49ers Draft DT Jer'Zhan Newton in NFL.com's Latest Mock Draft

It would make sense for the 49ers to draft another defensive tackle now who could replace either Hargrave or Collins in 2025.
Nov 25, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton
Nov 25, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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This might be the most realistic mock draft yet.

NFL.com's Eric Edholm just released his latest mock draft, and he projects the 49ers to take Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton with pick no. 31.

"If you're worried Newton's skill set overlaps too much with that of Javon Hargrave, consider that Hargrave is set to hit the salary cap at more than $28 million in the 2025 season -- when he'll be 32 years old. As a relentless scheme-wrecker, Newton would help alleviate the Niners' need for pressure. The DT class drops off noticeably after this."

Edholm might be onto something. John Lynch just said on Wednesday that the 49ers could draft for needs they'll have in 2025. And the 49ers' current starting defensive tackles, Hargrave and Maliek Collins, both are older and will have zero guaranteed money left on their contracts next year. Which means the 49ers could release both of them if they have to.

So it would make sense for the 49ers to draft another defensive tackle now who could replace either Hargrave or Collins in 2025. And if the 49ers get Newton in particular, it seems he might be good enough to start right away and force Collins to the bench.

The 49ers always want to have the best defensive line in the NFL, and as it's contstructed, it's not the best. Far from it, especially after the release of Arik Armstead. So if Newton falls to pick no. 31, I wouldn't be shocked at all if the 49ers take him. They might even trade up a few spots to get him.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN