With much of the team's core intact from the 2022 campaign and a heavy-hitter free agent signing earlier in the offseason, the San Francisco 49ers entered this year's draft looking to add depth and find their players of the future. General manager John Lynch, the scouting department and coaching staff had nine picks to work with as they set out to accomplish this goal, all coming in the third round or later. While drafting late can be a challenge, the 49ers have had lots of success finding value on Days 2 and 3 in recent years. Players such as First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl linebacker Fred Warner, tight end George Kittle, First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl safety Talanoa Hufanga and quarterback Brock Purdy are just a few examples of the front office's knack for discovering draft gems.
The 49ers nine draftees of 2023, which include five defensive additions, three offensive players and a kicker, have kept San Francisco among the top contending teams in several national media outlets' power rankings. The team's third round picks included safety Ji'Ayir Brown, kicker Jake Moody and tight end Cameron Latu. On Day 3, San Francisco selected cornerback Darrell Luter Jr., defensive lineman Robert Beal Jr., linebacker Dee Winters, tight end Brayden Willis and linebacker Jalen Graham. Additionally, the team has agreed to terms with 11 undrafted free agents that will look to compete throughout OTAs and training camp to make the final 53-man roster.
Here's a look at the latest NFL power rankings:
NFL Writer Dan Hanzus
"Kyle Shanahan knows what you think Kyle Shanahan wants to do. The Niners have garnered a reputation for loading up on running backs in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, but the team threw a curveball with the selection of Michigan kicker Jake Moody at 99th overall on Friday," Hanzus said. "It's the highest we've seen a kicker go in the draft since the Bucs invested a second-round pick in Roberto Aguayo in 2016. That move ended in calamity for Tampa Bay, but Shanahan didn't sound worried about history repeating itself. 'You gotta know how high we think of you, man,' the coach said in a phone call to Moody. 'We didn't take a running back; we spent a third-round pick on a kicker.' Oh, Shanny!"
NFL Writer Conor Orr
"With their slew of mid-round picks, the 49ers took swings at positions of need," Orr said. "One of my favorite picks was a uniquely Kyle Shanahan–y kind of move: drafting Brayden Willis, the H-back out of Oklahoma. You mean he plays two positions really well? You don't say. So does everyone else in that offense."
Bleacher Report NFL Staff
"The San Francisco 49ers are one of the NFL's most loaded teams," the BR NFL staff wrote.