Coming in at 6-foot-0, Notre Dame safety Jalen Elliot projects to be a strong safety, while also having cornerback abilities. The former quarterback shifted positions to safety due to his athleticism.


The 49ers met with him over FaceTime after Elliot was viewed as a riser during the Senior Bowl. He's a physical, intelligent safety that can spend the year backing up Tartt and could potentially take over if Tartt were to leave next season.


San Francisco can go in a variety of directions with the final picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, but I would imagine they hit on these positions come Saturday morning.


(Cover Image: Joshua Bessex, Tacoma News Tribune)

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