The San Francisco 49ers entered Saturday with three picks in rounds four through seven of the 2019 NFL Draft. A pair of trades (one with the Cincinnati Bengals and another with the Denver Broncos) left them with five picks on the day and eight total.
Here's the rationale for each selection from John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan as well as a look at how all five players fit on the roster.
Round 4: 110th Overall (from Bengals) - Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah
Fans were shocked to see the 49ers select a punter in the fourth round. The 49ers feel like they got the best punter in the draft and wanted to be sure they didn't miss out on him. Wishnowsky was a two-time Ray Guy Award winner at Utah and allowed just 106 return yards on his final 100 punts for the Utes.
Lynch said he's the long-term solution as a replacement for Bradley Pinion.
"We're talking like a 10-year guy," Lynch said. "He checks all the boxes in terms of what you want from a punter. He has a huge leg. Inside the plus 50, he's very adept at pinning people back."
You probably asked yourself: "But why didn't the 49ers just wait to get him later?" Put simply, San Francisco didn't believe that was an option.
"You'd love to do it in the seventh, but I promise you we wouldn't have gotten him if we tried to do it in the fifth (round)," Shanahan said.
Round 5: 148th Overall (from Broncos) - Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas
Greenlaw made such a strong impression at the NFL Combine that the 49ers felt comfortable cancelling his official pre-draft visit. He ran just a 4.73 40-yard dash, but Lynch was confident that the linebacker plays faster than his straight-line speed suggests. He'll add depth at WILL/MIKE linebacker and might even get some run at SAM. San Francisco also expects him to be a standout on special teams.
"We had him a lot higher on our board and so we were surprised frankly that he had dropped this far and felt like there was tremendous value in the pick," Lynch said.
Round 6: 176th Overall - Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
The 49ers were in search of another receiving tight end who could compliment George Kittle in the passing game. Smith caught 70 passes for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons for the Cardinal.
"He makes big plays in big moments," Lynch said. "A lot of contested catches. Someone is all over him, and he's got an ability. I think he's got a big catch radius, and the nice thing about Stanford football is that they're playing traditional football."
Round 6: 183rd Overall (from Bengals) - Justin Skule, OT, Vanderbilt
San Francisco likes Skule's size (6-foot-7, 317 pounds) and SEC pedigree. Skule started 40 games for the Commodores and has experience at both tackle spots. The goal on Day 3 is to find players who have traits that might help them make the roster. Both Shanahan and Lynch seemed confident in Skule's potential of being San Francisco's swing tackle in 2019.
"He has the ability to make it, and to me he's got as good of a mindset on what's inside of him as anybody out there," Shanahan said.
Added Lynch: "I felt like he won at a high rate. It wasn't always beautiful, pretty, but just kind of a scrapper who at the end of the play was on his guy and won his leverage at a very high rate. And, so when you find those guys, you look at the level of competition. Well, his level of competition was as good as it gets in college football. Sometimes it's not always how pretty it looks, it's are you getting the job done?"
Round 6: 198th Overall (from Bengals) - Tim Harris Jr., CB, Virginia
Many fans were hoping that the 49ers would spend hefty draft capital in the secondary. But San Francisco continued to show extreme confidence in who's already on the roster. Harris was the lone addition. The Virginia cornerback has ideal size and athleticism. Harris' ability on special teams will likely determine if he makes the 53-man roster out of camp.
"Very talented football player, and we felt very good about him." Lynch said. "You just can't have enough good corners. So, providing competition, athleticism, and he is a profile fit. We aren't married to that profile, but he certainly has that profile at 6-2, 200, and a kid who can run at 4.43, I believe."