Yates details 49ers' potential first-, third-round draft targets


Yates details 49ers’ potential first-, third-round draft targets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Fresh off a heartbreaking Super Bowl LVIII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers are making a flurry of offseason moves in hopes of returning to the big stage next season.

A large part of that will include the decisions they make in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, with the first round set for April 25 in Detroit, Mich. San Francisco owns 10 total picks, including a first-round selection with the No. 31 overall pick.

ESPN analyst Field Yates joined NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco on the latest “49ers Talk” to detail San Francisco’s potential first-round targets, as well as who could be a good fit for the team in the later rounds.

In his first mock draft, Yates had the 49ers taking Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims, but it came down to a couple of potential suitors.

Yates told Maiocco that Arizona offensive tackle Jordan Morgan and Penn State edge rushers Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac also were under consideration. Yates believes Trent Williams’ unknown NFL future could present an opportunity for Morgan, who he sees being a “true left tackle” or guard in the NFL.

Yates also applauded Robinson’s speed, stating the 21-year-old “definitely” has the quickest first step in his draft class among all pass rushers. Robinson’s production, however, is where Yates sees a big question mark, given that he had just six sacks in more than two years.

“That’s the question,” Yates told Maiocco. “Why didn’t it come together in the sack department at the college level and will it come together at the pro level?”

Whether it’s Robinson or Isaac, Yates believes it’s worth San Francisco taking a closer look at Penn State’s defensive-line depth.

The 49ers also have a third-round selection as well as three fourth round picks.

This is where Yates believes they could address the nickelback, cornerback or wide receiver position.

“I think the corner spot, it’s prime for a run right there,” Yates said. “There’s actually a large cluster of guys who could be in that third- or fourth-round range, depending on what you’re looking for. …

“I think the cornerback depth in this class is better than maybe some people are giving credit for.”

One that stood out to Yates is Michigan defensive back Mike Sainristill, who he referred to as a “jack of all trades” guy who played some of his best football in the team’s biggest moments. He also described him as tough, physical and a great tackler.

The same goes for the wide receiver room, Yates believes.

San Francisco and star wideout Brandon Aiyuk have yet to come to an agreement on a contract extension, which could potentially turn general manager John Lynch and Co.’s attention to that position in the draft. If so, Yates believes the 49ers will have plenty of options.

“Not only is there depth, but there’s whatever you want,” Yates said. “If you’re looking for the big, fast guy, guys in the third round like Jermaine Burton, who played at Georgia, transferred to Alabama this past year. [He] can be just an absolute freak. He absolutely flies. No drops this past season. Javon Baker, UCF, former Alabama wide receiver.

“But there’s whatever you want, in terms of style, and I think you could hit it in the second, third, fourth round.”

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