The San Francisco 49ers closed out the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft according to plan, making six selections in Rounds 5, 6 and 7. The first three picks from Saturday came on the defensive side of the ball with the team adding cornerback Darrell Luter Jr., defensive lineman Robert Beal Jr. and linebacker Dee Winters. The final three selections, all of which came in the seventh round, included tight end Brayden Willis, wide receiver Ronnie Bell and linebacker Jalen Graham.
Following the end of the draft, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the media to discuss the new additions to the draft class.
Here are the four takeaways from Lynch and Shanahan's post-draft press conference:
The 49ers opted not to draft any offensive linemen in this year's draft, a move that reinforces the confidence the team has on the players currently on the roster.
"In a year that was very limited, especially at the tackle position, a lot of them went early. There was a huge run early," Lynch said. "We weren't going to take one just to take one."
The head coach went on to speak specifically about offensive tackle Colton McKivitz who is the front runner for the starting right tackle position that is now available due to the departure of Mike McGlinchey in free agency.
"Getting an O-lineman ready to start in this league is really tough," Shanahan said. "You can win with Colton. He's been here for a while. When he has played, we have won games with him. He did a hell of a job two years ago getting into the playoffs when he had to start unexpectedly versus the (Los Angeles) Rams."
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart offered a glowing recommendation of defensive lineman Robert Beal Jr. that told the 49ers everything they needed to know about their second pick of the fifth round.
"Kirby said, 'Someone is going to get a really gifted and talented player if they just let this guy hunt QBs and set edges,' and when he said that, that's exactly what we do," Lynch recounted. "What Kirby said there really resonated, and our eyes saw the same thing. He ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, so he had speed. He's in the 6'3" range... he's got that length you look for."
Seventh-round pick Ronnie Bell is expected to contribute on both offense and special teams.
"He was just so consistent, a special teams player, good returner, did really everything (Michigan) asked," Shanahan said. "He was very good in his routes. There was not one thing he struggled with. When you can put him into a group... he can fit into any position. He seemed like one of the more reliable wideouts we watched in all of college football."
Tight end Brayden Willis was the second tight end who caught the attention of the team because of his versatility and SF-compatible playing style.
"We had him ranked really high. We had him in a fifth-round grade, and when he was still around, it made a lot of sense," Lynch said. "He's a guy that embodies what we like in terms of after the ball is in his hands, he can do some special things. He plays some tight end, some fullback. He's a nice tool to move around. He made a lot of big plays for Oklahoma."