Of the San Francisco 49ers nine-player draft class, five of those new additions came on Day 3 in Rounds 4-7. The first four picks were defensive players before the 49ers used their final selection on a wide receiver.
Here are details on each pick with explanation from John Lynch or Kyle Shanahan in regards to the player’s fit in San Francisco.
Round 4: 128th Overall (from Pittsburgh) - Kentavius Street, DL, N.C. State
This one hits close to home with 49ers fans. The team’s unsuccessful history with taking players coming off of a torn ACL made fans weary of Street. Ultimately, this is purely an “only time will tell” pick. San Francisco had a third-round grade on the defensive lineman before he tore his ACL at a private workout with the New York Giants.
The 49ers clearly still believe that Street can be an impact player for the organization down the road.
“I think that shows how we felt about the player,” Shanahan said. “You are trying to talk yourself into other spots because you want to add now. We get excited, just like everyone else does, but he was the best choice.”
Round 5: 142nd Overall (from Washington) - D.J. Reed, CB, Kansas State
Reed clearly isn’t lacking confidence. On a conference call with reporters, he called himself “a lock-down corner who doesn’t get scored on.” He intercepted four passes for the Wildcats in 2017 and projects primarily as a nickel corner. Depending on how quickly he acclimates to Robert Saleh’s scheme and the speed of the NFL, he may push K’Waun Williams for playing time immediately.
That said, Lynch said the 49ers will get him reps at other spots as well.
“We talk a lot about profiles, and (he's) not the profile fit in terms of his height (at about) 5-9 and a half, but he's got 32-inch arms. So he kind of makes up for that,” Lynch said. “While he can play some nickel and free safety, we also think he can hold up at outside corner. He's done that at K-State. Another great punt returner. We've got a lot of those and that's a good thing.”
Round 6: 184th Overall - Marcell Harris, S, Florida
Harris is another player who is ready to bet on himself. On April 3, he tweeted, “I’m not the one to sleep on.” That was no doubt in reference to his uncertain draft stock due to his Achilles injury. Harris missed the entire 2017 season with a torn Achilles.
He certainly has the size to be an imposing force in the secondary at 6-foot-1, 216 pounds with 32-inch arms. Harris projects to add depth at strong safety behind Jaquiski Tartt.
“We felt like Marcell Harris was a guy who kind of fits what we want out of that strong safety position, really good,” Lynch said. “Safeties, if you're not a starter, you'd better be a good special teams player and he’s a great one.”
Round 7: 223rd Overall (from Miami) - Jullian Taylor, DT, Temple
Seventh-round picks are always wildcards. All you can do is target specific traits. In Taylor, San Francisco found a height-weight-speed guy who is still fairly young in his football development. Taylor played just two years of football in college and could be a long ways from realizing his potential. That gives the 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive lineman a higher ceiling than most seventh-rounders.
“Hard in the later rounds to find bigger defensive linemen that can play and we feel like we got that in Jullian Taylor from Temple,” Lynch said.
Round 7: 240th Overall (from Kansas City) - Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State
The 49ers found a hugely productive player with their final pick. James owns the MTSU record for career receptions (243), receiving yards (3,249) and receiving touchdowns (23). He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine which means he’s got plenty of speed to play out wide despite his 5-foot-10 frame. As is the case with most rookies, special teams will likely be James’ route to a roster spot.
“We'll probably start him out at ‘X’ because of his speed and size,” Shanahan said. “I think he can play inside for us, too. He has the speed to run some of the similar routes that start with Marquise (Goodwin) and to give us some other options behind him. He can run and he plays physical, which we think that he can relate to special teams that way, also, which gives him a chance to make the team.”