Closing The Gap – San Francisco 49ers 2024 Draft Profile

Simply put, the San Francisco 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL.

They came a defensive stop short of winning the Super Bowl, and now come into the offseason with a few holes to fill. They have done well with drafting in the past, and that shouldn’t stop this year with a deep draft class at their fingertips. Can they find the gems to put them over the hump?


Cooper Beebe, OL, Kansas State

Chau Smith-Wade, CB, Washington State

Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Edge, Notre Dame


An argument can be made for the Niners to go for a cornerback with their top pick, but the offensive line needs some TLC. The right side of the offensive line was one of the weak spots for San Fran, namely Colton McVitz who ranked in the Top-10 for sacks, hurries and tackles allowed.

The tackle market in the draft is deep, but there are players with great conversion potential as well. One of those players is Kansas State standout Cooper Beebe. Beebe is a natural guard that has played the right tackle position at a high level. His high IQ, strong anchor and great hand technique allows him to play up and down the offensive line with no fall off. He would easily slot in as the starting right tackle for the Niners, who need an upgrade bad.

The next position that needs to be improved upon is the cornerback position. Deommodore Lenoir played a ton of snaps for this Niner defense and allowed 69 receptions on 99 targets for 804 yards. Charvarious Ward seems to be the CB1, so getting a running mate for him in the md to late rounds should be a priority.

A guy who fits the “Niner mold” is Chau Smith-Wade out of Washington State. Smith-Wade is a highly technical cornerback who thrives in coverage. He displays a high understanding of reading the receiver’s movements and breaking up passes. His ball skills are some of the best in the draft class, and shows the ability to close distance with good burst. His frame isn’t the biggest but he doesn’t shy away from tackling, whether in the run game or limiting yards after the catch.

Smith-Wade would immediately challenge for the CB2 role, and shore up a rather shaky unit for San Francisco.

After addressing two major needs, the Niners could look for some depth along the defensive front. The Chase Young experiment lasted for only a half a season, and home grown talent is always better in today’s NFL.

John Lynch and company should look to Notre Dame’s Javontae Jean-Baptiste in the late rounds. Jean-Baptiste has prototypical size, and a high motor at the edge position. He utilizes his speed to setup his spin move, and shows good anticipation when timing his first step off the line. He has all the tools but will need work as an every down defensive end, though he could still make an impact across from Nick Bosa early on.

The Niners aren’t out just yet, and their championship window is still very much open. Having a strong draft could be the difference between closing the gap or falling behind in the NFL landscape for them.

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